The Board of Directors of Sharjah’s ‘Alliance Française’ held its first meeting, at the House of Wisdom (HoW). The meeting was conducted in the presence of Shaikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President of the Alliance Française of Sharjah; Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Vice President of the Alliance Française of Sharjah; Hugo Henry Ceylan, Cultural Counselor and President of Institut Français in UAE, who represented the Embassy of France in the UAE; Emery Kalema, Assistant Professor of History at the Africa Institute; and Audrey Leseigneur, Director of the Alliance Française of Sharjah.
Audrey Leseigneur opened the meeting with a presentation on existing and future projects of Sharjah’s Alliance Française, including the partnership agreement signed between the French embassy and Alliance Française’s branches of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, at the headquarters of the Department of Government Relations (DGR); memorandums of understanding to be signed in the future; collaborating with the Sharjah Art Foundation; as well as partnerships with Sharjah’s schools and universities. Alliance Française is the official centre for French language in the UAE and offers activities for students to help them with homework assigned by French schools.
Welcoming the attendees and introducing the members of Sharjah’s Alliance Française, HE Sheikh Fahim AlQasimi said: “Today, we held the first meeting for the Board of Directors of the Alliance Française of Sharjah, chaired by HE Shaikha Hoor AlQasimi. We discussed the strategic and executive plan for 2023 in order to create more opportunities for learning the French language in Sharjah, as well as serving as a hub for future exchanges between French and Emirati cultures. We are pleased that our emirate has become the home for a new centre within the UAE’s vibrant Alliance Française network.’
Hugo Henry Ceylan, Cultural Counselor and President of Institut Français in the UAE and representing the French Embassy, said, “We are proud to establish the Alliance Française of Sharjah, enhancing the relationships between France and the French-speaking people that reside in the emirate of Sharjah. The Alliance Française serves as a French hub in Sharjah, and alongside Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou, an educational institution for teaching French in UAE public and private schools, they will represent France at our major cultural events such as book fairs, Sharjah Biennial and many other important occasions.”
He added: “We extend our sincere thanks to the Government of Sharjah and to HE Shaikha Hoor AlQasimi, President of the Alliance Française of Sharjah, HE Sheikh Fahim AlQasimi, Vice President of the Alliance Francaise of Sharjah, for their efforts to establish this alliance, and we at the Embassy of France in the UAE will continue to conduct more projects, in cooperation with Alliance Française’s Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah branches, as well as the Institut Français in the UAE.’
In September 2022, the Alliance Française was established in Sharjah, adding to the UAE’s vibrant Alliance Française network. The expansion of the alliance falls in line with the agreement signed between the DGR and the French embassy to advance expertise and knowledge exchange, enable French schools and cultural institutions in the UAE to benefit from the leadership of the alliance, and supporting their directives to teach the French language with the latest methods and tools in aid to help students achieve mastery over the langage.
By launching the new branch of Alliance Française, DGR aims to enable French language learning opportunities, promote distinguished French-speaking authors, intellectuals and cultural achievements, increase access to renowned literary works, and provide another valuable platform for cultural exchange within Sharjah.