Under the new direction of Anne Chays, the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico celebrates its 75th Anniversary
In the heart of San Juan, the institution has received students since 1937.
Ms. Chays, who appreciates the "great work" done by her predecessor Cyril Anis, is committed to further developing already known events, such as the "Festival of European Cinema," created in partnership with other European consulates, and "Francia de Fiesta," which takes place during the week of July 14.
Ms. Chays wishes to add an educational component to this period of events by adding conferences, round tables and workshops.
She also plans to increase scholarship opportunities for Puerto Rican students who wish to study in France.
e-Toile : Hello Anne Chays, a few weeks ago you took direction of the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico. May you present yourself to our readers and share more about your background and experience?
- Anne Chays : Hello, it is indeed at the end of the month of October that I take over my new duties at the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico.
Before joining this network, it is within the Ministry of Education that I exercised my duties as Associate Professor of Spanish and then completed a Master FLE and a Master of International Management.
The position I occupy at the Alliance Française is at a crossroads of these various paths which allows me to continue my career in education, in particular in French as a Foreign Language (FLE), culture and management, on a clear path.
In this regard, I would like to recall that the Alliance Française is a nonprofit organization whose mission is threefold:
Diffusion of the French language,
The promotion of French culture and francophone cultures,
And the promotion of cultural diversity.
Created in Paris in 1883, the Alliance Française is currently present in 5 continents and in over 130 countries.
It is with great pleasure that I work in this fine institution: seduced by the Latin American culture at the age of 16, I have the life that I dreamed of during my studies in the International Spanish section during high school.
I am very honored and proud to represent France and to support the development of linguistic and cultural exchanges between France and Puerto Rico.
e-Toile : Upon arrival in Puerto Rico and in the Alliance, what struck you the most?
- Anne Chays : Probably the uniqueness and richness of Puerto Rican culture, the outcome of the influence from the Taino, Spanish, African and North American cultures, is what has struck me the sharpest since my arrival in Puerto Rico.
In addition, Puerto Ricans like to say that their population is the happiest in the world. After a month of living in San Juan, I can’t argue that!
Regarding my tenure at the Alliance Française, I really appreciate the great work done by my predecessor Cyril Anis, who is currently at the Alliance Française in the Dominican Republic.
I inherited from him a particularly healthy Alliance.
Established in 1954 in a beautiful colonial house, the Alliance Française receives about 300 students bimonthly. I am also fortunate enough to have a very good team composed of young, dynamic and professional individuals and a board of directors that is very active and involved.
e-Toile : The Alliance Française of Puerto Rico will celebrate its 75th anniversary. What have you prepared to celebrate this event?
- Anne Chays : The Alliance Française has been present in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, since 1937.
To celebrate this 75th anniversary, we have chosen to partner with two local cultural institutions ("Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña" and "Escuela de Artes Plásticas") in order to create together a bi-cultural project that symbolizes the friendship between France and Puerto Rico.
Thus was born the staging of a contemporary adaptation of "The Little Prince" by Saint-Exupéry.
Several performances will take place from December 13th through the 16th at the Teatro Victoria Espinosa in San Juan.
Following the final performance, the Alliance Française will also host a cocktail reception so that the francophone and francophile population of the island may share a pleasant evening before Christmas.
Moreover, we will also organize a dinner in March in order to raise funds to continue the renovation project of the classrooms of our beautiful Alliance.
e-Toile :In order to further continue the beautiful cultural and educational Franco-Puerto Rican history, what are the projects you are developing for the coming months?
- Anne Chays : In the cultural field, I will try to develop the projects set up by my predecessor, in particular "Francia de Fiesta" (a series of concerts and other activities held on a large public square in San Juan for July 14th) and "Festival de Cine Europeo," held annually in March in collaboration with the European Consulates in Puerto Rico.
For this event, I will also further engage cinema students of Puerto Rico and develop the educational component of the festival through conferences, round-tables and workshops and will also establish scholarships to allow Puerto Rican students to study in France.
In the educational field, one of my priorities will be the development of DELF DALF certificates. These are diplomas issued by the Ministry of National Education on order to validate the level of French language acquired by our learners.
It is important to note that the Alliance Française is currently the only authorized test center in Puerto Rico.
These are my priorities in my work at the alliance in the coming months. That said, it is clear that there will be many challenges that face our team as a growing Alliance Française...
To learn more about the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico, visit http://www.afpuertorico.org/
Article published on Dec. 5, 2012.