Le Mot du Délégué général
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Read this letter in French
It’s mid-October and the September back-to-school season , which is traditionally the busiest time for teaching Alliances in our network, is already well behind us. Overall, the first reports from this session are positive and certain cities have seen significant increases in student numbers. Dallas, for example, experienced a 25% increase in registrations over September 2007. Unfortunately, it must be noted that the session began before the financial crisis of the past two weeks and that everyone from “coast to coast” is concerned about the impact that this will have on registrations for the next session.
The new season of cultural and artistic programs kicked off on September 16 and, as of October 15, the Délégation générale has already put on 5 concerts (two of which were in Canada) and 8 lectures, 6 of which were supported by either the Federation of Alliances Françaises or the CNRS. These programs represent one-fifth of the total number of programs planned between September and December 2008.
Of special note was the French Institute-Alliance Française de New York’s great success (http://www.fiaf.org/) with the second edition of Crossing the Line (http://www.fiaf.org/events/fall2008/2008-09-crossing-the-line.shtml), its annual arts festival, which received unprecedented and especially glowing media coverage.
Answering the call of the Embassy of France, the Délégation générale has added to the various programs designed to celebrate the French Presidency of the European Union with « I Speak Therefore I Am », an education forum on European languages, and with lectures given by Hervé de Charrette, former Foreign Affairs minister, and Jacques Andréani, former Ambassador of France to the United States.
Questionnaires on 2007 assets were collected systematically and methodically over the course of the summer.
Sorting through the data collected has allowed us to create a precise picture of the Alliance Française network in the United States, which, as of October 15, 2008, is officially made up of 120 chapters. The Alliance Française is present in 45 states and Puerto Rico and, in 2007, had more than 35,000 members and an overall budget of close to $23 million.
67 Alliances, or a little over half, offered some sort of French language instruction, for a total of 27,443 students and 46,057 registrations. Among the teaching Alliances, 28 chapters (representing more than 90% of total students,) expressed an interest in AF FRAMES. This program was launched by the Délégation générale in Fall 2005 to professionalize the network and, to that end, uses the Common European Framework of Reference as the basis of its course offerings. Starting in November, the AF FRAMES project will move to the next level with the distribution of agreements that will take into account the developments that have occurred between 2005 and 2008, (including reference documents in 2006, MERLIN in 2007, an online placement test and “Passeport pour le français” in 2008.)
The Délégation générale counts on the help of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA to better assist the Alliances in the network in fulfilling the goals of all Alliance Française chapters. The Federation’s annual meeting and convention, which will take place from October 21-26 in Bonita Springs, will provide an opportunity to further cooperation and ideas on development.
In closing, an important reminder: please send a copy of your respective chapter’s by-laws, in French and in English, no later than November 15. If you are able to locate it in your archives, please also send a copy of the letter officially recognizing the association from the board of directors of the Alliance Française de Paris.
The Fondation Alliance Française has tasked itself with updating the by-laws of the Alliances Françaises. In order to better assist the worldwide network, the Fondation must be able to rely on Alliances whose affiliation is in accordance with its official texts. These documents have been officially requested by Jean-Claude Jacq, Secretary General of the Fondation Alliance Française in Paris.
I look forward to receiving these from you. In the meantime, from here in Washington, where we are enjoying a magnificent Indian summer, I wish you a lovely fall seson.