Conférence de presse du jeudi 3 octobre (communiqués parus dans The Metropolitan, The Express Tribune, The International News and The National Times)
Karachi, 3 October 2013 – In the presence of Mrs. Martine Herlem-Hamidi, the new cultural counselor at the French Embassy in Islamabad, the Alliance Française of Karachi held a press conference to introduce its new management and educative team and to launch its cultural agenda for the upcoming year.
“I am very pleased to join and give my support to the French cultural network in Pakistan, particularly to the new AfK team” she said. “The Alliance Française of Karachi, as any AF worldwide, is a joint venture between the French Embassy and a local non-for-profit association. It is managed under the umbrella of the Alliance Française Foundation in Paris.”
Mr. Jean-François Chénin, the director of the Alliance, and Mrs. Johara Alatas, its President, introduced their new pedagogical team who will dedicate its time to French language teaching at the AfK premises and within all partner schools in Karachi and its surroundings such as IBA, NED, CAS or the University of Sindh in Hyderabad.
Mrs. Marion Rolland, who recently graduated from the Oriental Languages University in Paris, and Mr. Eric Touzé, an expert in History and Cultural Management, recently joined to strengthen the existing teaching team of ten French as a Foreign Language teachers.
Mrs. Marion Rolland has also been hired as Development Manager with the task of promoting the AfK in the public eye, towards schools and corporates. “Promotion of French language is one of my passions”, she declared, “and I want to share it with all Pakistanis, while teaching French language and establishing cultural partnerships. I want to promote Pakistani and French exchange.”
Mr. Eric Touzé, who taught French and History for many years in France and China, is passionate about Culture, Literature, History and Civilization. He will hold a Cultural and Linguistic exchange program dedicated to the AfK students in the cultural centre and on the campuses of our partner universities. “To learn French language is like opening a door on the past and nowadays cultures, arts and sciences. Not only regarding French speaking societies in France, but along with all French speaking countries in the world. A new AfK Media Library shall be the main tool of this development program” he added.
In 2014, the AfK will celebrate 50 years of existence in Karachi. “It is the Age of Wisdom” the Director said, “50 years of presence and actions in the Karachite community, serving cultural and linguistic dialogue between Pakistan and France, it will be a significant moment in the life and in the history of AfK.”
“Adding to the strength of the executive team, the commitment of Laurent Elisio Bordier, who was appointed last spring Deputy director and Director of studies, is also a sign of the continuous will of France to have a strong and efficient presence in Karachi for the benefit of the French-Pakistani dialogue.” Underlined JF Chénin.
Laurent Elisio Bordier said: ” Our huge renovation process started a few months ago with the introduction of a new French language learning package especially imported for the Pakistani market, the implementation of Interactive White Boards in the teaching centre, and intensive training of the teaching team in Lahore and Karachi. We have also developed our own social network, dedicated to French language students in Pakistan (www.afpakistan.org). Over 400 members in Karachi have joined the network in the last 6 months, and as we speak the Alliance Françaises of Lahore and Islamabad are starting to implement its use on campuses among both French teachers and students. Along with the introduction of these modern teaching tools, the whole course offer has been revised according to a growing demand (regular Sunday classes, hybrid courses with online material, language trips to France, a French for Specific Purposes program, and Foreign Language Teaching seminars). Active for over 130 years and with over a thousand schools worldwide, the Alliance Française has always been a centre of excellence in the field of language teaching. The AF is the only institute in Pakistan authorized to provide French language certified diplomas and recognized certificates. Native speakers or Pakistani, all of our teachers are fully qualified in French as a Foreign Language teaching and are also certified examiners.” He then added: “Our aim is for the AfK to be a leading language institute not only in Pakistan, but across the whole Indian subcontinent. A major player in both cultural events and pedagogy. We wish to be an inspiration and a role model to other Alliances.”
The Alliance Française is looking forward to not only improving French Language knowledge in Pakistan but to also accomplish a number of other projects. These projects have already begun and will substantially change the AfK as we know it.
“We will re-open a restaurant in 2014, offering French and European cuisine of high quality. We have made a partnership with one of the best restaurateurs in Karachi to create an original concept for the benefit of local gastronomy. With this project we know that a new clientele, looking for new experiences and flavors, will come to the Alliance française” said Mr. Chénin.
The AfK is also opening a bookstore with Paramount, one of the leading editor and publishing companies in Pakistan. This partnership will associate countries of the European Union to provide readers a large panel of books in various areas: knowledge of Europe and European countries, gastronomy, art, tourism and photography, books for children, textbooks, etc.
Mr. Chénin added: “We know that Karachite will welcome this project. We also know that Pakistanis are great readers in many spheres. The bookstore will also be a central place to organize meetings with writers and scholars”.
Regarding the cultural aspect, the Alliance’s yearly cultural program is ambitious and again aims to promote exchange and dialogue between Pakistani, French and European citizens.
The AfK, in partnership with Eurochannel, a well-known European television channel, is holding a European Film Festival, from October until December 2013.
On the performance field, AfK has recently created its “FreeTime Rendez-vous”, in which twice a month, musicians, actors and poets will perform new and original artistic productions.
Talking about music, in December, the AfK will welcome a French clarinet Quartet: “Ante Anchès”. The quartet will use this opportunity and the venue to hold a master class.
AfK will also hold new series of conferences, welcoming writers, thinkers, scientists and artists.
In February 2014, the French cultural centre will have a huge colloquium on the French and European research in Pakistan in the domains of Archeology and Anthropology, Social Sciences and History, in partnership with the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and the French Embassy. For two days, French and European researchers will debate recent work related to these particular fields, here, in Karachi.
To build and develop housing at the AfK, is another project being announced by the director. The residences could welcome Pakistani and French Scientists, Scholars, Researchers and Artists for exchange, dialogue and work. With the support of important companies and corporates based in Karachi, it will be possible to create new meeting rooms, and housing for professors, writers and researchers.
“Our ambition is to offer a common working platform and a dialogue sphere between Pakistani and Europeans and to open our doors to the business community of Karachi” specified the director. “Such a project cannot be realized without the support of the business community of Karachi, which has heard our call and considers our proposal and perspectives of development with great attention”.
Last but not least, in June 2014 the AfK will celebrate its 50th anniversary here in Karachi. “We will release the program by December” said the director. “We have some surprises in store for our students, our members and for the whole Karachi community”.