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U of O to host intensive seven-day course on francophone studies

Photo courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, who currently serves as chancellor of the University of Ottawa, has been named honorary chair of the summer university on francophone studies, hosted by the U of O.

L’université d’été sur la francophone des Amériques, which is open to graduate students, professionals, and journalists, will bring participants together in the summer of 2015 for seven days of intensive study on francophone issues.  The program aims to improve the academic capabilities of participants and to assemble francophones from all over North and South America.

“The University of Ottawa’s mission has always been to encourage French-language research and higher education and highlight the richness of Canada’s Francophone communities, but also to spread a love of French language and culture across Canada,” Jean said in an official statement. “Who better than our university, situated right in the heart of the nation’s capital, to take a fresh look at Francophones in the Americas?”

The event is organized by the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques. The centre was founded in 2001 by Benoît Pelletier, mandated by then Québec premier Jean Charest in 2003 when Pelletier was minister of intergovernmental affairs, and was inaugurated in 2008. Pelletier is also a professor of civil law at the U of O.

He said the goals of the centre are to reinforce Francophone culture in the Americas and to ensure that the “French language coincides with modernity.”

Pelletier said the university helps “remind everyone that the University of Ottawa is a bilingual university” and that the French language is an “essential component” to the U of O. He said the summer university is one of many of the centre’s events, and that it was “a great decision” to name Michaëlle Jean honourary chair.

“She has a very high-profile career and a high-profile personality, so she will enhance the credibility of the university,” he said.

U of O president Allan Rock said the selection of the university as host of the summer program is an indicator that it is recognized for its bilingualism, which is one of the four pillars of his Vision 2020.

“We’re happy that the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques selected us, thus recognizing our mission to strengthen Francophone communities, share knowledge in French, and educate tomorrow’s Francophone elite,” said Rock. “Our selection confirms once again our key role among Francophones nationally and across the Americas.”