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This is the first half of an article posted on “be on Saturday”, a weekend extra  of Asahi Shimbun. Japanese original text with English translation.

朝日新聞の週末別冊版「be on Saturday」掲載の記事、フロントランナーの前半部分です。日本語の原文と英訳です。

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be on Saturday (朝日新聞)
be on Saturday, weekend extra of Asahi Shimbun

2012年8月25日(土)
Saturday, August 25, 2012

欧州危機対策をリードする

国際通貨基金専務理事 クリスティーヌ・ラガルドさん(56歳)

International Monetary Fund, Managing Director, Christine Lagarde (56), Leads Measures against Crisis in Europe

今年7月、東京都内にある慶応大学のホール。約120人の学生の前に、日焼けした顔にスリムなスーツを身にまとって現れた国際機関の女性トップは、いつになく穏やかだった。

Photo: sankeibiz.jp

In July, the top woman of an international organization, with a sun-tan in a smart business suit, appeared in front of 120 students in the Keio University Hall in Tokyo.  She looked remarkably amiable.

ふだんは国際通貨基金(IMF)のトップである専務理事として、ギリシャやイタリアなど欧州の金融危機対策に奔走し、各国首脳と渡り合う。危機がなかなか収まらないなかで、その一言ひとことを世界中のメディアが追う。

Usually, as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde devotes herself in measures against financial crisis in Europe especially in countries such as Greece and Italy, debating with government leaders.  Amid the persisting crisis, every single word she speaks is followed by media all over the world.

ひとたび発言すれば、瞬時に世界中を駆け巡るだけに、語り口は常に慎重。しかし緊迫した時間の合間に訪れた日本の大学では、柔らかな笑顔で「どんな質問も重要。歓迎します」と学生に呼びかけた。ある女子学生が「これまで最大の障壁は?」と尋ねると、少し考え、こう答えた。「たぶん自分自身でした。若いころは自分にあまり自信がなかった。でも、様々な人達に自信を与えてもらえ,本当に幸運でした。」

As her remarks immediately runs around the world, Lagarde always speaks in a prudent manner.  However, when she visited the Japanese school in the interval of those tense days, she talked to the students with her soft smile saying “Questions are always important and welcomed”. A female student asked, “What was the biggest obstacle you have faced being a female leader?”  She thought about it a little while and answered, “It was probably myself.”  She continued, “When I was young, I was not as confident as I could be, but I was very lucky to find throughout my life people of all horizons who gave me that confidence”

米国系弁護士事務所の会長から、2005年にフランスの対外貿易相、そして財務相となり、主要7カ国で初の女性財務大臣となった。昨年7月、IMFで初の女性トップに就任。だが華やかな経歴の背景には、試練も多かった。

In 2005, Lagarde was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade in France after being the chair of an American law firm, and then, became Minister of Economic Affairs, the first woman to be the economics minister among G7 nations.  In July, 2011, she was appointed the MD of the IMF,  the first woman to ever head the organization.  However, while she enjoyed the remarkable career, she went through a lot of hardship.

10代で父が他界し、大学教員だった母親に育てられた。高校時代、米ワシントン郊外にある女子校に留学した経験が、大きな転機となる。最初は英語がうまく通じず、苦労したが、言語も習慣も異なる環境で一年間暮らしたことで、多様な価値観や文化に触れる出発点になった。
帰国後、さらに苦い挫折を味わう。フランスで政官界エリートの登竜門と言われる国立行政学院の受験に、2度失敗した。心機一転して目指したのが、弁護士の道だった。

After her father passed away in her teen years, Legarde was raised by her mother, a university lecturer.  During high school, she studied at a girls’ school in a suburb of Washington DC, which was a great turning point of her.  At first, she had a hard time communicating in English, but, she spent a whole year living with a different language and habits, which was her starting point to be exposed to diverse values and culture.
Back home, Legarde suffered more sever setback, failing twice the entrance exam of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, known as the gateway to a successful government career and bureaucracy élite in France.  To make a fresh start, she decided to become a lawyer.

就職した米国系大手弁護士事務所のパリ事務所で、先輩女性弁護士から、「男性優位」の文化での処世術を仕込まれる。特に「十分に考えて自分が正しいと思ったことは、決して曲げずに通す大切さを学んだ」という。40代で、約3500人の弁護士を統括するこの法律事務所の会長の座に就いた。女性トップとして活躍する姿が仏首相の目に留まり、請われて政界入りした。一度はあきらめた道への華々しい転身だった。

Legarde joined a Paris office of a large American-based international law firm, where a senior woman lawyer taught her social politics in the “male-oriented” culture.  Especially, she “learned that it is important to adhere to what one is convinced to be right after careful consideration.”  In her 40’s, she assumed the chair of this law firm managing 3500 lawyers.  Her work as a woman leader caught the eye of the Prime Minister, and she went into politics.  It was a brilliant career change to what she had gave up once.

IMFの事務理事選挙で、欧州の後押しを得て出馬。08年秋以降の金融危機の対処に、中心的な役割を果たしたことが強みだった。新興国の一角であるメキシコの中央銀行総裁との一騎打ちだったが、中国やインドを訪ねて支持を取り付け圧勝した。

In an IMF MD election, Legarde became a candidate supported by European nations.  Her advantage was the central role that she played in dealing with the financial crisis since the autumn of 2008.  It was a straight fight against the Mexican central bank chief, supported among emerging nations.  She visited China and India securing their support and she swept to victory.

Photo: Wikipedia

現職では、欧州の金融機関に資本増強する必要性を早くから公言するなど、危機対策をリードする。「弁護士出身で、経済政策の決断をどう下すのか」という批判にも、「それぞれの分野に詳しい人たちのアドバイスを信頼している。私は、いい指揮者になる。」と意に介さない。
人生の原点ともいうべきワシントンで、いまこう思う。「人生は変わりゆくもの。そして何事も可能なのだ。」

In the IMF, at earlier stage, Lagarde publicly stated the necessity of additional capital in the European financial institutions, leading the counter crisis initiative.   Having been asked, as a former lawyer, how she made a decision on the financial policies, she replied, without a care for the critics, that she relies on advice from experts in each field and she hopes to “become a good conductor.”
In Washington DC, where her life as an internationalist began, Lagarde looks back and says that life is a changing affair and anything is possible.

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Transcript of International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde at Keio University