“Bienvenue en France” recognises International Women’s Day in its own way

Breakfast at the Quai d’Orsay with Madame Le Drian was a fantastic opportunity to bring together foreign diplomats and put into practice this wonderful quote from our BEF President, Amanda Gourdault-Montagne, “’There is really no such thing as a ‘foreign’ language, it is simply the language of others’’.

On 8 March 2018, Madame Maria Vadillo-Le Drian, wife of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and honorary BEF President, welcomed around sixty female representatives of accredited countries in France, including ambassadors, diplomats and wives of diplomats, for brunch in the reception rooms of the Ministry at the Quai d’Orsay.

The event was held, of course, to recognise International Women’s Day, but also to increase awareness of the organisation and the programmes it has to offer, as well as to improve dialogue and to inspire greater involvement amongst the embassies in encouraging their members to take part.

Madame Maria Vadillo-Le Drian spoke of the work that still needs to be done to achieve true gender equality and especially to enable women to access positions of responsibility in the public sphere. She also brought up the role of women in education, in particular for our sons, in order to strengthen the fight against abuse and violence.

Amanda Gourdault-Montagne, wife of the Secretary-General of the Ministry and BEF President who took over from Christine Faure, praised the important role played by the organisation since it was set up in 1979 by Marie-Thérèse François-Poncet, who was also present at the brunch. Amanda stated her desire to expand and strengthen the already diverse range of activities on offer with BEF.

Amanda invited each of the volunteers who run the various workshops to give a short presentation of their activities. When introducing the French language teachers, she spoke of her belief that “There is really no such thing as a ‘foreign’ language, it is simply the language of others.’’

This informative meeting was also a very welcoming and friendly event.

By Bariah Guepratte