Pia in France

Pia spending a month this summer in Cannes, France, on a Richter Research Fellowship to investigate the relationship between the popular, wealthy city and its local, national and international charities.

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The curtain is lifted

I finally had my first official interview today! I’m ecstatic!

I was lucky to find Monsieur Barre, the man in charge of the Cannes group of Amnesty International. I first got in touch with him in February after a long chain of referrals…

Anyways, today I went to the beautiful Lycee Carnot DSC02409.JPG.jpegin a part of Cannes I hadn’t had the privilege of knowing. It was less touristy than downtown and more urban than La Bocca (I will later describe the part of town where I’m staying!).

M. Barre was at that school to recruit young students to the group; he had a table set up with lots of colorful fliers and pamphlets. When I saw him, I couldn’t believe it was him – I had imagined him completely different. I mean, we had been emailing back and forth attempting to set up meeting times, and he always had a courteous and energetic attitude, and he was obviously tech savvy. I guess I never imagined him to be around 60 years old!

Anyways, I started my interview – question sheet on my lap, voice recorder in one hand, pen in the other – was it obvious that I was an amateur at this?DSC02413.JPG.jpeg

With slurred French and a substantial amount of concentration, I managed to have a very successful interview. And I might say that I was surprised with the results. I don’t want to reveal all of my research before writing the actual report, but I must mention what impacted me the most: according to M. Barre, Cannes is not the rich city it seems; its numerous poverty problems are hidden behind a great curtain of glamour.

Definitely not what I expected. I wanted to hear that Hollywood celebrities (perhaps Brangelina), whenever they visit Cannes, donate huge amounts of money to Amnesty International’s cause. I guess that’s not the case. Actually, the Cannes group is experiencing serious financial troubles, which, to me, is a shame.

Another shame was that no one at the Lycee joined Amnesty this afternoon…

On a more positive tone, the polite M. Barre invited me to attend a group meeting on June 10.

I am looking forward to it.

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