PIERRE LAFRANCE

The French Embassy in 1979 was still located in the port city of Jeddah. Here, First Secretary Pierre Lafrance was one of the first to learn about the Mecca mosque's occupation. He also had the duty to instruct a brand-new ambassador who had arrived only days before the Mecca takeover. Like many other times in his life, he instantly became "part of history in the moment it was made". With his brillant Arabic and innate flair for diplomacy, during the two weeks of the crisis, Lafrance became an instrumental participant in the official and non-offical meetings between the novice French ambassador and the Saudi Crown Prince Fahd.