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La Francophonie, a Celebration of Diversity at AUK

The French Language unit at AUK hosted "La Francophone" exhibition and competition to celebrate the diversity of the French language and culture. Under the supervision of Mr. Joseph Fiannaca, senior instructor of French language at AUK, students were given the opportunity to put together this event, which was juried and graded as a substitute for their final course examination.

Over the course of one month, students worked on preparing a comprehensive exhibition to demonstrate the treasures of the French language and culture around the world, and show that the French language is not the sole property of France. According to Fiannaca, "It is important to pay tribute to the countries who contribute to the rayonnement de la langue française, and to the prestige of the French language."

In preparation for the exhibition, each French Level 1 student was asked to select a French speaking country, among the members of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), and prepare a comprehensive overview of that country. The selected countries included Switzerland, Egypt, Canada, Morocco, Lebanon and more. The project included the creation of magazines with articles on famous figures and touristic places in the selected countries, an interview with a French speaker from each country, and an oral presentation about each country, all presented in French. In addition, students created short movies, displayed the countries' costumes, and brought food samples.

French Level 2 students created board games using structures that they learned during the semester. The games were composed of sets of questions related to French vocabulary, grammar, culture, and general information on the IOF. The aim was to have the students write at least 50 questions and their answers, and to allow participants to practice French while playing.

Fiannaca stressed the importance of incorporating such task-based projects into coursework since they give students "a clear goal on what needs to be achieved to succeed in the class while working on the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and developing awareness towards diverse cultures." He also added that students appreciate those opportunities that "allow them to be creative and artistic by planning a project instead of doing a traditional final exam."

The exhibition was an engaging educational and entertainment experience, not only for students, but also for visitors. So while visiting the exhibition, all the senses were engaged "you could see French mimes entertaining guests, drink mint tea in a Moroccan tent, try delicious Greek yogurt or Swiss chocolate fondue, listen to music and of course practice French!" said Fiannaca.

One of the highlights of the event was a school visit by the children of le Lycée Français de Koweït (the French School of Kuwait). Big smiles were drawn on their faces as they played the board games and interacted with the university students.

The exhibition was juried by a panel of judges, including Mr. Julian Clech, the Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in Kuwait, in addition to selected French-speaking guests. The judges selected the group with the best creative booth and best demonstration of French language skills.

The International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its members share more than just a common language. They also share the humanist values promoted by the French language. The French language and its humanist values represent the two cornerstones on which the International Organization of La Francophonie is based. The IOF was created in 1970. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 75 member states and governments (56 members and 19 observers), which together represent over one-third of the United Nations' member states and account for a population of over 890 million people, including 220 million French speakers. Qatar was recently awarded the privilege to be an observing member of the OIF.

Mr. Julian Clech, the Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in Kuwait

Student Group Photos from the event

Student Group Photos from the event

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 9th June 2013

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2013

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