French envoy of friendship tells her Shandong story
(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2020-11-20Print Print
"As the general representative of the Brittany region of France in Shandong, half of my work is telling Shandong's stories, so that people in France and other countries and regions can know more about the province," said Christelle Rouault in a recent interview.
Born in Brittany, France, Rouault has lived and worked in Shandong for 23 years, first arriving in 1997.
Speaking in fluent Chinese, Rouault made her strong feelings for Shandong very plain: "Shandong is my second hometown. I feel at home here."
Christelle Rouault, general representative of the Brittany region of France in Shandong [Photo/sdchina.com]
In 1985, Brittany established a sister relationship with Shandong, the first of its kind in Europe.
As a child, Rouault developed a strong interest in the Chinese language and a curiosity about this mysterious eastern country.
In college, she majored in international trade, and after graduating, she decided to go to China for further study and to help enterprises explore trade cooperation opportunities.
At that time, she was faced with a dilemma: should she go to the international metropolis of Shanghai, or the province of Shandong?
Rouault surprised her peers and decided to continue her studies at Shandong University.
"Perhaps because of the friendly relationship between Shandong and my home, I have a special feeling for the province," said Rouault.
In 2000, Rouault was appointed the general representative of Brittany in Shandong by the local government, and has since been working diligently to strengthen cooperation between the two regions.
Shandong and Brittany are both powerhouses in agriculture and animal husbandry. With Rouault's help, the two sides have been able to explore trade cooperation in agriculture, fishing, food processing, and other industries.
Rouault also helped Shandong cattle breeding technicians participate in some artificial insemination technology training courses in Brittany, helped Shandong pig breeding enterprises buy pork deep-processing equipment from Brittany, encouraged animal feed enterprises from Brittany to invest in Qingdao, and supported the holding of the Shandong-Brittany Food Safety Seminar.
With her help, French enterprises have been able to visit Qingdao, Rizhao, and other cities in Shandong to learn about tea cultivation and abalone culture.
Rouault has made strong progress in promoting cultural and educational exchanges between the two regions.
In particular, she has been promoting cooperation between Shandong-based universities and their counterparts in Brittany.
Thanks to her efforts, a number of vocational schools on both sides have begun cooperating in hotel management, catering, and other disciplines.
"Brittany is the region with the largest number of Chinese learners after Paris, and some high schools offer Chinese courses," she said.
"With a growing number of joint courses and other exchange opportunities between colleges and universities in the two regions, many young people from France are choosing to study and live in Shandong, with some even staying long-term.”
Rouault has been awarded the title of "Friendship Envoy of Shandong" by the Shandong provincial government for her contributions to cooperation between the two sides in a variety of areas.
"This honorary title will inspire me to better tell Shandong stories," she said.
"When many foreigners talk about China, they think of Beijing, Shanghai, and other first-tier cities, but know little about Shandong. Shandong has mountains and rivers, history and culture, and the climate is pleasant, especially in Qingdao," said Rouault, adding that she plans to explore more opportunities for cooperation in tourism.