Following on from the Alliance Francaise de Sydney’s annual general meeting in early May, the Board of Directors welcomes two new directors, Rose Guerin and Marie Chretien to replace retiring directors, David Kent and Marion Borgelt.
As President, David made an excellent contribution to the work of the organisation, combining his passion for the arts and his financial and commercial skills with his French heritage. David and the outgoing Director of the Alliance Française de Sydney, Jean-Baptiste Milcamps worked very closely together to ensure that the company is in excellent shape.
We will also be very sad to lose Jean-Baptiste whose strong management and leadership skills have been appreciated by both the staff and Board. We have valued his dedication and friendship and also that of his wife and family who have attended countless events and activities at the Alliance with enthusiasm and smiles. Hopefully we will shortly be in a position to announce the appointment of his replacement who will be arriving from France in August.
As an entity with a strong cultural focus, the Alliance has been very grateful for the support and advice which Marion Borgelt has provided over the past few years. One of the nation’s most outstanding artists, Marion‘s flair and insight will be missed. That said, we are pleased that Marie Chrétien has joined us as a Board member. Marie’s corporate and cultural skills will be a welcome addition to the Board. She has qualifications in both engineering and the arts and won the Francis Stuart Prize at Sydney University in 2014.
Our second new Board member is Rose Guerin, a well-known Sydney auditor whose financial skills and contacts will also be of considerable value.
Bruno Mascart and Frédéric Venière were elected Vice-Presidents and I was elected President. It is a great honour for me to take up this position at the Alliance Française, the organisation which is, in fact, responsible for my international career in Franco-Australian business, diplomatic and cultural circles, both here and in France.
At seventeen, I won an Alliance Française prize for secondary students in Western Australia and from there I went on to study French at the University of Western Australia. My passion and fascination for all things French resulted in my being selected as the inaugural Director of the Australia France Foundation at the Australian Embassy in Paris in 1990. Whilst this cut short my brief stint as a Board member of the Alliance Française de Sydney in 1989, it opened many other doors for me. After 18 years in France working for both the Australian and South Australian Governments, I returned to Australia and joined the Alliance as a member and then later as a Board member.
I’m fortunate to have had those opportunities, which without the inspiration of the Alliance may never have arisen!
I look forward to working with you all and wish our retiring directors all the best.