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French Cultural Center Marks 40th Anniversary
By Pak Hae-Won
Staff Writer
The library of the French Cultural Center in Bongrae-dong, Seoul

The French Cultural Center (Alliance Francaise) that opened in Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu on July 15, 1968 has marked its 40th anniversary.

The French Cultural Center has hosted over 500 cultural events for last 40 years to strengthen Korea-France relations.

There were cultural events in both France and Korea throughout 2006 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the amity between France and Korea.

In Korea, there were about 80 big events to commemorate the 120th anniversary of France-Korea relations including observation of the Louvre Museum, and a music concert conducted by Maestro Jung Myung-Hoon. Over 1,500,000 Koreans were able to experience French culture through the events.

The French Cultural Center has constantly given an effort to spread French culture to Korea and to better the Korea-France relations. As a result, the French Cultural Center has met its first heyday from the late 1970s to 1980s.

"Salle de Renoir," the movie theater placed in the first basement of the French Cultural Center has always been filled with young people trying to watch uncensored foreign movies.

Also, it is safe to say that the pillar of Korean movie circles, movie directors Jung Ji-Young, Jang Kil-Soo, Bae Chang-Ho, Park Kwang-Su, Kim Hong-Jun, Kang Je-Kyu, Park Chan-Wook, Kim Ji-Woon, movie critics Jung Sung-Il, Yang Yoon-Mo and actor Ahn Sung-Ki are senior members of the French Cultural Center.

In 2001, the French Cultural Center moved to 18th floor of the Woori Building near Namdaemun to have better facilities. Now the French Cultural Center inside is decorated as the streets of Paris in order to show the vivid French culture.

There is not only a media library but also a Higher Education Agency of France, seminar room and café in the French Cultural Center to fulfill visitors' desires to get to know French culture better.

In the fall of 2008, the French cultural event "France Express" will be held at the French Cultural Center for its 40th anniversary. "France Express" is to give thanks to all the Koreans who have loved the French Cultural Center through its 40 years of long history.

"France Express" will have "40 cultural events" of dance, art, music, play, movies, and food in order to give special meaning to its 40th anniversary.

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Ms. Pak Hae-Won is serving as director of planning and marketing for The Seoul Times. She graduated from ChungAng University with psychology major. Previously Ms. Pak worked for Samsung SDS, LG Chemistry, and CJ Home Shopping. Her hobbies include traveling and cooking.






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