Director of Alliance Francaise Hyderabad is happy that the Belmondo Medal has been awarded to a Hyderabadi

Jean-Manuel Duhaut is a happy man. His stay in Hyderabad as the Director of Alliance Française, Hyderabad, which was supposed to end by August this year has been extended. “There are many coincidences in my life about coming and working in India. In 1983 I was to come and teach French in India as a visiting lecturer; then I was first assigned to Hyderabad. Just the day earlier I watched Gandhi film with my students. At that time I knew India but had no idea of a city called Hyderabad.

I looked up the map and could trace my future place of dwelling. Just when I was getting excited about my stint in Hyderabad, I was told that the place which I was supposed to take had got filled in. However my India plans as a lecturer would still be on. I was sent to Delhi,” recollects Jean.

The French language and cultural institute recently wrapped up a function where city-based J. Prithvi Reddy was awarded the prestigious French Belmondo medal that is awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to Alliance Française. This medal was designed by famous sculptor Paul Belmondo, father of the illustrious French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. “Jean Paul Belmondo is to France what Amitbah Bachchan is to India,” explains Jean.

Prithvi Reddy was awarded the medal for his invaluable contribution and long association with Alliance Française. He helped the centre sustain when it was in a very bad crisis some years ago,” elaborates Jean.

Talking more about his association with teaching, Jean says “I chose teaching over the mandatory military service and that is how I applied for civil services abroad where we teach French at erstwhile French colonies. Many people still mistake us to be a foreign institution, but we are not. We are actually the largest controlled NGO that is only involved in teaching French and establishing a cultural dialogue between the two countries.”