Nathalie Baye as never seen before

By Joyce Najm
December 07, 2016

Before becoming one of the most famous French actresses we know, Nathalie Baye suffered much during her childhood and teenage, from a disorder that could have spoiled her career: dyslexia. Today she is committed to this cause. We had the pleasure to meet the French icon who was visiting Lebanon to support the CLES (Lebanese Center for Specialized Education), an NGO founded by Carmen Chahine Debbané, whose mission is to help children with learning difficulties.


Tell us about your experience with dyslexia.

I was dyslexic when I was a kid, and this experience shaped the woman I am today. At school, I confused the letters "m" and "n", "b" and "p", I wrote the words upside down, and I had a lot of difficulty concentrating. I escaped and often dreamed of escaping from these difficulties. That's how I developed my imagination. I had bad academic results. At the time, dyslexia was an unknown disease. But I was lucky to be in an advanced school that noticed my difficulties and did not take me for a lazy student. So I was sent to a speech therapist, Claude Chassagny, who became a reference in France in terms of dyslexia. My parents never worried, they always trusted me and understood my difficulties. Children with dyslexia often have a lot of talent, they need to be accompanied and encouraged.


You are now in Lebanon to attend the CLES 10-10-DYS Annual Conference, entitled "All Together for Children 10", attended by teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, pedagogical and official leaders.

How did you meet Carmen?

I met Carmen a little less than a year ago at a film festival in Greenwich, Connecticut. We met at a dinner, she talked about the CLES and I told her about my personal experience with dyslexia, and she shared with me her experience with her son's dyslexia. When she asked me to come to Beirut, I accepted with pleasure.


Is this your first visit to Lebanon?

This is my first time in Lebanon but it will certainly not be the last. Everything I've heard from Lebanon really made me want to discover it.