Last Thursday, Consul General Valéry Freland decorated 3 wonderful women from New England!

These three women work at three different universities around Boston. All of them were awarded the French Academic Palms for their extraordinary contribution to the promotion of French language and French culture.

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On Thursday May 3rd, 2018, at the Residence of the Consul General of France in Boston, Anne-Christine Rice, Senior Lecturer at Tufts University, Carole Salmon, Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts Lowel and Leilani Olson, Associate Director of University Relations at Boston University, were bestowed upon the decoration of Knight of the French Academic Palms.

A delegation from the City of Strasbourg, led by Deputy Mayor Olivier Bitz, attended the ceremony.
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Enjoy some of the pictures of the evening!

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Consul General Valéry Freland gave the following speech:

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Monsieur l’Adjoint au Maire de Strasbourg, Cher Olivier Bitz,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Doyens et Professeurs,
Chère Anne-Christine Rice, Chère Carole Salmon, Chère Leilani Olson,
Mesdames et Messieurs, Chers amis,

Je suis tout d’abord très heureux d’accueillir ce soir à la Résidence de France à Boston une délégation de la ville de Strasbourg, conduite par M. Olivier Bitz, adjoint au maire. Vous êtes ici pour échanger avec la ville Boston, avec laquelle Strasbourg est jumelée depuis plus de 50 ans, sur les questions d’intégration et de lutte contre les violences et les fanatismes. En juin prochain, c’est Roland Ries lui-même, maire de Strasbourg, qui sera à nouveau à Boston, à l’occasion de la grande convention internationale de la Biothèque et du Sommet des Villes sur le changement climatique organisé par le Maire Marty Walsh. Bienvenus, nous sommes très heureux de ce magnifique partenariat avec deux villes qui nous sont chères.

Mais nous sommes également réunis ce soir pour honorer trois personnalités engagées en faveur du rayonnement de la langue et de la culture françaises en Nouvelle Angleterre : Anne-Christine Rice, Professeure de français à Tufts University ; Carole Salmon, Professeure de français et de culture française à UMass Lowell ; et Leilani Olson, directrice associée pour le développement des relations universitaires de Boston University.

Pour mémoire, les Palmes Académiques, titre honorifique institué par Napoléon Premier en 1808 et aujourd’hui décerné par le Premier ministre, sur proposition des ministres en charge de l’Education Nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur ou de la Recherche, récompensent les services rendus à l’enseignement ou à la promotion de la culture française à l’étranger. Il est intéressant de noter qu’il s’agit de la seule distinction créée par l’Empereur Napoléon Premier encore décernée : la légion d’honneur a en effet été créée par Napoléon Bonaparte, Premier Consul !

1- CHEVALIER : Anne-Christine Rice, Enseignante de français (Senior Lecturer) à Tufts University
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Chère Anne-Christine Rice,

Nous sommes réunis aujourd’hui pour honorer votre inlassable travail en faveur de la langue et de la culture françaises.

Anne-Christine, you are an essential figure in French teaching in New England. Through your work as an instructor at the French Cultural Center in Boston and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, you shared your teaching expertise and inspired learners of all ages in our community. From there, you went on to lecture in French, first at Brandeis University, and now at Tufts University, where you have taught for 17 years!

Throughout your teaching career, you have gone above and beyond to design new French courses and curricula. For instance, about 20 years ago, you developed an innovative teaching method which placed cinema at the heart of teaching French. This pedagogy is unique in its use of films for class discussion, learning French and discovering French culture. Your textbook, « Cinema for French Conversation », is now in its fourth edition. And its publication prompted the creation of a series of texts for learning Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and Portuguese through film. After this book, you also wrote several others including « La France contemporaine à travers ses films », published in 2010. This method of teaching is now used in around 250 American universities! Bravo!

Chère Anne-Christine Rice,

In 2004 you also founded at Tufts University the French Film Experience, or “ciné-club,” which proposes French films for both Francophones and Francophiles. And you have become the face of all things French at Tufts, acting as the faculty advisor for the French Society and the French Table!

As an advisor to students in the French major, you help guide the next generation of students who are passionate about our language and culture, an essential work indeed! You are well-loved within the Tufts community as an accessible faculty member. In 2014, you presented a series of workshops, in partnership with us, detailing ways to teach World War I through the French movie Joyeux Noël. We have also organized together “Films on the Green” events at Tufts University in 2016 and 2017.

In July 2016, our Consulate named you the « Française du mois », and for good reason! You are a wonderful ambassador for both France and the US, having integrated here while retaining a strong connection to your French roots –l’Anjou- « un pied dans chaque pays », comme vous dîtes.

Pour votre engagement en faveur de la promotion de la culture et de la langue françaises à Tufts University et au-delà, nous sommes heureux de vous remettre cette décoration, qui constitue le modeste gage de reconnaissance d’un travail exceptionnel au service de votre passion et de vos élèves.

Chère Anne-Christine Rice, au nom du gouvernement de la République française, nous vous faisons Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

2- CHEVALIER : Carole Salmon, Professeure associée de français et de culture française – Coordinatrice du programme de français à UMass Lowell
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Chère Carole Salmon,

Pour vos recherches sur la culture francophone, la littérature, le cinéma, la linguistique, mais aussi pour votre curiosité académique que vous avez à cœur de partager, il était à nos yeux également évident que vous soyez honorée ce soir.

Dear Carole,

For more than 20 years you have been an active promoter of French language and culture in the United States. As a graduate of both French and American institutions, you are also a unique ambassador for both countries. After earning your degree in Modern French and Francophone Literature at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, you went on to study on this side of the Atlantic, achieving a Ph.D. in French Studies on “100 ans de Français Cadien en Louisianne” at Lousiana State University. You have now made your home at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where you have been the Coordinator of the French Major, and have acted as the chairwoman of the World Languages and Cultures department since 2013.

During this time you used your passion and energy to develop the French major at UMass Lowell, growing the number of students as well as professors. You also expanded the French program to include courses that go above and beyond the traditional offerings, such as those exploring Francophone cultures, French literature, or Senegalese cinema. Your dedication to your students and your desire to see them grow in a multicultural context are inspiring: indeed, you sent several of your students in France to be teaching assistants, through the Teaching Assistant Program in France organized by the French Embassy in the United States. You also taught French cultural courses as part of the UMass Lowell in Paris Summer Program. Thus, you play an important role in preparing the next generation to be open-minded and excited about cultural exchanges.

Dear Carole, early in your life, you became fascinated with Acadian and Cajun cultures and committed yourself to studying the vibrant French-speaking communities in the US. As a doctoral student, you explored the speech of four generations of Cajun Women in Southern Louisiana, bringing to light an important topic in the study of la Francophonie: the history of French people in North America. You spent six years at the Centre d’études françaises at Louisiana State University compiling two databases of French manuscripts written during the 18th and 19th centuries.

In New England, your work has included research about language heritage of French Canadians who emigrated to work in the mills at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. More recently, you have conducted research about the representation of French Culture in American TV shows. Last but not least, since 2017, you have been the Vice President of the Northeast Modern Language Association, which organizes a conference every year for the distribution of scholarships and the promotion of teaching in modern languages and literature. In 2020, you will be the President of the Conference which will take place in Boston. And finally, dear Carole, I would like to highlight your important role in the preparation of the “Mois de la Francophonie” in New England.

With gratitude for all of your wonderful work, I am honored today to present you, Carole, with this title.

Chère Carole Salmon, au nom du gouvernement de la République française, nous vous faisons Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

3- CHEVALIER : Leilani Olson, Directrice associée pour le développement des relations universitaires (Associate Director of University Relations) à Boston University
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Chère Leilani Olson,

Vous êtes une citoyenne du monde : vous avez étudié et travaillé aux Etats Unis, en France et en Suède, et êtes pleinement engagée aujourd’hui dans la promotion de cette expérience internationale auprès des étudiants de Boston University. Américaine, vous êtes une parfaite francophone et aussi une amie francophile. Nous sommes heureux de vous décorer aujourd’hui. As you all know: “actions speak louder than words.” This is the perfect illustration of Leilani’s remarkable accomplishments.

Dear Leilani,

Today, you work as the Associate Director of University Relations in the Boston University Study Abroad Office. Yet your commitment to international education has been long in the making. Your experience as an exchange student in Sweden provided a foundation for your interest in international relations, which you studied, along with French language and literature, at Boston University. This interest grew with your participation in BU’s Grenoble and Paris programs, and drove you to the famous French Grande Ecole Sciences Po Paris, where you earned a Master’s degree. A true polyglot, you are fluent in English, French, and Swedish, and you have studied Spanish and Arabic.

Throughout your nearly fifteen years at BU, you have promoted study abroad, leading to the participation of 2,000 students in BU’s Grenoble and Paris programs. Recent data from Campus France –the French organization in charge of international student mobility- has revealed that Boston University sends more students to France, each year, than any other university in New England. So, your efforts to create ties between Boston University and French institutions do much to strengthen Franco-American relations, and for that we thank you.

We thank you as well, Dear Leilani, for always offering your support to the French Consulate. In particular, as a member of the Board of Directors of the US Sciences Po Alumni Association, and a leader in university exchange programs, you were a key partner in our France Alumni event in November 2016, where you served as the Master of Ceremony, in addition to volunteering at various symposiums that we have coordinated.

Dear Leilani, I am very proud today to recognize your hard work, not only as the Associate Director of University Relations in the Boston University Study Abroad Office, but also as the gracious representative of Sciences Po in New England.

Chère Leilani Olson, au nom du gouvernement de la République française, nous vous faisons Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

The evening was under the signs of solidarité and fraternité, diversity and inclusion. It was a testimony to the long standing friendship that exist between our two great nations. As Carole Salmon said: "I would like to dedicate this award to all my friends and family on both sides of the Atlantic, as I could not have made it that far without their, and your, support."

Valéry Freland while decorating Anne-Christine Rice:
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Valéry Freland while decorating Carole Salmon:
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Valéry Freland while decorating Leilani Olson:
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Many students attended their professor’s award ceremony such as the ones here, surrounding Anne-Christine Rice:
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Please find attach the pdf version of the Consul General’s speech:

PDF - 161.8 kb
(PDF - 161.8 kb)

Last modified on 07/05/2018

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