Discours de Monsieur François Le Goff à l’occasion de la cérémonie officielle de signature de convention de partenariat entre la French American School de Providence et le LFI

Madam President of the Board of Trustees, Dear Jennifer, Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the Board, Mr. Headteacher, Dear Jean-Yves, Mr. Principal of the LFI, Madam Director of the elementary school of the LFI, Ladies, Gentlemen, Dear teachers, Dear parents, Dear students, Dear friends,

I am very happy to be able to express myself before you and to thank you for your warm words of welcome.

This joy is also borrowed from emotion because some family and friends are joining me in the United States, from Boston to Los Angeles. In fact, my children worked in Cambridge ; one at MIT and her husband at Harvard, and my other daughter, married to a Californian, teaches at UCLA.

By the way, it’s the second time that I’ve come to your beautiful city, the first time, it was as a tourist. This second visit has a new dimension.

For the president of AFLEC, it’s a joy and an honor to attend the official ceremonial signing of the agreement between the French American School of Rhode Island and the Lycée Français International of AFLEC in Dubai, an agreement that anchors the very good “student mobility project,” one that falls within a common desire of openness.

Madam President of the Board, you were immediately in agreement with this project, with “The opportunity for trade” offered by this project, another chance to give your students, who already benefit from a remarkable language learning program, a possibility to increase their knowledge of other cultures. The school leadership team in Dubai has conducted the same analysis and the establishment has given its consent. For my part, convinced by experience and interest in this type of project, it was easy for me to get permission from my Executive Board.

Giving our students the desire to know and to surpass themselves and helping them to become productive future citizens of the world are the purposes at the heart of the educational plan of AFLEC. I believe they connect us all.

To achieve this ambition in a very dynamic current situation, to always meet as many expectations as possible, expectations that are sometimes contradictory, and to bring the best quality of service while constantly being questioned by the conclusions of numerous research studies, by the rapid diffusion of new tools that profoundly change the methods of teaching and education, we must, by relying on our values of solidarity, trust, and closeness, relying our tradition of pedagogical excellence, always try to improve.

This is the challenge with which AFLEC, provider of French teaching abroad, is confronted, like its partners elsewhere : the French Secularity Mission and the Agency for the Teaching of French Abroad.

This is why AFLEC is firmly committed to several innovative approaches, in particular, those aiming to reinforce the international aspect of its establishments.

Our establishments in the United Arab Emirates, as much in Dubai as in Abu Dhabi, have been moving forward with a deliberate policy under the leadership of their Head of School. Often innovative, they are enabling us to truly earn the “international” part of our “Lycée Français International” name.

Two levers have been, and are still being used. 1) The implementation of a coherent policy on languages : -by the broadening of bilingual French-English education starting from the lower grades, and I thank JYC for implementing this teaching. -by the concentration of resources in order to increase quality, hence the quality of the teaching of English at LFI in Dubai is certified by the yearly acquisition (for the past six years now) of the note “outstanding” given by the educational authorities of Dubai, according to very demanding Anglo-Saxon standards. It must also be certified by the acquisition of the approval of the French Department in order to develop an international American branch starting next school year. So, the students of Dubai will be able to take this option that will open up the possibility of earning the International French Diploma and the French Baccalaureate with the American International Option. As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, American culture and society are, and will be, even more emphasized in our students’ curriculum. Thank you Principal Troucat for the quality of your work and that of your teams. IGEN knows how many approvals are difficult to get.

2) The search for opportunities for cultural openness -by the work of the teaching staff from disciplinary programs ; -by the implementation of a development agenda in partnership with foreign establishments wishing to engage in actions aiming to promote the essential mobility of students.

Thanks to this partnership, the students of Providence will be able to be welcomed by French speaking families in Dubai, to take high school courses, to confront other cultures and environments, and the city of Dubai offers some great subjects to study. The United Arab Emirates and the United States share some common interests in the areas of economics, diplomacy, culture, and education : Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and the Guggenheim Museum are working closely with several cultural and educational associations in the U.A.E. in order to establish some new institutions in the country. The American system is heavily represented by the installation of schools preparing to issue American diplomas.

Madam President, this ceremony solidifies the process initiated last year when Christophe Troucat and Juliette Kudlikowski carried out a preparatory research visit and met you, while Jean-Yves Carpanèse was visiting Dubai.

The close ties created between your Head of School Jean-Yves and AFLEC have facilitated the implementation of such a project. I recall that, before being at Providence, your Head of School was the valued principal of AFLEC Lycée Théodore Monod in Abu Dhabi and you also know that Jean-Yves C. and Christophe T. used to work together in Lebanon.

However, beyond this complicity, the professionalism of the staff engaged in this action, the quality of the respective projects of the two establishments, and our common belonging to this magnificent network of French establishments abroad have been the cement of this partnership that is set to grow. We are all hoping for thriving development.

I wish to express all my gratitude to you, Madam President, dear Jennifer, and to the members of the Board for having accepted this partnership, to the families of your community for having welcomed our students, and to your entire team whom worked together to make this beautiful project a reality.

Throughout its history, the beautiful city of Providence has been able to take pride in the most important industry in North America, a welcoming tradition, and a spirit of openness. Thank you to everyone for contributing to and perpetuating these humanistic values that will shape the wisdom of the future. Thank you for your attentiveness.

François Le Goff Honorary IGEN, president of AFLEC

Providence, May 2, 2016

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