International Women’s Day: Bérangère de Pontac’s Servigny D-Day Fund

On this 2017 International Women’s Day, my thoughts are with women of the world, and most particularly mothers.. who throughout their lives must balance their most important responsibility – that of nurturing and supporting their children – with achieving in the outer world, in order to reach their full potential and realise their dreams. Not an easy feat…

One such mother I met recently is Bérangère de Pontac.. wife of “Comte” Arnaud de Pontac, the owner of the historic 17th century Château de Servigny in Normandy. The fact that she’s a Countess did not seem to deter her from wanting to leave a mark by starting the “Servigny D-Day Fund, Jeunes artisans de paix”, or Young Peacemakers, a charity supporting efforts in educating children for the promotion and fostering of peace. It’s goal: providing Peace Education for all children, whose mission statement is to “spread peace, develop global citizenship, to remember to build better”…

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Lettre de Paris Interview: Michael Hewett…

I first encountered Michael Hewett on a warm Sunday in October at Le Tigre Yoga Club in Paris.. he was the instructor leading the two-hour “Shamatha Meditation Atelier” I had signed up for.

I was looking forward to starting my formal initiation into Meditation, a discipline which I had long yearned to start practising. The workshop promised to take us “step by step through the Buddha’s stages of meditation”. Having long been fascinated by everything spiritual and read extensively about the subject over the years, I knew that I finally needed to put the theoretical into practice. Meditation seemed to be the natural next step into a brave new world and a practical, more attainable entry into a sublime state of being that I had so far touched for only brief moments.. I wanted to access that state far more frequently. I knew it was the right path to follow, long ago convinced that we are indeed all spiritual beings having a human experience…

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There is something extraordinary happening in the world…

Oct 14, 2015 – by Gustavo Tanaka

Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening…

A few months ago I freed myself from standard-procedure society, I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unaware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll point out the 8 reasons that lead me to believe it…

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Elodie Garamond’s Le Tigre Yoga Club…

As someone who’s experienced a major professional life change – in my case from the rigid but secure banking, to the more fulfilling yet hazardous terrain of creative entrepreneurship – I was fully cognisant of the path that Elodie Garamond has tread, from high-flying communications executive to founder and director of Le Tigre Yoga Clubs, in tandem with juggling the joys and pressures of marriage and motherhood…

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Sarah Gogel.. Changemaker…

I recently read an interesting article whose author was making an argument for why he thinks the world is undergoing a “paradigm shift”.. i.e. the early stages of a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions, one of several monumental shifts in history that have uprooted our society’s very foundation, such as the Industrial Revolution, taking it off its current path and putting it on a new one.

One of the signs the writer cites to support his argument of a paradigm shift is his belief that a global consciousness shift is underway in which…

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The 2016 AWG Paris Annual Gala…

When I nonchalantly volunteered to join the organising committee of the 42nd Annual Gala of The American Women’s Group in Paris (AWG), at their monthly morning coffee member’s meeting, little did I know that I would be swept into the heart of the largest active English-speaking women’s group in France.. celebrating its 67th year of existence.

The Gala is their biggest fundraising event of the year, given that not only is AWG’s mission to promote the cultural patrimony of France through the rich cultural programming it offers as a French registered non-profit cultural and educational organization, it is also – and most importantly – to raise money for the charities it supports tirelessly, as part of FAWCO: The Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, a global women’s NGO and international federation of independent volunteer clubs and associations founded in 1931, with special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council…

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Celebrating with Irina Bokova at UNESCO…

I was invited to attend an art exhibition recently.. not any ordinary art exhibition.. it was one held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Having lived many years in Paris, the presence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the City of Light did not impact our everyday Parisian lives… its myriad annual conferences and exhibitions were not listed in the usual weekly or monthly event calendars of the city.

So it was with slight awe and trepidation that I navigated my way through the large and imposing boulevards of this formal side of the 7e arrondissement of Paris, to reach the Place de Fontenoy.. where the sprawling site, with its central modern building, is considered international territory and belongs to the Organization’s 195 Member States.

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2016 International Women’s Day.. at the OECD

Speaking recently to the American Ambassador in Paris’ office regarding a request for her support to our local charity, I was told by her assistant that the “protocol” department will not be able to treat our correspondence in the coming week, as Her Excellency will be extremely busy attending International Women’s Day events taking place in Paris. That was an excellent reminder for me to arrange to cover this poignant day, which brings to light globally the importance of celebrating women, and related issues such as gender parity, equality, equal opportunity, etc… bref, all the things that affect me as a professional woman in the 21st century.

On the 8th of March, I found myself entering the impressive halls of the OECD Conference Centre close to Porte de la Muette… The halls were full of people there to attend the myriad conferences and plenary sessions that the OECD hosts every year. I was transported back to a time when I was a member of the hallowed young professionals set, all well-dressed in suits, conference delegate identification tags around their necks, impressive C.V.’s, and the confidence to go with it…

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An Expat Working in Paris – A Personal Insight

Since settling in Paris many years ago, my experiences of working in the capital have been exclusively with international companies, where the working language was English. Most recently, I joined a French, very Parisian institution.

I soon discovered that working methods, reporting lines, social interactions, attitudes towards clients can greatly differ within French companies, as compared to those of the more Anglo-Saxon corporate cultures of companies I have worked with previously in London and Paris…

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“Women’s Forum Brazil 2013” – A Case of Empowerment…

I recently asked a wise, enlightened acquaintance a topical question: “How, in your opinion, is women’s role changing in the ‘5th Dimension’, from a spiritual point of view?” The answer came quickly and clearly: “Because of women’s increased empowerment, they now have a stronger platform to show that their way can work in a more beneficial way…”.

Since the discussion moved on, I was left to wonder about this simple yet startling reply later, in the privacy of my thoughts. “Their way”… I presume meant women’s naturally more diplomatic, nurturing, consensus-driven method of operating, versus the more power-driven, competitive, authoritative, sometimes confrontational approach of men. Given the current unstable, chaotic, and down-right dangerous state of the world, I mused, we need every bit of help, every useful suggestion, to move us through this turbulent period in human history, and on to a more peaceful, balanced, harmonious place in our collective state of existence.

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