South Korea is expected to host the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics successfully regardless of the recent impeachment of its president, former French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said Monday, vowing to contribute to the hosting as the ambassador representing French-speaking countries at the international sports event.
“Some 700-strong staff of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee are working hard in preparation. There could arise complex situations in terms of administrative affairs on the South Korean government side,” Pellerin said of potential impact of the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“But I think it will be successfully hosted as many people are working enthusiastically. South Korean people are hoping for the smooth hosting,” she said in a press conference at the French Embassy in Seoul.
“Two years ago, Brazil was in the same situation, but hosted its Olympics successfully. Part of my mission is to contribute to the successfully holding of the PyeongChang Olympics,” she said.
In January, Pellerin was named as “Grand Temoin” for the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), an international association of 57 French-speaking countries, to oversee the use of the French language and represent the association during the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games.
A major part of her duties as Grand Temoin includes providing support for the translation of PyeongChang Olympics booklets and guidebooks into French as well as hosting cultural events to promote the francophonic society during the Olympics.
It is the first time the OIF would sent its Grand Temoin to an Olympics event in South Korea since the organization was established in 2004.
“What is notable is that the Korean experience will become lessons for future Olympics planned in Japan and China … I think I will be serving the role to bridge between France and Korea,” the former minister of Korean origin said.
Back in France, there has been a sharp increase in French people wanting to study the Korean language thanks to the popularity of Korean pop music and drama, she stressed. “Last year the number of people studying Korean exceeded the number of those studying Japanese in France,” she said.
The Korean language has also recently been included as one of the foreign language tests for baccalaureat, the French college entrance exam, she said. “It is really a big change,” she noted.