Lilian Thuram, the Juventus FC and France defender, has been invited to help improve race relations as part of the French government's council for integration.
Invited by prime minister
Thuram was in Paris yesterday to take his place on the 'Haut Conseil à l'Intégration', a 19-man assembly brought together by French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
'I hope I can help'
The 30-year-old Thuram will hold the post for three years - with the option of a second three-year stint - and, together with other assembly members, must report on life for immigrants and racial minority groups in France. "I hope I can help some people feel more French than they currently do," said Thuram.
Born in Guadeloupe
A member of France's 1998 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2000™-winning teams, Thuram has first-hand experience of immigrant life following his family's journey from his birthplace of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to the suburbs of Paris where he grew up.
During his time in Italy, where he spent five seasons with Parma AC prior to joining Juventus, Thuram has spoken out against racism among fans and last year he famously confronted the French-Algerian youths who invaded the pitch during France's historic friendly against Algeria at the Stade de France, causing the match to be abandoned.
Thuram, who started out at AS Monaco FC, will join politicians and intellectuals in the assembly, which is chaired by Blandine Kriegel, a prominent French philosopher.
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