Darkness in the City of Light

by on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 Comments

Let’s go beyond the glamour of Paris. Last summer was for me the occasion to rediscover the splendour of the French capital and to meet Françoise Gardes who cares for those travelers without return tickets who run aground on the banks of the river Seine with nothing in their pockets but the hope of asylum.

The association called France Terre d’Asile (France Haven), founded in December 1970, intends to maintain and develop one of the oldest French traditions, that of the right of asylum and ensure France is implementing it according to all the relevant international conventions .

Françoise chose to start her career working in this NGO shortly after she graduated from the prestigious Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, commonly referred to as Sciences Po specializing in international affairs. She took a course in Arabic and spent one semester in Damascus to perfect her knowledge of the language a couple of years ago. Her commitment to a humanitarian cause does not reward her with a huge salary, but certainly gives her a different kind of satisfaction.

Here she describes the motives behind her decision to work for an NGO on graduation as opposed to other more materially rewarding jobs:

readers in Mainland China click here to watch on Tudou

She went on to discuss in more detail the work she does with asylum seekers:

readers in Mainland China click here to watch on Tudou

Finally she tells us about her time in Syria learning Arabic and how this taught her about the difficulty of living in another country, and the insight this gave her into those living in the dark underbelly of Paris:

readers in Mainland China click here to watch on Tudou

 

 

Jacques Duraud (杜樂仁)

Board member of the Taipei Ricci Isntitute. Former Publisher of Renlai Magazine. 

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