In a sign of our growing influence, we were recently honored to welcome 250 Heads of French Schools as part of the annual worldwide Congress of the Mission Laique Française (MLF). The event took place from April 10-12 at the United Nations headquarters in New York and our Manhattan campus.
This year's MLF Congress featured remarks and presentations from leaders in education and diplomacy. To open the event, attendees heard from French Ambassador to the United Nations in New York François Delattre, Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach (president of the UNIS Board of Trustees), François Perret (President of the MLF), Jean-Christophe Deberre (Executive Director of the MLF), and Former Spokesperson for three Presidents of the UN General Assembly and UNIS Board member Jean-Victor Nkolo. Having given a speech where he reflected on the work of UNIS and the value of French language education, Mr. Nkolo was joined by Ms. Jane Camblin, the school's Executive Director. Together, they read a poem by Aimé Césaire to launch the conference.
Over the next two days attendees focused on a number of topics that were connected to the overall theme of "French School Education Abroad: an Asset of Academic Success and International Mobility." Some of the issues addressed included the French language in the Middle East, the state of play in higher education, the role of the school head, the best ways to use digital technology, and teaching of literature and humanities.
On the conference's second day the Sylvia Howard Fuhrman Theatre hosted part of the afternoon session at our Manhattan campus. During that portion of the event Gilles Pétreault, Inspector General of National Education, discussed the advantages of French nursery school compared to other models.
Wednesday morning, the conference closed with remarks by Florence Robine, Director General of School Education, and the French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud.
Annually the conference brings together the supervisory staff of the institutions that make up its traditional network to discuss contemporary education issues. In the past, conferences have focused on issues around citizenship and the impact of technology. These annual meetings also involve the leaders of major state institutions, actors from the partner academies, as well as representatives of the entire educational community.
The MLF is an international organization that leads a network of 111 French educational establishments abroad, attended by more than 55,000 students in 39 countries. It also carries out 17 educational cooperation projects in 8 countries.