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Korean-born adoptee named French culture minister

Posted August. 28, 2014 06:45,   


Fleur Pellerin (Korean name Kim Jong-sook), a Korean-born adoptee, assumed the top administrative post overseeing culture policy of France, a global cultural powerhouse, in the latest Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday (local time). As French President François Hollande appointed members of the second Cabinet under Prime Minister Manuel Valls on the day, he named Pellerin the culture minister. Having joined the Hollande administration in its early days, Pellerin served as minister of small and medium enterprises, innovation and the digital economy, and minister of state for foreign trade, and is set to remain as a minister for more than two years including her term as culture minister.

As the culture minister, one of the most important Cabinet posts, Pellerin effectively won promotion. The culture minister of France, a nation that highly values culture, has been considered a very important post in the French Cabinet since the European country positioned itself as a culture powerhouse. Minister André Malraux during the Charles de Gaulle administration and Minister Jack Lang during the François Mitterand administration served the post for 10 years each.

Pellerin was adopted by a French family six months after she was discovered on a street after her birth in 1973. Receiving care from her adoptive father, a nuclear physicist, and mother, a homemaker, she acquired the right to enter college at age 16, and majored in economics at the prestigious ESSEC business school. She also studied at Sciences Po (MPA), the top institution for training elite, and the École Nationale d`Administration (ENA), the national university of administration.

Pellerin debuted in the political community in 2002, when she started writing speeches for the Socialist Party. In the 2007 presidential election, she earned fame as an expert in digital economy. French daily Le Monde said, “Pellerin, a ‘fruit’ nurtured by the French Republic, came to assume a more important role in the new government,” adding, “However, as outgoing Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti, criticized when resigning from the post, “The reality of ‘unprecedented dearth of budget’ will be a major challenge to Pellerin.”

Meanwhile, President Hollande named Emmanuel Macron, his key confident, as the new economy minister in a surprise move. Macron, 36, is formerly a ranking executive at an affiliate of Rothschild, the world’s largest financial conglomerate, and was picked as the senior presidential secretary for economic affairs early this year. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a rising star of the Socialist Party and former minister of women’s rights, has been named the education minister.