ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDS OF FRANCE
GOLDEN JUBILEE 1967 -2016
“Association of Friends of France” received in 1967, a group of 110 French men and women from all walks of life for a month long stay in Pune. Today over 40 years down the line and after yearly visits of French groups to India and vice versa it can be said that the efforts put in by the entire Pune city in 1967 have certainly borne fruit.
In these more than four decades of Friendship, about 3000 French friends have come on visits and stayed Pune,Jalgaon,Nasik,Kolhapur,Panaji and Bijapur.
They are offered a varied program each year taking into account the previous feedback and our own previous experiences.
The themes and issues handled, change in nature and depth from time to time. One thing though has always remained constant.
The concept of living in a family and discovering the country and its culture from close quarters.
The effectiveness of this method has been proved superior to any other way of discovering a country, by the numerous fruitful experiences of our participants.
Over the years many French men and women have come to Pune on short visits and AFF has done whatever it could to make their visit an enriching experience. But the main work of association has always consisted of arranging 20 day visits from groups sent by
the Perspective Asiennes.
In recent years another French organizations have come into being collaborate with AFF: Entr’Inde based in suburb in Paris and Antipodes based in chambery.These Organizations have received specialized groups from India, namely a group of Agriculturists and another of Architects.
This work has brought into existence many a close friendship between French and Indian families.
We would not be far wrong in saying that Pune is today known at least by name to many organizations and educational institutions in France as a direct result of this exchange. Several friends have returned more than 20 times to France and India respectively to further their ties with each other.
”They may well ask questions regarding the social outcome of these efforts and the difference between these efforts and other visits organized by tourist agencies.
The busy answer lies in a unique personal experience of a French visitor who came with a group from Paris andsaid “A new worlds as yet unknown and indifferent to us has now become known and friendly”. . The same can be said about Indians, 500 of whom have visited France through AFF.
France is a symbol of Europe, which to most of us is synonymous with all that, is modern and contemporary in the century. The Civilization, though geographically far away does not seem alien or unfriendly.
Bonjour-Yearly house journal of AFF was first published in July 1994 and since then, has continuously been encouraging many a Francophiles to write on various aspects of French culture and lifestyle. Bulletin by P.A.Paris is carrying out the same job of providing wellresearched information about India.
Other methods of tightening these ties are of course also used. Exhibitions, film shows, meetings etc are organized from time to time to acquaint Indians with the French culture; the same is done, by friends living in various regions in France.
Friends Of France has 6 sister organizations in Maharashtra,Gujrat and Karntaka.AFF has great pleasure in knowing that it has been instrumental in helping thousands of French men, women and students to understand India and in creating bonds of friendship for over four decades of ceaseless work.