New envoy pushes cultural French connectionThe newly appointed French ambassador to Korea, Philippe Thiebaud, is impressed with the country’s efforts to inform the world about its culture. “At the opening ceremony of the National Museum of Korea that I attended right after I began my term, I felt that the Korean government tries to systematically inform about its culture,” Mr. Thiebaud, who came to Korea last month, said in an interview last Wednesday.
Mr. Thiebaud said he enjoys reading the JoongAng Daily every morning at the breakfast table, and was surprised to hear that people have a strong preference for offline newspapers despite the country’s advanced information technology infrastructure.
When asked of his wife’s reaction to his decision to work in Korea, Mr. Thiebaud answered with smile, “My wife is an anthropologist specializing in Central and South America. She liked it because now she has another subject to study.”
The conversation led to the recent violent riots by young immigrants in France in which 9,000 cars were torched and 2,800 people were arrested amid a government-imposed curfew and state of emergency.
“It is difficult to say that the French government’s policy on social integration has failed. European countries have mutually suffered from immigrants’ social deviation due to high unemployment rates,” said Mr. Thiebaud.
Commenting on the start of his term here and the upcoming 120th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and France next year, Mr. Thiebaud said, “I want the two countries to get to know each other better from diverse events that the embassy has been preparing for the celebration.”
by Ki Sun-min