There is nothing more enriching than an exchange of perspectives with educators from all over the world, particularly when it is on the topic of bilingual education and the teaching of languages. On July 10, I was invited to present my book, La Révolution bilingue, to a group of educators from 20 countries during Francophonia’s gala event in Nice, France. The teachers, who specialize in the teaching of French in their respective countries, were receiving intensive professional development during the week. All showed great interest for multilingualism and the dual-language model that has taken the United States by storm.
Universités de Francophonia, or Francophonia, Le pays de la langue française, is a training center for teachers of French located in the beautiful city of Nice on Côte d’Azur. Francophonia welcomes over 1,000 trainees during the summer from over 70 countries. Teachers receive daily professional development led by experts from all over the world on the didactic of French, creativity in the classroom, communication, grammar, and Francophone literature. Additionally, cultural events and tours are offered each day to give trainees an opportunity to network, share knowledge, and make friends.
As a member of the advisory committee, I was invited by the committee’s president Roger Pilhion, and Yann Librati, Francophonia’s founding director, to both visit the center and deliver a keynote during the center’s gala event at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen. Teachers from 20 countries attended the event and listened to my presentation on the rise of dual-language programs in the United States. I was able to share my views and discuss with teachers from several countries, including Serbia, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Australia, Sweden, France, and the United States. Bilingual education is a heated topic in many countries with some countries being more advanced than others as far as investing in dual-language programming is concerned or simply being opened to multilingualism. There is much to be done in changing the way bilingual education is perceived and on the potential of parents in creating change and fostering dual-language education. Clearly, these international discussions are deeply needed and I will continue to accept invitations that will help advance these topics.