Fred Eckhard was editor of The InterDependent from its founding in 1973 until he joined the UN in 1985. He was Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman from 1997 until his retirement in 2005. He also served as a UN spokesman in Namibia (1989-90) and in Sarajevo, Bosnia (1992, and again briefly in 1995) and was spokesman for the peace talks on the former Yugoslavia co-sponsored by the UN and the European Community (1992-93). Eckhard and his wife, Kathryn, live in Brittany, France.
Suzhou, CHINA -- “In heaven there is paradise, on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.” Everyone in China knows this saying — at least everyone in southeast China. Hangzhou, where I’ve taught a term a year for the past five years, has the scenic West Lake, 10 miles around, exquisitely landscaped all along the perimeter. Even in this little Chinese town of seven million people, you can find a quiet corner to relax and enjoy nature by the lake.
Saint-Quay-Portrieux, FRANCE—When I first visited Burkina Faso as a retiree, in 2009, I was blown away by the bronze statues made there. I bought one called “The Water Carrier,” a man carrying two water jugs suspended from a bar across his shoulders and wearing the conical cap of the Peul tribe in the north of the country. I loved it.
The artworks are priced for about $100 each.
I was in Burkina for a little nonprofit association called Solidarité Goëlo-Burkina. Goëlo is the name of the coastal region in Brittany, in northwest France, where my wife and I settled after our retirement from the UN in 2005. This association was started 10 years ago by the woman we bought our house from, and it currently gives small cash grants to 45 girls in Burkina Faso to help them stay in school.