A ceremony was held on November 27 to launch a Minor in French Language and to receive a donation of around 100 French books, DVDs and magazines from the French Embassy in Qatar.
The event was attended by QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, Ambassador of France to Qatar H.E. Dr Eric Chevallier and QU VP for Academic Affairs Dr Mazen Hasna, in the presence of QU and embassy officials and representatives of the French Institute, Lycée franco-qatarien Voltaire and Lycée Bonaparte, as well as QU faculty, students and staff.
The Minor in French Language was created by QU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Department of English Literature and Linguistics with the aim to give QU students access to another foreign language and culture besides English. The Minor program comprises 24 credit-hours and targets students who are beginners or low intermediates in French. It is currently offered only to female students. The number of applicants for the first year is 38, the majority of which are Qataris. Graduates from this program will reach a level of competency that is functional enough to travel to French speaking countries and exchange with Francophones. They will also stand in a good position to pursue their studies abroad in French speaking institutions or to work in a professional setting where French may be required. Basic French is the first course and main entry-point for this program. It became available for the first time in Fall 2016 and it is currently attended by 22 highly motivated students.
The event’s program featured an overview on the Minor in French Language by QU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Associate Professor of French Language Dr Paula Bouffard, an overview on the donated books by QU Library (QUL) Director Dr Imad Bashir, and a presentation by QU French Club President Ms Maytha Mohmmed Al-Mansoori on the Club.
In his remarks, Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “Universities all over the world are not only committed to providing academic learning and research. They play a pivotal role in building bridges of communication and dialogue between the East and the West, and in disseminating knowledge and ethics in their communities. The new Minor in French Language will contribute to uplift our students’ culture and to advance their knowledge.”
He added: “The Islamic and Arabic culture, and the western culture in general and the French one in particular have in common many moral values. They also have many points of difference that should make the world stronger and united. Initiatives like this one will contribute to strengthening the spirit of dialogue between the East and the West. In this regard, I would like to thank everyone who contributed in the establishment of this program. I would also like to thank H.E. Dr Eric Chevallier for his continuous support to Qatar University, and the French Embassy for its book donation, which will enrich QU Library’s database.”
H.E. Dr Eric Chevallier said: “Today is also an opportunity to celebrate our partnerships in higher education and to congratulate President Dr Hassan Al-Derham and Qatar University as a whole for its spectacular progression in international university ranking, Qatar University being now in the top 600 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016/17. This ranking acknowledges your excellence in teaching, in research, the diversity of faculties and of students, and last but not least, the partnerships with industrials.”
He added: “I personally want to tell you my hope to see the French Minor offered to every student of the university, male and female, and especially for those who began French at school. I would like to emphasize again the need for discovering other cultures and learning other languages, for your studies and your future, for your country and our world. In conclusion, I’d like to say that, I am glad, on behalf on the French Embassy, to participate to the development of the International Corner of the University Library, with this donation of books, DVDs and magazines in French.”
Dr Imad Bashir said: “It is my pleasure to welcome you to this event. Almost one hundred (100) French items including books, magazines and DVDs will be added to the “International Corner” Space in the Library. These items cover subjects mainly in History, education, tourism and literature. Certainly, this number of valuable donated books will not be the last, and the Library is appreciative to the government of France and to his Excellency the Ambassador of France and the Embassy’s team for their attention and interest in the Library and in QU.”
He added: “Your donation today, like the donations before, definitely increases the Library’s collection and supports the library community in enhancing their information and in enriching their knowledge. Also, it contributes to our vision of making QU Library a leading university library in the region.”