International lunch, friday may the 31

The President speech

Ladies Ambassadors
Mr Deputy Secretary General,
Dear friends,

Today, in this lounge where we are so kindly welcomed by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, I would like to thank Mr Deputy General Secretary, David Bertolotti, who is once again demonstrating the ministry support for our work.

Bienvenue en France means welcoming our foreign friends to France, helping them to discover the riches of our country, but in return, it is also and above all about learning to discover countries and getting to know each other better.

This was the aim of our association when our founder Marie-Thérèse François-Poncet laid its foundations
forty-eight years ago. It remains so today for our active members, who show continual dedication and generosity in supporting the activities they offer. I would like to express my special thanks to all of them.
The success of our Association lies in the fact that BeF is not in the moment but in time. Against all odds, our association continues to move forward. Last year, we mentioned some of the innovative projects that we have been developing for months around themes such as parity and ecology. We’ll be continuing along this line in the autumn, while not hesitating to return to certain fundamentals that are also our trademark.

As an example, we will be re-launching the group designed to improve our understanding of the
institutional bodies of our country. This is how we will
Be organised under the leadership of our Vice-President.
Catherine J will be organising some emblematic visits to the Senate or the National Assembly. But we will also continue exchange with these key players who, in all political, social and economic fields, give impetus to our society.

Finally, we will continue to make a special effort to our Francophile friends who have difficulty
with the French language and with whom pragmatic use of English helps to build more bridges.

A few weeks ago we visited INSEP, the Olympic training centre. The theme of our lunch is therefore perfectly attuned to this event that you are about to experience live. Thank you all for playing along! Many of you will be taking a well-deserved rest in a few days before coming back to take part in the front line of all the efforts that such an event involves.
Here we are once again for this international lunch that brings us together around these buffets prepared by each and every one of you. Dishes reflecting our own differences and yet bringing us together around the values of friendship and esteem that we share. But now it’s time to relax and enjoy our friendship. Let’s enjoy
before we all meet again in September for an even more constructive year, and let’s not wait any longer for those magnificent buffets that I invite you to attend!