Farewell of Ms Véronique BECCHIA, outgoing Director of Alliance Française
13 October 2017:
On the occassion of the departure of Ms Véronique BECCHIA, the outgoing Director of Alliance Française, Ambassador Yves Carmona organised a cocktail reception at the Residence of France.
Dear Mr Mohan Shrestha, President of the Board of the Alliance Française
Dear Mme Pratima Pandé, Immediate Past President of the Board
Dear new and former members of the Alliance’s board
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is always a sad duty to speak at a farewell party and I am sure all of us regret having to say good bye to Véronique Becchia, who has been the Director of AFK since 2015.
When she arrived, Véronique faced a difficult time period but she was able to surmount the difficulties quite successfully because of her relentless involvement and energy in leading AFK in all regards.
If we look at all she did and the way she dealt efficiently with so many issues, one can imagine her with many hands just like the Goddess Durga.
The most challenging must have been finding a new home for AFK. When she arrived, AFK was situated in Teku. Finding a new place means you have to consider security aspects, attractiveness of the location, and of course good price.
Under her leadership and with the help of her efficient colleagues, AFK has been able to position itself as the leading institution for learning French in Nepal. AFK now boasts about 1500 students annually (both internal and external) and the number is growing every year. AFK has also been giving French language courses to the officers of Nepal Army and Nepal Police and soon to the young diplomats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As we know, AFK has special operations with the Nepali partners in the domain of culture and debates: planet Nepal is organized every two years, EU film festival, contemporary art triennale, Fête de la musique (the Music Festival in June every year), the month of Francophonie in March every year and last but not least, La nuit des idées / The night of ideas. One of the main objectives of the AFK is to promote culture and cultural exchanges which are the basis of French values. It also promotes the exchange of ideas, debates, and intellectual discussions. We organized the Nights of Ideas in collaboration with Nepal Economic Forum which focused on the economic development in landlocked countries.
Véronique has displayed a wide array of qualities: Fluency in the English language, which I envy, a serious but friendly touch in her relationships have helped her become a familiar face on the Kathmandu scene.
Now that Véronique is returning I understand that she would like to continue to engage in the domain of culture and education or in international organizations. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors and am fully confident that where ever you go, you would make a mark for yourself.
Well, the life moves on and the show must go on: Véronique is leaving but Alliance Française continues under the guidance of its committee which has been almost completely renewed this summer. Let me take this opportunity to thank the new President, Mr Mohan Shrestha (former Ambassador for France), its members, both the former members and the new ones who are taking over. I am glad to say that the model “Alliance française” is alive and kicking, after more than 140 years and in 800 Alliances all over the world which are all managed by local volunteers.
The French President M. Emmanuel Macron recently called for a close collaboration between Alliances and Instituts français. Actually, they already collaborate. For example, we had funding from Institut français for “la nuit des idées”in 2017 and I hope we will get its support again in 2018.
All considered, having two networks of Instituts and Alliance reflect the strong interest of France in external language and cultural policy. France strongly believes in cultural diversity and that is why it has supported it in UNESCO, the international organization for education, science and culture which it hosts in Paris. At this very moment, the election of a new Director general of UNESCO is going on and I strongly hope that the French candidate, Mme Audrey Azoulay, former minister of culture, will be elected, since she is the best prepared to rescue UNESCO from those who don’t believe in the universality of culture and values.
Thank you for your attention and I now leave the floor to Véronique.
(After Véronique’s speech)
Thank you Véronique. Now our party is going to start but first I would like to inform you that Uttam, our manager and chef, has just graduated from an internship at French Minister’s official residence in Paris, with a special mention from his trainer. Some of the dishes that will be served are directly inspired by what he has learned in Paris. Bravo chef Uttam !
Bon appétit everybody !