Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Paris – 2 April 2014 – Euronext, a wholly owned subsidiary of IntercontinentalExchange Group (NYSE: ICE), today highlighted the seventh annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, with bell ceremonies across all four markets in Europe - Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris – joined by executives from world autism organizations to raise awareness for the disorder. According to the United Nations autism affects millions of individuals worldwide and many are still undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help.
In Amsterdam, the opening gong was sounded by Marjanka Hoogeweg and her Autism Assistance Dog, Creb (pronounced ‘Sherp’) together with representatives of the Dutch Autism Association, the Autism Fund and De Droomboom Foundation.
In Brussels, Eliane Tillieux, Walloon Government Minister for Health, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity, and other special guests, along with representatives of Belgian autism organisations (Association pour l’Epanouissement des Personnes Autistes and Vlaamse Vereniging Autisme) and Autism-Europe, rang the stock exchange’s bell which marked the opening of trading on Euronext’s European financial markets.
During the evenings of Tuesday April 1 and Wednesday April 2, the Bourse building is lit up in blue for the night as part of the global ‘Light it up blue’ initiative to raise awareness about autism.
Vincent Van Dessel, CEO of Euronext Brussels, commented: “We are delighted to help raising awareness about autism and feel it is our role in society to actively support such initiatives. We hope the visibility we created today will contribute to the efforts that are made to facilitate access to accurate diagnosis, appropriate therapies, education, employment and social inclusion for people with autism.”
In Portugal, Euronext Lisbon joined the Portuguese Association for Autism at their annual conference to celebrate theWorld Autism Awareness Day. This year’s theme for the seminar was: "Life quality of families with children with autism disorders: diagnosis and social and economical impacts”. The Closing Bell was rung outside the Exchange premises, at Gulbenkian Foundation, and included a music band of autistic young men and women, and the Portuguese first lady, Mrs. Maria Cavaco Silva.
Euronext as an exchange is at the centre of a wide community of companies, financial intermediaries, advisors, investors, media and many others, having a particular capacity to communicate and reach wide audiences. By giving visibility to causes like autism, Euronext is using one of its main assets – its communication capabilities – as one of the tools to materialise the company’s corporate responsibility.