Disneyland Paris Receives U.S. Mission France Award for Innovation in DEIA 

The inaugural award, to be presented annually by the U.S. Embassy in Paris to a U.S.-headquartered company operating in France for efforts strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, recognizes Disneyland Paris’ commitment to the fight against illiteracy. 

Since 2022, 2,100 hours of training provided to Disneyland Paris Cast Members as part of the Sésame project aimed at strengthening fundamental reading, writing, and digital literacy skills. 

More than just new skills, the thirty Cast Members who have benefited from the program describe their professional and personal lives as transformed:  

“This training has helped so much, on a personal and professional level. Before, when I received any mail, I had to ask my children or someone else for help. Now, I can speak the language and I can read. I feel more autonomous.” – Mamadou 

“You can see a big difference at the end of this Sésame course. I’ve seen my team members gain in confidence and feel more at ease when communicating.” – Didier 

Why “Sésame”? 

Ali Baba spoke the words “Open Sesame” to reach a treasure trove. The Sésame project aims to open doors to key skills for all of our Cast Members.  

In France, seven percent of adults are illiterate (source: Agence nationale de lutte contre l’illettrisme). The digitization of businesses is magnifying that challenge, especially in recent years. This led the French government to launch a national initiative in 2021 to support employees in acquiring basic skills.  

Sesame is yet another example of the resort’s ongoing efforts to cultivate an inclusive environment for all Cast Members, foster equal opportunities and encourage collaboration and innovation. 

What’s Next? 

This week, Disneyland Paris welcomed other key players in the fight against illiteracy at Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel convention center to celebrate the work accomplished by resort teams as part of the award-winning project and to discuss these issues more widely.  

“I’m honored that Disneyland Paris has been recognized with this prestigious award for our efforts in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. This award underscores our unwavering commitment to combat illiteracy and empower our incredible Cast Members,” said Natacha Rafalski, Présidente of Disneyland Paris. “The impact of this program has been nothing short of transformative, and it contributes to fostering an inclusive environment, equal opportunities, and innovation.” 

Workshops brought together experts and associations, including ANLCI and AFDAS, as well as public figures like Minister Delegate for Vocational Education and Training Carole Grandjean, Prefect Delegate for Equal Opportunities Benoît Kaplan, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Paris. 

“I am very pleased to recognize Disneyland Paris’ promotion of principles of DEIA through its Sésame program to counter illiteracy,” said Denise Bauer, United States Ambassador to France and Monaco. “American companies operating in France contribute so much to the economy and society. Promoting social inclusion through this program is an important contribution.” 

Looking toward 2024, Disneyland Paris aims to support about 50 new Cast Members through the next iteration of the Sésame program. 

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