Dr. Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire, the new Director of the Centre de la Francophonie de UBC, shares his vision and upcoming initiatives for the Centre.
“The Centre will keep growing its offering of events, so that our students remain interested and engaged. We want to help them develop new cultural habits—from attending plays and reading poetry in French, to witnessing the social hierarchies embedded within the language itself.”
The Centre de la Francophonie de UBC—a joint initiative of the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS), the Department of Language Teaching and Literacy (LLED), and UBC Extended Learning—promotes and supports the francophonie on campus by organizing events that highlight the different cultures that share the French language, and opportunities for students to learn and work in French. We also engage with members of the wider Francophone community in Vancouver and develop new partnerships all throughout Canada. Our initiatives are open to all French speakers on campus, and we welcome initiatives from other fields.
French is a crucial asset for most future professions, including government, the sciences, the humanities, medicine and more; it is one of our official languages and it is spoken by more than 10 million Canadians! My principal goal as the new Director of the Centre de la Francophonie is to help students live a rich cultural life in French on campus. Francophones and Francophiles should be able to experiment with different art forms, discover new fields of knowledge, and share their passion with friends, inside and outside of the classroom. Students should also be invited to explore a variety of cultures from all over the Francophone world.
For this project to succeed, the Centre will keep growing its offering of events, so that our students remain interested and engaged. We want to help them develop new cultural habits—from attending plays and reading poetry in French, to witnessing the social hierarchies embedded within the language itself.
The Centre will bring back its most successful series from previous years, including the Book Club, theater outings at La Seizième (Vancouver’s francophone theater), conferences on linguistics and on teaching French, and film screenings.
We also plan to launch new projects. The first will be a weekly French conversation table led by graduate students, so that everyone can improve their speaking skills in a low-stress environment (with pastries!).
I am also glad to announce that the Centre has received a federal grant to invite professional actors on campus to show our students how a written play becomes an embodied performance. One of these actors is also an experienced instructor who will offer a week-long workshop to students interested in acting in French.
I would like our students and colleagues to know that we depend on them for new initiatives. We are always curious to know what activities they want to engage with or are willing to offer.
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