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Concours d'histoires plurilingues

A ne pas manquer - Don't miss it!
1er concours de l'histoire plurilingue pour les enfants entre 10 et 12 ans. Multilingual Story contest for children aged 10-12.
Découvrez la vidéo de la marraine du concours Aurely Guetz. Watch the video announcement from Aurely Guetz, the 2022 contest's patron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvAzOvfN8bs
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When it comes to finding French films or TV shows for kids to watch, the number of programs available on streaming platforms in the US can be overwhelming. That's why, each month, CinéSchool program manager and all-around film expert Nathalie Charles puts together a list of the top French content for kids and teens that is available online. While some films or series are pure entertainment, others are designed to share useful educational concepts, and more still are great for the whole family to enjoy! So, what's on this month?
Two persons in a store

© The Melies Mystery (HBO Max)

The Méliès Mystery (Le Mystère Méliès)
Directed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange
2021, 58 min., Rated TV-PG / Recommended for ages 11+

A documentary detailing the process of restoring 270 of the 520 lost films of pioneering director Georges Méliès. Hailed as the inventor of special effects, he shot more than 500 amazing films between 1896 and 1913. By 1923, he was bankrupt and burned his enrapturing works... Thanks to international archives and the negatives, discover his movies in their original beauty. 

Available on HBO Max.

Animated Dinosaurs

© Gigantosaurus (Cyber Group Studios)

Animated TV series / Recommended for ages 5+

Four young dinosaurs explore a prehistoric world of adventure, where the most exciting mystery of all is Gigantosaurus, the biggest and fiercest dinosaur anyone has ever seen!

Available on Disney+ | Netflix (#tip: make sure to click on "Subtitles & Audio" and select audio in French!)

Singing bird

© Maestro (Collectif Illogic)

By collectrif Illogic, 2019, 2min., France / Recommended for ages 3+

Maestro is a short film that features an animal orchestra interpreting a nocturnal opera.

Available on Vimeo
You can find a video of how they made the film here.

Two children on a horse in the mountains

© On the Way to School

On the Way to School (Sur le chemin de l’école)
Directed by Pascal Plisson, 2015, 1h17, PG / recommended for ages 8+

The story of four students from different parts of the world who travel long distances to attend school.

Available on Hoopla | Kanopy | SundanceNow | Amazon Video | YouTube | Google Play | Vudu | iTunes | Microsoft


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France starring Léa Seydoux Opens December 10

Kino Lorber is proud to announce the release of FRANCE, a satirical drama set in contemporary Paris, Léa Seydoux stars as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, homelife, and psychological stability are turned upside down after she carelessly drives into a young delivery man on a busy street. This unexpected eruption of reality triggers a series of self-reckonings as well as a strange romance that proves impossible to shake. As France attempts to slow down and retreat into a simpler, anonymous life, her fame continues to pursue her. Starting out as a tragicomic satire of the news media, writer-director Bruno Dumont’s provocative new film spirals out into something darker as it examines the difficulty of maintaining one’s sense of self in a corrosive culture. 
FRANCE will open in New York (Film at Lincoln Center) and Los Angeles (Nuart) on Friday, December 10th followed by a national rollout.

One of the most singular and admired French writer-directors of the last two decades, Bruno Dumont’s award-winning body of work includes The Life of Jesus (winner of the Caméra d’Or Special Mention at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival), Humanity (winner of Cannes’ Grand Prix and Acting Awards for its two non-professional leads); the road movie Twentynine Palms, shot in Joshua Tree National Park desert (2003 Venice Film Festival); Dumont won his second Cannes Grand Prix for Flanders, followed by Hadewijch and Outside Satan, two films dealing with religion and mysticism. He cast Juliette Binoche in the biopic Camille Claudel 1915 and the comedy Slack Bay, named by Cahiers du Cinéma one of the best 10 films of 2016. Dumont’s highly popular comic miniseries Lil’ Quinquin were followed by the musical Jeannette: The Chilhood of Joan of Arc (2017 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight) and Joan of Arc (winner of Special Mention at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard). FRANCE is his 11th film.

One of 2021’s Best Films - Cahiers du Cinéma
“Dumont delivers wild twists at a hectic pace, creating a kaleidoscopic frenzy of unreality and turning the daily life of a celebrity into a hallucinatory, media-saturated distortion.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Bruno Dumont offers Léa Seydoux her most resplendent role to date, that of a woman destroyed by the media complex in which she is trapped." – Le Monde
"Bruno Dumont examines a France that has been hijacked by social media and 24/7 news. A violent satire, shot through with lightning bolts of melodrama, interpreted by Lea Seydoux gone full kamikaze." –  Premiere Magazine
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When it comes to finding or choosing French films or TV shows for kids to watch, the number of programs available on American streaming platforms can be overwhelming. That's why each month, we gather a list of great French content for kids and teens that are available to watch online. While some films or series are pure entertainment, others are designed to share useful educational concepts, and more still may be great for the whole family to enjoy! So, what's on this month?
People walking on a pathway

© Adopt a Daddy - Alain Guizard

To celebrate the Holidays, IFcinéma à la carte offers two French movies to watch with the whole family. They are available online and for free until December 31! 

Adopt a Daddy (Damien veut changer le monde) by Xavier De Choudens, 2018, 1h39
Damien and his sister Melanie lived a happy childhood, yet shaken by the constant battles led by their militant parents. After the sudden death of their mother, the rebellious spark of the family went off. 20 years later, Damien is an educator in primary school. When one paperless kid is about to be expelled out of the country with his mother, he decides to tell the authorities he is the father. Soon he convinces his sister, now a fierce delusioned lawyer, and his best friend Rudy to join the fight. Together, they will do anything to help kids from being sent back, even if it means adopting many more...

My Family and the Wolf (Ma famille et le loup) by Adria Garcia, 2018, 1h25
Everybody is gathered to celebrate Granny Sara’s 80th birthday at the seaside family house. It’s a beautiful summer for 9 years old Hugo. However this year, Granny Sara has fallen ill. One night, she brings together the family to tell the story of the Wolf. Someday the animal will come and take her away forever. Will Hugo manage to protect his grandma from the mysterious beast ?


Santa Claus is celebrating Nicholas' birthday

© Santa's Apprentice

Santa's Apprentice (L'apprenti Père Noël)
By Luc Vinciguerra, 2015, 1h11, Australia-France, PG / Recommended for ages 6+

Santa doesn't want to retire, but rules are rules and he must train someone to replace him. The lucky winner, to be chosen from among millions of children, must be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart.

Available on Hoopla | Amazon Video | YouTube | GooglePlay | AppleTV | Vudu | Microsoft | Redbox


Bûche de noël - Minuscule

© Bûche de noël - Minuscule

Minuscule - The Yule Log (Bûche de noël)
Animated TV series (Season 2), 2012, 5 min., Recommended for ages 3+

It's Christmas time and the black ants are on the lookout for some festive cheer. When humans at a party are distracted, the ants use this opportunity to pinch a yummy yule log. Alas there is another obstacle they need to pass in order to fully succeed in this daring heist.

Available on Vimeo


Santa Claus between other Santas

© Santa & Cie

Christmas & Co (Santa & Cie)
By Alain Chabat, 2017, 1h39, France-Belgium, PG / Recommended for ages 10+

Santa's 92,000 elves all fall ill and collapse... Simultaneously on Christmas Eve! Who will make the toys for all the kids all around the world? He has no choice! Santa and his reindeer must go to Earth in search of a cure. But once he gets there, Mr. Claus will need some help to save the magic of Christmas...

Available on Hoopla | Vudu | Amazon Video | YouTube | GooglePlay | AppleTV


Chicken are outside decorating their Christmas tree.

© The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales ©Gkids

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (Le grand méchant renard et autres contes...)
By Benjamin Renner & Patrick Imbert, 2017, 1h19, France-Belgium, PG / Recommended for ages 5+

The countryside isn't always as calm and peaceful as it's made out to be, and the animals on this farm are particularly agitated: a fox who mothers a family of chicks, a rabbit who plays the stork, and a duck who wants to be Santa Claus.

Available on DirecTV | AppleTV | Microsoft | Vudu | GooglePlay | YouTube | Amazon | Hoopla


Miraculous, Cat Noir and Santa in Paris

© Miraculous

A Christmas Special - Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (Pire Noël - Miraculous : Les aventures de Ladybug et de Chat Noir)
Animated TV Series, 2016, 21 min. / Recommended for ages 7+

Parisian teen Marinette transforms herself into superhero Ladybug to find her lonely secret crush Adrien when he runs away from home at Christmas.

Available on Netflix (#tip: make sure to click on "Audio & Subtitles" and select audio in French!)


A horse is cooking a Christmas cake

© A Town Called Panic © Autour de Minuit / Shout! Factory

A Town Called Panic: The Christmas Log (Panique au village : La bûche de Noël)
By Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar, 2013, 26 min., Belgium-France / Recommended for ages 10+

The year’s end celebrations are coming. Christmas : the tree, the dinner, the presents. Indian and Cowboy are expecting their presents eagerly. Overexcited by the organisation of the celebration, they fight and destroy the Yule log on which Horse was putting the last touch. Horse is livid and cancels the gifts from Santa Claus. How will they win back the favours of Horse and The Old Bearded Man? How will they retrieve their gifts ? For Indian and Cowboy begins a long, very long Christmas Eve.

Available on Amazon Video | Vudu | GooglePlay | YouTube
Education resources are available in French: download it here (French level: B2).


Young girl adding a christmas hat to a dog

© Noël Noël by Nicola Lemay

Noël Noël
By Nicola Lemay, 2003, 22 min., Canada / Recommended for ages 6+

Noel Noel, a misguided billionaire, is in love with Beatrice, a bespectacled fairy. But thanks to little Zoey, her dog Snooze and a blue-eyed reindeer, his eyes are finally opened. Enlivened by a humorous and rhymed narration spoken by Leslie Nielsen, Noel Noël is an animated fantasy about Christmas reminding us that happiness comes when the heart is allowed to speak.

Available on ONF website (French version) | Amazon Video (English version)


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Cohen Media Group is proud to announce the Friday, October 29th release of the dark  thriller ONLY THE ANIMALS, directed and written by French director Dominik Moll (With a Friend like Harry), starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Denis Ménochet and Laure Calamy in New York (Quad Cinema) and Los Angeles (Nuart), followed by additional cities.
Following the disappearance of the glamorous and secretive Evelyne Ducat (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) during a blizzard in the highlands of southern France, the lives of five people inextricably linked to Evelyne are brought together to devastating effect as the local police investigate the case.
Divided into five chapters, writer-director Dominik Moll’s murder mystery features a sophisticated multi-pronged narrative structure that keeps viewers on the edge. Switching viewpoints, it gradually reveals the secret connections between a lonely farmer, an unfaithful husband and wife, a lovelorn waitress and an African internet scam artist, exposing a world of greed, lust, betrayal, and loneliness, from isolated French mountain villages to the bustling streets of Abidjan.
After growing up in Germany and France, Dominik Moll studied film at City College in New York and the French National Film School IDHEC (now called FEMIS).  A regular of the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice Film Festivals, he is best known for his dark hit comedy With a Friend Like Harry, winner of four Césars including Best Director, and the psychological thriller Lemming starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.
"Like ‘Fargo' remixed with ‘Babel' by way of Atom Egoyan... starts off as an intimate rural mystery and blossoms into a global affair where several strangers wind up connected in unexpected ways.” —  Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
"Moll has given us this audacious, witty, and absorbing mystery thriller, a tale of adultery, and amour fou, with a gamey touch of the macabre.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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9652194858?profile=RESIZE_710xDans ce nouvel épisode de Révolution bilingue, nous partons à la rencontre d’Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara, une Franco-Sénégalaise qui coordonne un programme scolaire unique en son genre, le French Heritage Language Program. Proposé dans plusieurs écoles publiques et centres communautaires de New-York, du Maine et de Floride, ce programme est destiné à des enfants francophones venus d’Afrique et d’Haïti, récemment arrivés aux Etats-Unis. Pour ces jeunes, la langue française est un atout de réussite scolaire et d’intégration.

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For the second year in a row, IFcinéma à la carte is partnering with AFCA for the "Fête du cinéma d’animation."

Throughout the month of October, discover a selection of four French short films (no dialogue):

- La Grande Migration
- In a Cage
- The Tiny Fox
- The Tiger Without Stripes

LINK: https://ifcinema.institutfrancais.com/en/alacarte

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We are thrilled to announce the opening of CALEC France as well as our new office in Paris, conveniently located on the left bank near Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and several key actors of the publishing industry, as well as major universities.

Our goals in France are to build local partnerships to better contribute to France’s debate on dual-language education and linguistic diversity; expand our European and African network of influencers, authors, and supporters; open a gateway to Europe for our initiatives; and publish more books via a partnership with Lightning Source France and Hachette Livre Distribution.

CALEC-France.jpg?resize=622%2C494&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/calec.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/CALEC-France.jpg?resize=300%2C238&ssl=1 300w" alt="" width="622" height="494" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Our facilities on 198 Avenue de France in the 13th arrondissement include access to a 75-seat auditorium and various meeting rooms for our book events, talks, and symposiums.


CALEC is a nonprofit organization based in New York and Paris. Our mission is in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to establish language as a critical life skill, through developing & implementing dual-language education programs, to promote diversity, empowering multilingual families while fostering cross-cultural understanding, to reduce inequality, and helping to provide quality education. Our programs seek to protect world cultural heritage and support teachers, authors, and families by providing the knowledge and resources to create vibrant multilingual communities. Support us here.

Visit calec.fr, our website in French, or contact us via contact@calec.fr

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L’invité de ce 23ème épisode de Révolution Bilingue est un homme qui compte dans l’éducation bilingue. Bernard Manuel est président de l’École active bilingue Jeannine Manuel, aujourd’hui située sur trois campus à Paris, Lille et Londres et considérée comme le meilleur lycée de France depuis 8 années consécutives, avec un réseau d’anciens élèves influent qui compte des personnalités comme Antony Blinken, secrétaire d’État des États-Unis.

Lui-même bilingue et l’un des premiers élèves de l’école fondée par sa mère, Bernard Manuel a développé une expertise très écoutée de l’éducation bilingue en France et à l’étranger.


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Films on the Green is back!

Films on the Green is returning this summer with a special hybrid edition and an exciting lineup of international cinema. 

The festival’s 13th edition, which will be screened in parks––and online for the first time!—is centered on the theme of “Music and Cinema.” Featuring tunes by legendary musicians from Daft Punk to Miles Davis, this year’s film lineup and the music it incorporates can each stand alone. From July 9 to 30, Films on the Green is bringing a world music tour to the New York City area with our screenings in Manhattan parks and the French Embassy’s virtual film screening platform!



Free and open to the public. All films are shown with English subtitles. Screenings begin at 8:30PM.
*In-person screenings will abide by all state and local regulations on large-scale outdoor events in regards to COVID-19 restrictions.


Friday July 9 | Central Park & Online
La Boum by Claude Pinoteau

Music by Vladimir Cosma
Vic is in love with one of her classmates, and to make her romantic daydreams a reality, she needs to make it to a house party, aka a "boum." But that means getting permission from her parents first...



Monday, July 12 | Online
Elevator to the Gallows by Louis Malle

Music by Miles Davis
Femme fatale Florence Carala and her lover Julien plan to murder her wealthy husband, and make it look like a suicide. But things don't go as planned... Louis Malle’s feature debut with a legendary jazz score by Miles Davis!



Friday July 16 | Washington Square Park & Online
Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem by Leiji Matsumoto

Music by Daft Punk
An unscrupulous music executive and his lackey kidnap a blue-skinned alien techno band, rob them of their identities, pass them off as human, and foist them on an unsuspecting public on Earth. Daft Punk’s music meets Leiji Matsumoto’s designs!



Monday July 19 | Online
Chavela by Catherine Gund & Daresha Kyi

Music performed by Chavela Vargas
Chavela is a captivating look at the unconventional life of Chavela Vargas, whose passionate renditions of Mexican popular music and triumphant return to the stage late in life brought her international fame!



Wednesday July 21 | Online
Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai by Christopher Kirkley

Music by Mdou Moctar
The first ever Tuareg-language fictional film based on the legendary rock-u-drama “Purple Rain,” with stunning musical performances from real-life musician Mdou Moctar.



Friday July 23 | Seward Park & Online
Satin Rouge by Raja Amari

Music by Nawfel El Manaa
While investigating a suspected affair between her headstrong teenaged daughter and a cabaret musician, young widow Lilia becomes drawn to the lively and hidden nightlife of sensuous belly dancers. An unlikely journey of self-discovery.



Monday July 26 | Online
Concert: Les Amazones d'Afrique

Lineup: Amnaté Danté, Babani Koné, Doctor L, Joseph Palmer, Kandia Kouyaté, Llorenç Barcelo Rives, Mamadou Diakité, Mamani Keita, Maria Doumbia, Maria Koné, Rokia Koné
Les Amazones d’Afrique is a group that brings Malian women together around issues such as equality and freedom. With their powerful voices steeped in history and their instruments, they spread messages through music.



Wednesday July 28 | Online
Vengo by Tony Gatlif

Music by Tomatito, Sheikh Ahmad Al Tuni, La Caita, Gritos de Guerra, Remedios Silva Pisa, La Paquera de Jerez
After his brother murders a member of a rival gypsy clan and goes into hiding, Caco becomes the figurehead of his “family,” and tensions mount between the two clans... A majestic ode to the artistry of flamenco!



Friday July 30 | Riverside Park & Online
Black Orpheus by Marcel Camus

Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim & Luiz Bonfá
Young lovers Orfeu and Eurydice run through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, on the run from a hitman dressed like Death and Orfeu's vengeful fiancée Mira.



The 13th edition of FILMS ON THE GREEN is a free hybrid French film festival, with screenings in New York City parks and online, and produced by the French EmbassyNYC Parks and FACE Foundation.


FESTIVAL FRIENDS: agnès b.Maman NYC, The Mexican Cultural Institute in New YorkQwest TV, The Washington Square Park Conservancy, Nora Coblence and Frederic C. Weiss.

PARTNERS: Cinema Tropical, the African Film Festival,  Instituto Cervantes, Brasil SummerFest, and Summer on the Hudson.

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Smith Street Arts et Lettres est une école franco-américaine K-8 indépendante basée à Brooklyn, qui ouvrira ses portes en septembre 2021.
Nous accueillerons l’an prochain des élèves de Grande Section de Maternelle (K), CP (1st grade) et CE1 (2nd grade).
Programme bilingue francais/anglais
Notre curriculum bilingue intègre les approches pédagogiques de Maria Montessori, Reggio-Emilia et la Developmental-Interaction Approach (une pédagogie développée par Bank Street College of Education). De la maternelle au CE1, 75% de l'enseignement sera en français, 25% en anglais, et les élèves du collège (6th-8th grade) apprendront dans un environnement bilingue 50:50, avec un temps d'enseignement équivalent donné aux deux langues.
Apprentissage expérientiel
Les enfants seront les acteurs de leur propre apprentissage et notre programme sera hautement individualisé en fonction des besoins de chacun.

L’art au centre de l’apprentissage
L'expression créative fait partie intégrante de notre programme et nous travaillerons en étroite collaboration avec des artistes et intervenants extérieurs (musique, beaux-arts, théâtre, cinéma et danse).

Visitez notre site https://www.smithstreetartsetlettres.org

      E      bonjour@smithstreetartsetlettres.org
      T       (718) 852-8257

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We are pleased to announce the launch of "Les Chansons de La Petite Ecole"!
La Petite Ecole is a French immersion boutique preschool in NYC with locations in Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side. Our arts-curated program prepares children to become fully bilingual and bicultural, ready to read and write in French by Kindergarten.

Starting in 2013, Joséphine Ancelle began teaching music at La Petite Ecole. Soon thereafter, Virgil de Voldère, the school's director, asked Joséphine to write songs for the school's routine... Songs to say "Hello", "Goodbye" and everything else that happens at school during the day...
Reminiscent of the lighthearted 60s’ French pop with the candor of Joséphine Ancelle’s angelic voice, the songs prompt children, parents, and educators with simple words and catchy melodies to share childhood’s surprises with a smile.
The songs are now available in French and in English on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and most other streaming services.
Enjoy and share!
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Vous êtes de langue maternelle française, vous aimez travailler auprès d’enfants et vous êtes légalement autorisés à travailler aux États-Unis ? 


Dans le cadre de son « Enrichment program » en français, EFNY recherche pour la rentrée 2021 :



Qualités requises :

- avoir une excellente maîtrise du français à l’oral comme à l’écrit

- avoir un diplôme d’enseignement et/ou l’expérience de l’enseignement en milieu bilingue

- être capable de mettre en œuvre une pédagogie différenciée et ludique

Missions :

- enseigner le français à des enfants francophones et/ou anglophones (de 4 à 14 ans)

- transmettre la culture française/francophone par le biais de projets et de méthodes interactives


Travail à temps partiel, les après-midi 

Durée : de mi-septembre 2021 à fin juin 2022

Rémunération selon expérience

Merci d’envoyer CV et lettre de motivation à efnycoordinationny@gmail.com


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Languages of New York City

8802162295?profile=RESIZE_930x French is an important language of New York City, and it's not the only one. With speakers of approximately 10 percent of the world’s 6000-7000 languages, the New York metropolitan area is the most linguistically diverse urban center in the world, probably in the history of the world. From a thriving Algonquian language in pre-contact times, Lenape today is down to its last native speakers, but there are efforts to revitalize it, despite the sea of surrounding non-Indigenous languages with their own complex histories. Beginning in the colonial period, local languages were overrun by European languages, and by the early 20th century, New York had become a quintessential product of large-scale pan-European immigration.

Now, in the 21st century, New York City is hyperdiverse, with arrivals from areas of deep linguistic diversity across the globe, from the Himalaya to West Africa to the Indigenous zones of Mexico and Central America. Among its residents the city can count speakers of languages found virtually nowhere else, but the pressure to switch to rising world languages — like English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and Hindi — is intense.

Since 2010, the Endangered Language Alliance, motivated by worldwide language endangerment, has worked with speakers of over 100 distinct endangered and minority languages, including Lenape, an Indigenous language whose traditional territories include what is now New York City.

This mapincludes nearly 700 languages and dialects confirmed to nearly 1200 significant sites, including neighborhoods, community institutions, restaurants, and other locations where there is, or was, at least one speaker. In terms of geographic diversity, approximately 38% of the languages shown are from Asia, 24% from Africa, 19% from Europe, 16% from the Americas, and the rest from Oceania and the Pacific.

This map comes out of the project Mapping Linguistic Diversity in a Globalizing World through Open Source Digital Tools, a new collaborative partnership between the University of British Columbia and the Endangered Language Alliance. Core support comes from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Wall Solutions Initiative.

You can visit this remarkable resource here:https://languagemap.nyc

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[Upcoming Book Talk] Imagine an America where kids have even more chance for success, thanks to their experiences in dual language and community-based heritage language schools. Where businesses gain an edge globally because they can literally speak their customers’ language. Where lifelong learners can become more than tourists in other countries and finely hone their brainpower. More than just imagining such a country, Steve Leveen has discovered that this is the America we are becoming. Join us on May 6 for a lively discussion with Steve Leveen and Fabrice Jaumont.
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February 21 was International Mother Language Day, the month of February is also Black History Month in the US and March is the month of the Francophonie. Most of our students are at the center of all of these celebrations: they are multilingual, they are black and they are the “Francophonie”, this truly diverse plurilingual and pluricultural space where French cohabits with other languages.

 Every year, more and more people around the world join these celebrations and while they are symbolic, they bring into focus the intersection of race, language and culture. I also hope they reflect and prelude a deep and positive shift from a world where there are dominant cultures and marginalized ones, a world where differences are considered a threat, a world in which schooling equals remediation and assimilation, to a world where all cultures are valued equally, a world where differences are assets, a world in which schools acknowledge, value and leverage the wealth of knowledge that every student bring into the classroom.

This shift is needed and necessary especially in schools where we don’t only teach subjects, we also shape and mold the mind of future generations. Around the world today, but especially in big cities, classrooms are global, diverse, multiethnic and multilingual. The most obvious case is New York City, where 43% of the students in the public schools speak another language than English [1].

Our students, especially the ones who recently arrived in this country, are not only learning a new language but they are also navigating new cultural norms but also a new identity, in a socio-economic context which racialize them as Black. Like me, when they left their native country, there were sons and daughters, from a family and a specific village, from an ethnic group with a common language, traditions and values that they carry proudly with them, and all of that defined who they are.

On their way to the “American dream”, these students find themselves in monolingual classrooms where, all of a sudden, their complex and rich identities are too often reduced to being “Black “and “English Learners”.  Unfortunately, none of the boxes they check on the many forms (US entry, schools and colleges, etc..) they must fill out, give them the space to express what they really are: multilingual, from a culture, from countries with a rich history and rich traditions.

Equity, inclusion, access to a high quality education for all, a “Culturally Responsive Education[2]”  seem to be the buzz words these days. The ambition is to see and teach the students in front of us, to meet them where they are, to affirm them, to see their diversity as an asset and not a deficit. In order to meet those goals, we must take our students out of the “black” and “English learners” boxes and allow them to use French as an asset through heritage programs or even better, bilingual programs.

 The French language does not belong to France anymore but to the 300 million people who speak it around the world,  (the majority of them soon to be in Africa[3]); among them, our students who form, within their schools, a community, in ways that would not be possible if they were all speaking in their maternal languages. It is often, in French, that our students, from Mali, Senegal, Togo or Ivory Coast find each other and connect in their American schools.

They can access the growing and diverse artistic and literary body of work created, not only by french people but also by French speaking people around the world. Many cultures and languages live within that space called "Francophonie" and this true diversity allows the cohabitation of different views of the world.

Through the French language, students also break racial and socio-economic barriers every day when they meet in bilingual classrooms; when students from a private school in Brittany (France) visit our students in the Bronx and discover their common humanity by sharing and comparing their lives; when our students connect and exchange with students from Lafayette College, getting access to a world their circumstances put out of reach and in return, giving them access to their world while breaking stereotypes.

The benefits of a bilingual education and the maintenance of heritage languages have been proven by researchers and scientists around the world but also by data. If we stop seeing French as the language of the colonizer, the language reserved to a certain elite or the language of France; if we, instead, start seeing it as the language that will propel these students in a globalized future where more than 470 million people will speak it too[4] ( 70% of them will be under 29), a future in which monolingualism means illiteracy, then, giving these students the education they deserve means giving them a bilingual education.

Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara

Program Officer of the French Heritage Language Program


[1] 2018-2019 English Language Learners Demographic Report (NYC Department of Education): https://infohub.nyced.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/ell-demographic-report.pdf

[2] Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework http://www.nysed.gov/crs/framework

[3] OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie): https://www.francophonie.org/node/305

[4] ODSEF (Observatoire Démocratique et Statistique de l’Espace Francophone): https://www.odsef.fss.ulaval.ca/

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