Summary of article in Billed Bladet #40, 2014.
Written by our urban reporter, Henrik Salling.
Who, along with our Marie's LiW, Britt Siesbye, went to New York for the World Focus on Autism, which took place at Hotel Hilton.
Marie first went to see the Danish general-consul, Jarl-Friis Madsen. And here was a reception where a number of representatives for Danish businesses were present among them fro Vestas (whose top management are personal friends of J&M and Lego, the Lego family also being friends of J&M).
Then it was off to the conference. A number of prominent first ladies were present: Among them Ban Soon Tek, wife of Ban Ki-moon, and Margaret Gakou Kenyatta.
Apparantly Marie didn't give a speech but she was observed eagerly taking notes.
Afterwards she sat down withour reporter and they had a chat about what went on. Marie explained: "There are way too many who don't know enough about autism. Fortunately it's nice that there is much more focus on autism now. And it's dificult for me to understand why it has been ignored for so many years. It afflicts so many and it's very hard for the afflicted families.
Eotionally and economically it has a big impact on the afflicted families. Many mothers saty at home, because they must look after the children, because it can be difficult to find institutions (kidnergartens and nurseries) and get the necessary help. So I've been really pleased to hear that things are going better in a lot of countries.
To the meeting today 40 countries were represented and that was very inspirering and motivating. I think we are now ready to make concrete and genuine changes for the children and the families. You really muct not forget the families who are severely affected".
Q: You wished to join the work yourself, why?
M: "It's no secret that there is autism in my family. It's my step-brother's son. They have been and still are severely affected.
I know the family and have seen how hard it is for them.
They have been so dedicated and now they have fortunately got the help they needed. That has helped in their life and now they are happy. And soon they will have a child more, so it's so lovely".
Q: How did you react the first time you met your step-brother's son?
M: "Autism is very complicated. There are so many varying degrees and ways. It's an developement disorder - and that's why it often takes so long for people to react. It can be hard to diagnose due to the various degrees and ways.
It's important that people with autism get an active role in the society and I mself fight to prevent it being a stigma.
I think it was fantastic to get a small glimpse of what technology migh do for children with autism. As yet they don't know how much the Google-glasses can help, but even if it's only visions it's still exciting.
I have a lot to tell my association in Denmark.
It was fantastic to meet all the many "first ladies" and hear how they work in other countries. I hope they (the DK association) will listen now that I may come home with some new ideas".
But Marie also found time to promote Danish commerce while in New York. In this case an newly opeed Lego store on 5th Avenue. While Marie was equipped with a scissor made from lego-bricks, the manager for Lego in USA and the Danish general-consul used genuine scissors to cut a ribbon and thus open the store.
After a tour of the store Marie and her LiW strolled to a lunch at a nearby reastaurant, Sea Grill at the Rockefeller Center.
But even though New York was Marie's home for 3½ years it wasn't easy to find. Marie smiled to our reporter: "It's almost embarrassng. We can't find the restaurant".
Marie also talked to Henrik Salling about being back in New York: "It's utterly fantastic to be back". But she hasn't been to New York much since she moved away: "Actually I haven't been here a lot since I lived here myself.
I feel at home here. It's my city. It's a coool city. That's a word my children have taught me to use...". (The Danish word for cool is "fed" which actually means fat, so our charming Marie said: feeed = faaaat = coool. - And now you've learned a foreign word today