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A peek into the world of the "statesman of the world"

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"UNITING PEOPLE": An exhibition recounting the story of Jean Monnet, regarded as the architect of European unity, at the IIC Annexe in New Delhi. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
"UNITING PEOPLE": An exhibition recounting the story of Jean Monnet, regarded as the architect of European unity, at the IIC Annexe in New Delhi. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

An exhibition offering a peek into the extraordinary life and achievements of a Frenchman whom U.S. President John F. Kennedy once referred to as a "statesman of the world'' has been mounted in Delhi.

Titled "Uniting People: Jean Monnet", the exhibition has been organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome that established the European Economic Community. It is also an ode to the contribution made by Jean Monnet to achieve European unity.

A philosopher and man of action, Monnet's life is in itself an inspiring story. A pragmatic internationalist, he is widely regarded as the architect of European unity. Though he was never elected to any public office, never was part of any government and did not hold any diploma, Monnet exerted a huge and lasting influence on the most prominent minds of his time.

He embodied values that can be described as universal but also happen to be at the core of Indian traditions. The exhibition recounts that story, using Monnet's own words and statements as well as some archival pictures.

The exhibition has been prepared in Auroville, a city dedicated to the search for a concrete human unity and based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo. The team that has been instrumental in putting up the exhibition includes a young Aurovillian artist from Switzerland, Aron Nicolet. Inspired by the words of Monnet and the vision of Sri Aurobindo, he has created a painting for each of the 32 panels put up on display.

The exhibition not only presents the life of Monnet, it also evokes the main features of the entity called the European Union. It also looks at other experiences and adventures happening in Asia around that time.

The Ambassador-Head of the delegation of the European Commission to India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Francisco Da Camara Gomes, and the Director-General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Pavan K. Varma, inaugurated the exposition on Wednesday.

The exhibition is on at the Art Gallery of India International Centre Annexe up to February 10.

A three-fold programme has been lined up to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Treaties of Rome. Apart from the exhibition, a seminar-cum-round table has also been organised. -- Parul Sharma

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