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17 May 2013

One language, many cultures

A symposium on francophone cultural diversity and the promotion of French teaching in the United States was held at the State University of New York (SUNY) Global Center on May 8.

Organized at the initiative of the Québec government office in New York (DGQNY), in collaboration with the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques (CFA), SUNY and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the event “One language, many cultures” drew close to 120 participants.

University professors and researchers, OIF experts, government representatives and people from the private sector took part in a series of talks. The keynote address was given by Filippe Savadogo, Permanent Observer of La Francophonie to the United Nations.

Three workshops focused on the following stakeholders’ roles and available tools to promote French in New York:

  • universities (SUNY, Columbia and The New School)
  • governments (New York, Québec and France)
  • non-governmental organizations (Alliance française and French Heritage Language Program)

Young people like French!

There has been constant growth in demand for French courses in New York City, particularly among young people. The participants in the symposium all agreed that they have to join forces to promote French in the United States.

Building bridges with the private sector

André Boisclair, Québec’s Delegate General in New York, wrapped up the event by summarizing the key issues and challenges and identifying several paths for future action. One of these options consists in bolstering partnerships with the private sector, which includes a number of influential French-speakers and francophiles who can serve as French-language ambassadors.

André Boisclair urged everyone to begin identifying pivotal projects for the March 2014 edition of Mois de la Francophonie (Francophone Month).

Québec government office in New York
Centre de la francophonie des Amériques (in French)

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