Posted on May 06, 2018

The Department of English Literature & Linguistics at Qatar University College of Arts and Sciences (QU-CAS) hosted the first Congress for the Teachers of French in Qatar on May 5. 

The event was a joint-initiative of CAS French Minor program, the French Institute, and the French Embassy in Qatar. It aimed to offer networking opportunities to the professionals in the area of French language teaching in Qatar, developing a common vision and strong professional identity around a shared mission, and to lay the ground for joint research initiatives involving academics and these institutions. The event attracted more than 100 participants from 36 institutions in Qatar. Attending the opening ceremony were QU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Omar Al-Ansari, the French Ambassador to the State of Qatar H.E. Eric Chevallier, and the Permanent Delegate of Qatar at UNESCO H.E. Ali Zainal.

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During his opening speech, Dr. Omar Al-Ansari emphasized the fruitful collaboration with the French Embassy and French universities in areas of strategic importance. H.E. Eric Chevallier saluted Qatar’s commitment to the French language and culture and hoped that the congress becomes a yearly tradition. He also stressed the success of the French Minor at QU. H.E. Ali Zainal, who flew from Paris especially for the occasion, highlighted the importance of multilingualism in an increasingly globalized world. He also shared his passion for the French language and pedagogical tips to teach it using elements drawn from the Qatari context.

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The participants engaged in a series of pedagogical workshops offered by both local and international experts. A plenary talk was given by a scholar in the field of foreign language teaching pedagogy, Mrs. Claire Mallet, from the Centre de Linguistique Appliquée de l’Université de Franche-Comté. The organizers of the event Dr. Paula Bouffard, QU Professor of French Language and Culture, and Mrs. Sylvie Lamy, the Attachée de Coopération for the French Language, chaired a roundtable aimed at discussing the successes and challenges associated with the teaching of French in Qatar.

As one of the panelists, Dr. Bouffard shared her observations and experience in developing and teaching the French Minor at QU. She said: “This is first the time such an event is taking place in Qatar, and I am particularly looking forward to the research opportunities and research collaborations which will emerge from this gathering and inform our teaching practices.”