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Speech by CE at 30th Anniversary Celebration of French May Arts Festival Gala Dinner (English only) (with photos)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of French May Arts Festival Gala Dinner today (May 18):
Mrs Christile Drulhe (Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau)Ms Pansy Ho (Co-Chairman of the Board of French May Arts Festival), Mrs Mignonne Cheng (Co-Chairman of the Board of French May Arts Festival), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Bonsoir to you all.
     It gives me great pleasure to join you for tonight's gala dinner in celebration of the French May Arts Festival's 30th anniversary. 
     French May has been among the glittering highlights of Hong Kong's arts and culture calendar since its first edition in 1993. Over the past 30 years, French May has dazzled us every year with a remarkable range of programmes, and the fabulous form and feature of French arts and culture.
     It has also paid tribute to a great many French artists through the ages. Each and every year, French May presents surpassing opportunities for the people of Hong Kong to discover and delight in all the richness and defining diversity of French culture.  
     This year's French May offerings continue in that grand, and gratifying, tradition.
     The highlight exhibition, "Virtually Versailles", wows us with its brilliant use of technology and multi-sensual production. The good news is that this splendid exhibition, jointly presented by French May and our Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will continue, at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, until July 9th.
     I'm heartened, too, by the dynamic collaboration between French and Hong Kong talents, from theatre presentations to talks and seminars at this year's French May.
     Such creative collaboration will certainly fast-track Hong Kong's progress as an East‑meets‑West centre for international cultural exchange. In working to realise that ambition, it helps that we have the full backing of our country, through the National 14th Five-Year Plan.
     And that support, ladies and gentlemen, stems from the unique "one country, two systems" principle, under which Hong Kong enjoys the solid support of national strategies while maintaining unparalleled ties around the globe.
     To support our cultural goal, the Hong Kong SAR Government is developing numerous strategic policies and programmes. These include strengthening our connections with overseas arts and cultural organisations, as well as enhancing cultural exchange and co-operation with different provinces and cities in the Mainland. 
     Hong Kong's fast-developing cultural hardware is key to our progression as an arts and cultural hub. The blossoming West Kowloon Cultural District, one of the world's largest cultural projects, now boasts the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which showcases national treasures from Beijing's Forbidden City, and the M+ global museum of visual art.
     West Kowloon's Freespace theatres, outdoor Art Park and the Xiqu Centre devoted to Chinese opera, alongside other upcoming venues, also provide much-needed space for the performing arts. I am pleased to note that a number of French May events are taking place in these amazing venues.
     Ladies and gentlemen, just last month, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron of France made a state visit to China. After in-depth discussions, the two sides signed a joint statement to open up new prospects for Sino-French co-operation.
     The statement dedicated a section on boosting people-to-people and cultural exchanges, ahead of the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism next year. The two sides agreed to support the deepening of co-operation in the creation and showcasing of cultural works, and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen co-operation in cultural and creative industries.
     French May is a marvellous example of how arts and culture can bring people together, creating meaningful, and manifold, connections between communities, countries and cultures.
     I am grateful to everyone, institutions and individuals alike, who have contributed to the success of French May over the past three decades.
     Under the patronage of the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong, and with the long-time support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, French May's magnificent team and the wondrous talent you bring have animated Hong Kong from performance to performance, year to year and decade upon decade.
     I wish French May, and everyone behind it – on stage, backstage and business stage, too – continuing success over the next 30 riveting years. 
     Ladies and gentlemen, your gala evening is just beginning. So much to look forward to, from musical performances and the ancient French game of Pall Mall, to the fundraising auction, with its precious art and jewellery, fine wines and a great deal more on offer.
     And more welcome news: Bon appétit! Dinner is about to be served.
     Thank you.
Ends/Thursday, May 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:08
Today's Press Releases  


The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, speaks at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of French May Arts Festival Gala Dinner today (May 18).
The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, attended the 30th Anniversary Celebration of French May Arts Festival Gala Dinner today (May 18). Photo shows (from fourth left) Co-chairman of the Board of French May Arts Festival Ms Pansy Ho; Mr Lee; the Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mrs Christile Drulhe; Co-chairman of the Board of French May Arts Festival Mrs Mignonne Cheng, and other guests.