A committee meeting, Cambridge Leadership Conference, Global Cambridge, and much to report.
In September we set ourselves the seemingly ambitious challenge of doubling the membership of the Cambridge Society of Paris within a year to eighteen months. This was indeed ambitious but, already, we are 60% of the way to achieving this target, with a massive increase of over 60 members over the past few months.
In part, this has been thanks to the College Representative initiative. A Cambridge Society Representative for each of the thirty-one Colleges, working with their College to contact the College Alumni resident in France, to make them aware of the Cambridge Society of Paris, and encourage them to become members.
We now have Representatives for two thirds of the Colleges and, at present, about one third of these Representatives have issued their letters to Alumni. Led by St John’s, Fitzwilliam and Magdalene, this has resulted in many new members and, as each of the Colleges is launched, the resulting new members will almost certainly take us beyond the 100% mark.
Allied to this, come the New Year, we shall also explore the scope for greater liaison between the various Cambridge Alumni Associations in France to create an Alumni hub, supplemented by the creation of new Alumni Associations in regions of France not so far covered.
We have some exciting events coming up in the New Year, including the Challenge Debate against the Cambridge Union on Saturday 27th January, the Annual Dinner on Friday 9th February, with Professor Robert Tombs as guest speaker, then the Fingask Follies Musical Revue on Tuesday 22nd May.
A complete new departure, that grew out of lunch with Moez Draief: The Cutting-Edge Lectures. Whilst we shall, most certainly, continue our traditional events, The Cutting-Edge Lectures will be a vivid and important counterpoint. A programme of four lectures a year, on topics of crucial importance for the present and the future, the lectures will be short, incisive and authoritative, but delivered in such a way as to be compelling and of interest to anyone with a thirst to understand our modern world. The topics are likely to be scientific, but not invariably so, and each lecture will be recorded on video, and posted to You Tube, for future reference and useful publicity for CamSoc.
Turning back to the immediate, we have the Christmas Carols, organised by Edward Archer, this Tuesday, 12th December, at the Travellers Club, and the Cambridge Christmas Party at the Musée des Arts Forains next Monday, 18th December.
The Carols promise to be the charming traditional evening that Edward has kindly treated us to for several years and, as a result, the tickets have completely sold out.
The Cambridge Christmas Party is a totally new event, but has already become very substantial and important. It will also be the greatest fun! The Musée des Arts Forains is a truly magic place, and the music, tap dancing, conjuring, and Années Folles ambiance will all be highly amusing.
At the outset, I was persuading musicians to attend. Now, the buzz has got around, and they are all desperate to be there to join in the jam session. This will be one of the greatest gatherings of traditional jazz / swing / boogie musicians in Paris, ever! Because of this, we have attracted some high-profile guests, and may have representatives from the Arts Society and the Bulldog Trust in London, who see our party as being relevant to their exhibition, The Rise of Jazz, commencing in January at Two Temple Place, the neo-Gothic mansion built for William Waldorf Astor.
The attendance for the Cambridge Christmas Party presently stands at approximately 330, but there is space for 50 more. However, with a week still to go, it is almost certain that these final places will be taken, probably quite soon.
The Cambridge Christmas Party is definitely not an event to be missed, and the final fifty places will go fast. So, if you have not yet applied, or if you want to invite more friends, do please send in your Application Forms. Fresh copies can be obtained from Tony Banton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com).
Look forward to seeing you, I hope, at the Christmas Carols and the Christmas Party, and my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
President, Cambridge Society of Paris.