Are you interested in French-speaking history and heritage in the United States? Watch the replay of the panel “Francophone Heritage in the United States: From the Past to the Future”.
This event is the result of a joint initiative of the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques, the Québec Government Office in New York, the Québec Government Office in Boston and the Québec Government Office in Chicago, as part of the Mois de la Francophonie.
The traces of the French-speaking heritage in the United States are numerous and its roots are deep. Whether by French explorers in the 17th century, who founded settlements in the current states of Maine and Vermont and who traveled down the Mississippi to its delta to take possession of the territory in the name of the King of France, or by the “great haemorrhage” between 1840 and 1930, when nearly a million French Canadians migrated to the United States in search of a better life, French has always been present over time.
How to value this history? What initiatives make it possible to preserve the Francophone heritage? How to ensure greater influence of the French language and the culture of Francophones in the United States? These questions are addressed during this panel by the speakers, Anne Conway, director of the Museum of Work & Culture (Rhode Island, USA), Lisa Kahn, director of the French Heritage Corridor Initiative and co-president of the Chicago Midwest chapter of the French Heritage Society (Illinois, USA), and Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara, head of French Heritage Language Program (New York, USA). Éric Bédard, historian and professor, TÉLUQ University (Quebec, Canada) facilitate the panel.
Replays in French or English are available.
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Historian and professor, TÉLUQ University (Quebec, Canada)
Historian and professor at TÉLUQ University, Éric Bédard is a member of the Académie des lettres du Québec and of the Commission de la toponymie du Québec. He is the author of Survivance (Boréal, 2017) and Le Québec. Tournants d’une histoire nationale (Septentrion, 2021). Since 2015, he has hosted the series Figures marquantes de notre histoire, broadcasted on the MAtv channel.
Historien et professeur à l'Université TÉLUQ, Éric Bédard est membre de l’Académie des lettres du Québec et de la Commission de la toponymie du Québec. Il est notamment l’auteur de Survivance (Boréal, 2017) et de Le Québec. Tournants d’une histoire nationale (Septentrion, 2021). Il anime depuis 2015 la série Figures marquantes de notre histoire, diffusée sur la chaîne MAtv.
Director of the Museum of Work & Culture (Rhode Island, USA)
Anne Conway is the Director of the Museum of Work & Culture, a division of the RI Historical Society. Located in Woonsocket, RI, the Museum opened its doors in 1997. She draws upon her 25 years of experience to overseeing the Museum’s operation, fundraising, special events and programs, while fostering a dynamic and engaging destination for all. Over the years, she has worked to strengthen connections and cultural exchange between New England and the Province of Quebec. She has led several projects such as the development of the New England Franco-Route, annual events such as the Rhode Island Francophone Frag Raising ceremony, Cine-Quebec and the Rhode Island Annual Poutine Indulgence and Competition. Anne also spearheaded the establishment of Museum of Work & Culture Preservation Foundation; a private non-profit organization with the mission of raising funds to insure sustainability for the future of the Museum. She also serves on the Board of the Blackstone River Theater.
Anne is a native of Quebec City. She attended Laval University and holds a B.A. from Rhode Island College.
Director of the French Heritage Corridor Initiative and co-president of the Chicago Midwest chapter of the French Heritage Society (Illinois, USA)
Lisa Kahn is a native of Scottsdale, AZ and now a proud Chicagoan and Co-Chair of French Heritage Society’s Chicago-Midwest chapter. Working professionally as an Art Historian, she also indulges her passion for the culinary arts with work in the food sector. Lisa has worked as an Assistant Curator in the Department of Decorative & Industrial Arts at the Chicago History Museum and appraiser at Fine Arts Appraisers. She cooked in a French bistro, co-authored the cookbook, The Fairway Gourmet, and helped produce the eponymous pilot series which aired on PBS in 2005-6. In recent years, Lisa has developed and gives food tasting and cultural walking tours through Chicago neighborhoods with the French expatriate group, Chicago Discovery, and provides art historical research and content marketing for Galerie Fledermaus. An avid francophile, Lisa directs the French Heritage Corridor, an initiative which comprises seven states in the Midwest (IA; IL; IN; MI; MN; MO and WI). This network, joined by waterways connecting with the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, transcends borders to recreate in the Midwest what was once la Nouvelle-France. The French Heritage Corridor is dedicated to developing synergy and raising the collective awareness about the rich French history and heritage that has, since the 17th century, melded with the vibrant multicultural landscape in what is today the Midwestern United States. Check it out: frenchheritageheritagesociety.org/fhc/
Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara
Head of French Heritage Language Program (New York, USA)
Born and raised in Francophone Senegal (West Africa), Agnès went to college in France and has been working with French language learners for more than 15 years, first at the Alliance Française of Boston and then, in an international bilingual school in New York. Her career path has always been driven by her passion for French and the Francophone cultures. She is now the program officer of the French Heritage Language Program (FHLP), a program of the cultural services of the French Embassy. By providing free language programs in public schools and community centers across the US, the FHLP is helping francophone immigrants and young Americans with francophone background maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage and leverage their linguistic skills, through educational and cultural programs. Agnes is passionate about equity, inclusion and culturally responsive-sustaining education and a fierce advocate for these sometimes « invisible » French speakers .
She is the French language representative at the National Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools and a member of the Advisory Board of CALEC (Center for the Advancement of Languages, Education and Communities) and Francophonia.
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Programming Project manager
418 646-3300, ext. 216