In partnership with the Miami Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance, the French Heritage Language Program now offers French heritage classes in Miami, Florida. The new programs also receive the help and support of the City of Miami, the Little Haiti Cultural Center, and the French Consulate in Miami.
On February 27th, 2010, the first class was inaugurated at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in the presence of French Ambassador to the United States Pierre Vimont, French Consul General in Miami Gaël de Maisonneuve, Haitian Consul General Ralph Latortue, and Miami Mayor Tomás P. Regalado. Eighteen students from 8 to 10 years registered for the class to learn, or brush up, their French, and explore the Haitian culture.
As thousands of Haitian children have sought refuge in Miami after the earthquake that hit their country in January 2010, the demand for education in French has increased sharply in the Miami area. As a consequence, FHLP is now augmenting its capacity to be able to bring new classes to this population. These additional efforts will initially focus on Miami due to its large existing Haitian diaspora, but the program is also looking to help in other cities with sizeable Haitian communities, such as Washington DC, New York, and Boston.
In Miami, our goal is to start helping 60 students aged 6 to 18, with 3-hour weekly classes. As public schools start to enroll new Haitian students, we will start offering our culture-based French language classes in schools as well. These classes will be intended to bring comfort to the students, and to help them maintain a strong connection with their language and culture of origin during their stay in the United States.
On March 15th, 2010, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy organized a benefit concert in partnership with the New York French Institute Alliance Française (see related articles on our FHLP in the News webpage). Half of the proceeds from this event will help the French Heritage Language Program launch its new classes. During the concert, three Haitian students currently enrolled in the French Heritage Language Program spoke before an audience of 400, telling the reasons why learning French matters to them.
Click here to see a video of the benefit concert on France-Amerique's website.
Photo: French Ambassador Pierre Vimont and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado with students newly enrolled in the French Heritage Language Program in Miami.