How do you identify yourself? Are you American? French? Mexican? Latino? African? Haitian? Canadian? Quebecois? As the world becomes increasingly integrated and interconnected, cultural identity has taken on new meaning and importance. The ability to understand our own culture and the cultural heritage of others is essential for our shared humanity. It is also a powerful asset in a world that is increasingly more interconnected and competitive.

On Saturday, April 12, we examined these topics at the Lycée Français de New York with leading educators, policy makers, entrepreneurs and practitioners from around the world. The conference “My Culture, Your Culture: International Education for Success in the 21st Century” explored cultural identity and diversity, and how best to prepare our students for success in the future. You can watch the video of the different panels below.

The conference was co-organized by the Lycée Français de New York, the French Embassy of the United States, and the French Heritage Language Program (Conference poster by Raymond Verdaguer).


Panel 1 – Cultural Identity: Mozaic or Melting Pot

Panelists: Grace Aneiza Ali, Founder and Editorial Director, OF NOTE; Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, City College of New York (CUNY); Gérard Bouchard, Historian, Sociologist, and Lecturer, University of Québec, Chicoutimi; Ruth Van Reken, Author and Co-Founder, “Families in Global Transition” annual conference; Patrick Savidan, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Poitiers University in France, and Founding member, L’Observatoire des Inégalités. (Inequalities Watch).
Moderator: Sean Lynch, Head of School, Lycée Français de New York

A discussion of cultural identity in a globalized society.  What does it mean to be multicultural, and what challenges does it pose for society? How do we support expatriate and immigrant children to thrive in the environment of a new country? How do we educate our children and our communities to prevent discrimination?


Panel 2 – Education K-12: Making the Most of Diversity

Panelists: Jon Harriman, Principal, International High School at Lafayette in Brooklyn, New York, International Network for Public Schools; Christine Hélot, University Professor in English, Strasbourg University, France; Angelica Infante, Assistant Commissioner, New York State Department of Education; Fabrice Jaumont, Education Attaché, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.
Moderator: Vannina Boussouf, Director of Primary, Lycée Français de New York

Panelists will discuss the challenges and best practices for teaching in a culturally and linguistically diverse school. How can schools adapt to better support multilingual, multicultural children? How do we promote the benefits of a culturally diverse education to all parents? How do we make international education an asset for school-aged children.


Panel 3 – Multiculturalism, International Education and Career Paths in the Professional World

Panelists: Valérie Chapoulaud-Floquet, President and CEO of the Americas, Louis Vuitton; Angela Jackson, Founder, Global Language Project; Teboho Moja, Professor of Higher Education, New York University; Panetha Ott, Director of Admissions, Brown University.
Moderated by Pascale Richard, Director, LFNY Cultural Center

A discussion of the advantages of an international education in higher education and the working world. What unique qualities do students educated in an international setting bring to the American college campus?  How has higher education evolved to better incorporate a culturally diverse student body? What are the job prospects for globally educated, culturally adept college graduates?


[FR] Une journée dédiée au multiculturalisme au Lycée Français de New York, par Nathalie Moga, France-Amérique, 9 avril 2014

[FR] Le multiculturalisme en question au LFNY, par Alexis Buisson, French Morning, 10 avril 2014

[FR] “Sensibiliser au plurilinguisme, c’est élargir son horizon culturel”, interview avec l’universitaire française Christine Hélot, experte du bilinguisme, par Cécile Gregoriades, Blog du LFNY, 4 avril 2014

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