The newly accredited French Ambassador in Monrovia, Michael Roux, says activities of the French institution here Alliance Française, will provide new opportunities for Liberian youth to study, travel, do business and work abroad in various French-speaking countries.
Speaking at the formal launch of the new Alliance Française Center on 94 UN Drive, Mamba Point, April 22, 2021, Ambassador Roux stressed the importance of the school in Monrovia, saying, “Education is a key factor of peace and the activities of this place of learning and cultural exchanges will contribute to peace and prosperity as well as to the regional integration of Liberia.”
As part of the Printemps de la Francophonie (the Francophonie Spring) 2021 in Liberia, the Alliance Française in collaboration with the French Embassy near the Republic of Liberia dedicated the Center last week.
Amb. Michael Roux says the Alliance Française will help provide intensive French training courses for Liberian students who are interested in studying in French-speaking countries before they leave Liberia, adding that the Government of France through the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) has sent forty (40) Liberian students to the Houphouet Boigny Polytechnic Institute in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, on scholarship for studies in various fields, but those students were forced to do intensive French courses for six to 12 months before starting their actual studies.
Hence, with the reopening the Alliance Française here, students who are likely to be granted scholarship to French-speaking countries may now do these intensive French training courses here before departure.
According to him, many other French speaking countries are proposing scholarship for Liberian students, including Morocco.
Amb. Roux also reveals that negotiations are currently ongoing to offer French training courses for the Armed Forces of Liberia, as Liberian soldiers are now involved in peacekeeping missions around the world, including the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and others are assigned at the various borders with Guinea and la Cote d’Ivoire, two neighboring French-speaking countries.
Also speaking, the director of Alliance Française, Father Maroun Zogheib, notes that to build a country, it suffices to promote quality education and strengthen its cultural values, adding that Alliance Française is a linguistic and cultural institution that will work in close collaboration with all stakeholders of the educational and cultural sectors in Liberia to add its stone to the edifice and support the country’s efforts for development and prosperity.
According to him, the institute currently has forty (40) students and the Liberian Ministry of Education has promised to send 40 other students.
“We currently have around 40 learners taking French lessons from Monday to Saturday. And under the instructions of the Minister of Education, Professor Ansu Sonii, we will soon receive around 40 other learners to train before they join their universities in French-speaking countries”.
Father Maroun Zogheib, who is also a Catholic priest and founder of Our Lady of Grace High School, informs the gathering that in addition, the Alliance Française is planning to organize series of training workshops for French teachers in Liberia as its contribution to the capacity building efforts.
He says with heaven’s help, the institution will soon dedicate a media library, a Biblio-bus (a sort of mobile library that will go from school to school), as well as a translation department, adding “We are also planning to brighten up our center with cultural activities”.
“I hope to invite you from time to time to share our joy at seeing the Alliance Française grows, with the construction of new premises, such as a large multipurpose room to organize: events, debates, conferences, round tables, exhibitions, movie nights and a cafeteria”, he says.
The occasion was graced by few representatives of the Liberian government, including the Minister of Education, Professor Ansu Sonii, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., and foreign diplomats accredited near Monrovia.
By Valery Guhena– Editing by Jonathan Browne