French Tech x UFE (Union des Français à l’Etranger)
My name is Nathalie, I have been in Thailand since October 2004, I was vice-president of UFE for 11 years and since 5 years, I have been President of the association. UFE is the Union of French Abroad, we are a recognized association of public utility which brings together French people, Francophones and Francophiles around the world. And it is an association founded in 1927 and one of the first associations that exists for French people living abroad. The Association defends the rights of the French and tries to highlight France. The Association is made up entirely of volunteers. We are around 170 representations around the world in a hundred countries and we have 4 essential values within the association: conviviality, mutual aid, hospitality and the influence of France.
How does your association innovate in digital? What is the impact of digital on your activity?
In terms of digital, we have a website that we recently redesigned, so I highlight our partners, the different events that will take place in the coming weeks, or months to come. We also have a Facebook page, we post every day new events, practical information, information from the embassy and useful to French people living in Thailand.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your association?
The pandemic has affected us a lot since we do events in real life. Normally, once a month and we had to stop all real events and so when we were confined I started doing online events, online aperitifs every Saturday and for three months, and it worked very well. Because I had a lot of UFE members who were stuck outside of Thailand and so it still allowed us to meet, to be able to exchange.
Since 2 years there has been no partnership with companies. Recently I have signed partnerships with small businesses that cannot afford a marketing communications director, so they reach me out. Membership for the year is not expensive and therefore I am in charge of promoting their company through our UFE website and via our Facebook page. And also give advantages to UFE members if they buy their products or use their services.
What are your future plans for the UFE?
I think I will continue to do events online. I have done online conferences, for example, which have worked well and for people who work or who are not always available, who cannot always travel. I think I will continue to do online conferences and maybe online events.