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A two-day dive into research on the Francophonie in British Columbia
The Symposium on the Francophonie in British Columbia took place on October 4 and 5 at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus. The event, organized as part of the 15th anniversary of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA), featured 13 speakers, including experts on the Francophonie in B.C., professors from eight Canadian universities, as well as two privileged observers of the evolution of French-language research on the province.
Over the course of two days, six discussion panels addressed themes such as: B.C.’s new curriculum; Francophone spaces; identities, plurality and Francophone cultures in B.C.; history and language rights; and French learning and usage. One of the panels focused on the creation of the OFFA, telling the story of the key people who contributed to developing French-language post-secondary education in B.C. and more specifically at SFU.
"We saw the 15th anniversary as an opportunity to gather experts from Canada’s various Francophone and university communities and to paint a multifaceted picture of the state of French in B.C.," said Gino LeBlanc, Director of the OFFA.
The symposium's organizing committee also strove to produce and present research that will be useful to the community. "It was important for us to share the research takeaways with a range of community stakeholders who would use them to develop concrete solutions to the challenges they face," said Rémi Léger, a professor in the Department of Political Science at SFU and a member of the organizing committee.
Diane Dagenais, a professor in SFU’s Faculty of Education, was one of the symposium’s privileged observers of the evolution of French-language research in British Columbia. She thanked the OFFA for showcasing research, “which is essential to our ability to understand and reflect on the specific realities of our province”.
The results of the research and the discussions that took place during the symposium will be compiled in a volume to be published in 2020 by Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Video clips presenting several speakers’ research areas will also be available shortly on the website of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs: www.sfu.ca/baff-offa
Since 2004, the OFFA has been coordinating, promoting and supporting the development of French-language programs and courses at SFU. As part of its mandate, it also organizes scientific and cultural activities in the community in order to help foster a plural and inclusive Francophonie.
Members of the organizing committee for the Symposium on the Francophonie in British Columbia:
Geneviève Brisson, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, SFU
Christian Guilbault, Associate Professor, Department of French, SFU
Gino LeBlanc, Director, Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs, SFU
Rémi Léger, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, SFU