French Cultural Center named [Archives:2005/881/Culture]

September 29 2005

The French Cultural Center in Yemen has taken on a new name on Saturday Sept 24, 2005. the Center has been named after French literary figure, Henri de Monfried. A ceremony was held on the naming occasion attended by HE French Ambassador Alain Moreau, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Najeeba Haddad and Deputy Sana'a Mayor Mohammed al-Gharbi Amran.

“We did not hesitate when we chose the name of this personality” to label the cultural center, said HE Ambassador at a press conference shortly prior to the inauguration. Although, earlier the name of Claudie Fayein- a French woman physician who came to Yemen before 1962 Revolution – was suggested but her name had been already put by the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health on a medical center.

There has been some sort of a consensus that Henri de Monfried was the best one for the purpose because of the achievements he did and the type of life he lived. The Ambassador also said that de Monfried's effect crossed the borders of France and strengthened France relations with the countries of the world. In his speech at the ceremony, the Ambassador explained the role played by the French Cultural Center in teaching the French language and the various educational and cultural activities undertaken by it all of which aim to enhance and improve bilateral ties with Yemen. He revealed that there is an intention to establish a French consulate in the city of Aden and that things are being coordinated with the German friends.

Henri de Monfried (1879-1974) adored sea and adventure and roved the coasts of the Red sea and the Arab Gulf. He visited Aden, Mokha and Mukalla. He ran business and managed to write literarily prolifically.

Henri de Monfried made trips to Egypt, Yemen, Tanzania, Djibouti and Ethiopia. He learnt Arabic and embraced Islam. He later wrote his adventures in books numbering 70 documentaries and novels full of minute description of the stations of his life and the views he saw in the east.

The French Cultural Center was established in the early 90s of the last century containing several halls and classrooms for teaching French in addition to a library equipped with audiovisual educational aids, internet cafe, and a hall for theatrical and artistic shows. The Center conducts many cultural activities that aim to boost Yemeni-French relations and push the limit of cultural cooperation. A recent remarkable event organized by the Center was the Dialogue Festival, which was inaugurated at the University of Sana'a.