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New French Consul General Seeks To Boost Cultural Exchanges

Stressing the need to boost cultural exchanges between India and France, the new French Consul General in Kolkata Virginie Corteval Thursday said the city occupies a special place in her heart.

She expressed fondness for the city and said the first thing she ate after coming to the eastern metropolis was hilsa fish with mustard sauce, a popular Bengali delicacy.

"Kolkata is full of life and France shares a lot in common with the city when it comes to their love for art and films," she said during her first media interaction here at a school, two weeks after she landed in the city."I have visited Kolkata earlier, too, on multiple occasions and I have to say that I love the food here," Corteval, who visited the school to give a fillip to a French internship programme running there, said.

Corteval, who succeeded Damien Syed as the French Consul General in Kolkata, said she seeks to boost cultural exchanges between the two countries.Welcoming the new French Consul General in Kolkata, The New Town School Principal Satabdi Goswami Bhattacharjee said her institute was the "first in the country" to host a French teacher in the European Common framework for languages.

"For the first time, the French consulate and embassy has appointed Melissa Camille Abrantes as teaching assistant for The New Town School for a nine-month course. French is a part of the curriculum for students of Classes V to X," Bhattacharjee said.

Her school will initiate a cultural exchange programme with two French schools from 2019, under which 10 to 15 students would be travelling to France and an equal number will be hosted by families of students here, she said.

Laetitia Lompech, the consulate's linguistic attach confirmed that Abrantes was the first French teacher in a school in India, who was directly engaged by the consulate.She also said plans were afoot to take the initiative to other academic institutes in the eastern part of India.

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