Los Angeles Regional Meeting - May 19, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
A Communication from Federation of Alliances Françaises USA
Janine Bobin, President of the Alliance de Los Angeles welcomed Pascal Saura, Coordinateur Pédagogique de la Délégation Générale representing Pierre Hudelot, Délégué Général and Jane Bernbach, Vice President of the Federation of Alliances Francaises, USA, representing Carole Crosby, Federation President.
10 Alliances were represented: LA, Greater Nevada, Riviera Californienne, Pasadena, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle and Tucson. Nicolas Pellerin from European Book Co, San Francisco was also present.
The meeting was conducted in French.
Misa Bourdoiseau described the benefits of regional meetings stressing that they are programs of quality and that this was the 17th hosted by California. Venues for 2008 that have been proposed were Portland and Monterey. Jane Bernbach reaffirmed the mission of the Federation and described the Grants Program stressing the new initiatives enacted this year.
Chargé de Mission, Didier Rousselière introduced Pascal Saura.
Pascal stressed the closer cooperation now existing between the Federation and the Délégation Générale with reference to the recently signed Protocole, the interaction on grants and the review of Cultural Programs being proposed for funding. Both Federation and Délégation seek to promote the network of Alliances.
Pascal presented the Delegation’s website and its main highlights, insisted on the importance of the Questionnaire de l'AF de Paris in determining which initiatives the AF de Paris needs to focus on.
Mention was made that Mimi Gregory, President of AF de Bonita Springs had made the Foreign Policy Association publications available to Alliances. These publications make useful teaching tools for advanced students since they address current events.
Discussion ensued regarding deadline for planning “les tournées” (cultural and artistic programming by the DG) which is May 31st, and regarding the financing of lecturers and performers in coordination with local organizations. The Federation’s support for Maryse Conde was described by Jane and Misa. Pascal raised the question of creating a joint brochure to aid in soliciting major sponsors such as airlines and hotel chains.
His presentation continued with a detailed description of three pedagocical initiatives: FRAMES, AllianceEnfance and MERLIN. Mainly large AFs use FRAMES. Overall, there is a lack of recognition of the teaching of the French language, in part because certificates/diplomas are not given to confirm that students have completed a given course and passed an exam. Would more businesses pay for instruction of their employees if a diploma testified to success? In the US, certification is a State issue, not a Federal one. Suggestions were made for making AFs more visible in the community and more receptive to the needs of local educational institutions. How can AF help a University without appearing to compete for the students? Make libraries and media centers available to the whole community, host joint events, raise funds for community benefit ...etc. might constitue effective approaches. In describing the MERLIN initiative, Pascal confirmed that the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted 30,000 Euros to promote the project of interface between the AF language centers and the mediatheques.
Discussion took place on the subject of a course currently designed for children between the ages of 4 and 12 and the advisability of a handbook and appropriate format.
Didier Rousseliere asked the individual AF attendees to describe the different communication methods they use in promoting their Alliance, discussed pros and cons of email blasts, newsletters, magazines such Alliance Française de Los Angeles’ Mosaique. Could this publication be adapted for other AFs to make use of the format? LA’s webmaster Yvette Jean made a presentation on the advantages and cost of THRIVA internet solution for secure data storage, online registrations and report management.
Didier also asked how AFs formed partnerships with sponsors or other organizations such as theatre groups, orchestras in their communities and what were the advantages/disadvantages.
The meeting ended with a proposal from European Book Co that AF chapters purchase supplies of current publications from them at a discount for re-sale from the local AF “bookshelf”. The issues of inventory control and this activity being viewed as commercial were explored but reached no conclusion.