Dîner de gala 333ème anniversaire de l’ambassade de Kosa Pan en France - 30 novembre 2019 - Résidence de France
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, allow me to extend a special greeting to H.E. Prof. Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, President of the Senate, H.E. Dr. Wissanu Krea-ngam, Deputy Prime Minister, and H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. Your attendance alongside our other distinguished guests, from Thailand, France and the diplomatic corps, demonstrates your attachment to the deep and long-lasting relationship between our two countries.
I am really happy to welcome you all in the garden of the French Residence to celebrate the 333rd anniversary of the embassy to France of Kosa Pan, who arrived in the port city of Brest in 1686 before continuing his journey to the court of Louis the XIV in Versailles.
It was the first contact at a royal level after the embassy of the Chevalier de Chaumont to King Naraï the previous year. But it was also an encounter of civilizations at a time when Siam was opening up to the world. The French then discovered a rich and complex culture.
I will not go back over the episodes and the hazards of this human adventure, which is popular among many Thais ever since the drama “Love Destiny”. I want to signal, in this regard, that we have among us Mr. Chatchai Ngamsan, the actor who played the character of Kosa Pan.
Tonight we invite you to experience Kosa Pan’s journey from Ayutthaya to Versailles through taste and music. You have been welcomed by a performance of the Galyani Institute Orchestra, which combines our two classical music heritage, thanks to Khunying Wongchan, whom I greet.
The chefs of the Residence, of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G and of the new Blue restaurant by Alain Ducasse will make you travel with your palate. Each dish that will be served is a reference to the long epic of the Siamese envoy to France, from the hazardous ocean crossing to the approach of the French coast, from terra firma to Versailles.
Obviously our journey will stop over in Brest, the embassy’s port of arrival on June 18, 1686, on board the frigate l’Oiseau. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to Mr. Fortuné Pellicano, Deputy Mayor of Brest, for joining us specially this evening.
ATPF, the Association of French Teachers in Thailand, took the wonderful initiative to melt a bronze bust of Kosa Pan, which you can admire tonight and which will soon be offered to the city of Brest. It will be a highlight of this year long commemoration and, thanks to the ATPF, his image will shine in Brest near – of course - the rue de Siam. I am also delighted that Mr. Sumet Jumsai, of whom Kosa Pan was a distant uncle, was able to be part of our evening.
So you see, from 1686 in Versailles to today in Bangkok, France and Thaïland have come a long way together. What we are celebrating tonight is the dialogue between our cultures and the friendship between our peoples. You all are, one way or the other, actors of this dialogue and of this friendship, and this I why it was important that you could be with us tonight.
Before concluding, I would like to thank the partners I did not mention yet and without whom this evening would not have been possible : Icon Sian, Accor Hotels, Michelin, Channel 3, and Vatel School. And last but not least, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and its European department, which had this idea of the 333rd anniversary and has edited a fine book to commemorate it, a book that will be handed over at the end of the dinner.
Thank you very much and please enjoy the evening.