Francophone Week Returns
Kuwait City, 25 March 2021: GUST hosted its Francophone week from March 22 to 24, as a virtual event hosted through online zoom sessions, which included roundtables, lectures, and seminars. Attendees included students and academics from Kuwait and the MENA region. This marks the return of the annual event after having been canceled due to the 2020 global pandemic.
The week kicked off with the “Regional Roundtable”, which included students from Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait discussing the life of being a Francophone in the region. They discussed their shared perception of being French speakers in a region where French culture and language is not common. They also discussed the advantages of studying French in university. The Humanities and Social Sciences Department, which organizes the event each year, also created a montage video of the students presenting themselves at the roundtable to their peers which was relayed on social media to share with the GUST community.
On the second, day the Global Studies Center held a talk titled, “Frances Cultural and Scientific Diplomacy”, which was a lecture by Dr. Phillip Lane, who discussed Frances foreign policy in using science and research along with cultural exhibits to enforce strong bilateral relationships. The talk was the Global Studies Center’s first event of the 2020/21 academic year and had an emphasis on International Relations.
The third and final day included the last a seminar by France’s Defense Attaché to Kuwait, Colonel Passot, titled “The Role of French Armies”. The Colonel discussed his experience of France’s involvement in Operation Desert Shield during the Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. He also shared the role of the French military in the Middle East and his various missions carried out in the region.
Head of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Dr. Manal El-Kady, said “After having to cancel Francophone week last year, we are proud to be hosting it once again. Celebrating French culture with fellow French speakers has always been one of our most celebrated events and helps showcase the diversity within the GUST community. This year was special as we held it virtually for the first time via Zoom. I would like to thank Dr. Botz and the Global Studies Center, for their cooperation and efforts in making this such great collaborative event and also Dr. Saleh AlNafisi for moderating the talk with Colonel Passot. I also would like to thank Dr. Lane and Colonel Passot, and most importantly all the students who attended and participated. This would not have succeeded without them and we look forward to more Francophone Weeks in the coming years.”
Francophone Week is an annual celebration of Francophone students and staff members at GUST and is part of a larger internationally recognized “International Francophonie Day”, which falls on March 20 every year. The day is part of The Organization of La Francophonie which includes 88 member states with a total of 369 million French speakers around the world. Francophone week is one of several culturally themed events held at GUST.