It’s been a week since France won the World Cup, but it’s not too late to write about it because as the French say: ‘France has 4 years to celebrate being world champions.’
The weekend of the 14th of July was very eventful. First, Bastille Day and then the World Cup final. Bastille Day is France’s national day. It is celebrated every 14th of July and it marks the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, as well as the anniversary of la Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790. The storming of the Bastille represents a turning point in the French Revolution and la Fête de la Fédération was a celebration of the unity of the French nation during the revolution.
On the night of Bastille Day there is a firework show on the Eiffel Tower. Yes, the fireworks come out of the tower itself! It’s so nice that everyone wants to see it, so it gets really crowded and you have to get there super early to get a spot to sit on the grass. Some of my intern colleagues and myself made a day out of it. We went in the early afternoon for a picnic and stayed there all day to get a great view of the firework show which started at 10pm. I’m glad we did that, the show was worth the wait. It is difficult to capture the beauty of it in a picture but I tried my best! Here is a snapshot:
After a long day of celebrating France’s history, the city still woke up with plenty of energy left to cheer on the French national football team in the World Cup final. A few hours before the match, some public parks that were showing the game on big screens, like Champ de Mars, right across from the Eiffer Tower, were already at max capacity and closed off. Every neighborhood bistro was full, people were starting to stand on the sidewalks and the roads, surrounding any bar or restaurant with screens facing the street. Despite a couple of tense moments during the match, the French team gave us a lot to celebrate, and with every goal beer and champagne showered the crowd as people chanted, jumped, and hugged each other. As you can imagine, it was difficult to take pictures of this while standing in the crowd so I wasn’t able to capture these joyful moments.
As you can see, living in Paris is never boring! Don’t let the social events fool you though, just like we play hard, we also work hard over here. These days the office is busy preparing for two separate events: World Teachers Day and the 11th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030. Currently, a lot of my work focuses on coordinating these events: the space, the technical needs, the invitations, the invitees, the protocol, the working documents for the events, etc. For the Policy Dialogue Forum, however, my work goes beyond these tasks. The Policy Dialogue Forum is one of the flagship activities of the Teachers Task Force; and the Teachers Task Force (TTF) is a global alliance that works to address the ‘teacher gap.’ As such, the TTF has a separate list of member states and organization from that of UNESCO as well as its own Secretariat and Steering Committee. The TTF refers to its yearly forum as a “battery-charging” event that enables decision-makers and practitioners to refresh their knowledge, expertise, and motivation. The TTF recently published its new 2018-2021 strategic plan which lays the foundation for most of what I do.
The TTF welcomes members and non-member stakeholders to participate in its regional as well as its thematic working groups. These groups focus on subjects of interest to them and collaborate in the form of research studies, regional meetings, and creating and sharing knowledge. It is my responsibility to coordinate the work that they do and guide them in the creation of their respective work plan. I am doing this in preparation of the 11th Policy Dialogue Forum which will take place in November. I am really excited to get to work with each of the thematic working groups!