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Press Conference - HE Mrs Elisabeth Barbier

South Africa Season in France 2013
Press Conference
6th May 2013

HE Mrs Elisabeth Barbier,
French Ambassador designate in South Africa

Dear Mr Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture,
Dear Dr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture,
Dear Chairmen of the France–South Africa Seasons 2012-2013, Dear Ambassador Moopeloa and Dear Bénédicte Alliot representing Mr Darcos who unfortunately could not join us today,
Dear Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture,
Dear General Commissionners of the France–South Africa Seasons 2012-2013,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Presse and the Media,
Dear Friends,

I feel extremely privileged and honoured to be part of this team, as the new French Ambassador to South Africa, arriving right in the middle of this cultural process, a fantastic human story, a story of friendship between two peoples.

After the French Season in South Africa 2012, after six months of festivities for all to enjoy throughout the country, with more than 120 events in arts, culture, education, debating, sciences, economics as well as business, sports and tourism, the vitality of the friendship between our two countries is more tangible than ever.

But now, dear South African friends, if I may say so, the floor is yours!

From the end of May to December 2013, it is during the summer and autumn festivals in Paris, in towns and villages of France, in the concert halls and in the hearts of all French citizens that YOUR season, dear friends from South Africa, will spread its wings!

Everywhere in France, people will talk about South Africa, they will speak about you!

I can tell you, they are all waiting for you, keen to welcome you as they did Brazil, China and Russia in the past, which are also important partners of our country!

They are waiting to discover the vitality and the diversity of your culture (I would prefer cultures indeed), waiting to change their mind about South Africa, a country respected for its fantastic achievements, for its exemplary long walk to freedom, but also sometimes an unknown country.

I would like to thank Ambassador Dikgang Moopeloa, the Chairman of the Seasons for the South African part, and the President of the Institut français, Xavier Darcos, for the French part, represented here by Bénédicte Alliot. Both have shown a rare and unwavering support.

I would also like to thank our talented General Commissioners, Mr Bongani Tembe and Mr Laurent Clavel, all the teams in South Africa, and especially that of the National Arts Council, among whom Monica Newton and Rosie Katz, and in France the team of the Institut Français in Paris in particular.

I would like to confirm the full involvement of this Embassy, the French Consulate and the French Institute of South Africa, in helping with all the logistic and visa procedures!

Thank you to all the main sponsors of the Season 2013, these are: Areva, Air France, Bouygues Travaux Publics, EDF, Fondation Total and Mazars.

I would also like to thank all the media in South Africa and in France, for together with us, they will be building the image of the South African Season!

And finally, let me thank you personally, dear Minister Mashatile: together with Director-General Sibusiso Xaba, you have shown a particular interest in what is to be soon considered as a major achievement in South African cultural diplomacy.

Merci à tous and see you soon in Paris!

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More information on the France - South Africa Seasons 2012-2013

Presentation : The France-South Africa Seasons 2012 – 2013 [en]

Launch of the South African Season in France 2013 [en]

France South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013 FAQs [en]

The Highlights of the South African Season [en]

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The French Season in South Africa - 2012 [en]

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The France - South Africa Seasons website: http://france-southafrica.com [fr]

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