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French for the Future Celebrates Its 11th Year of Grooming Bilingual Future Leaders of Canada at Glendon

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Twenty-four fluently bilingual high school students from coast to coast will attend a National Ambassador Youth Forum at Glendon from February 9-12, 2008, created by French for the Future, an organization that promotes bilingualism in Canada. The forum brings together high school students from across Canada who have shown leadership in their local communities in their efforts to promote bilingualism and biculturalism. As ambassadors of their communities. these students will spend four days living together with the aim of learning and growing through workshops, mentoring, corporate orientation and cultural events. After the forum, these young leaders will go back to their home towns as ambassadors of linguistic duality, motivating other students to pursue the goal of bilingualism.

Internationally renowned author John Ralston Saul, one of the founders of French for the Future, will be the keynote speaker at the opening plenary on the evening of February 9th. The other founding members are former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, former RBC Chairman John Cleghorn, and former Toronto journalist Lisa Balfour Bowen, who managed the French for the Future conference in 1997.

Left: John Ralston Saul

French for the Future created the National Ambassador Youth Forum in 2002 in order to recognize students who have been active in promoting bilingualism and biculturalism in their local communities. Participating ambassadors come from cities across Canada where a French-language Local Forum has been organized. *

The four-day National Ambassador Youth Forum has been held every year for the past six years in Toronto. This year’s workshops will enable students to interact with high-profile guests such as local politicians, media personalities, and members of the business community. “French for the Future / Le franšais pour l’avenir is very grateful to Glendon, one of Canada’s renowned bilingual campuses, which has once again generously offered its facilities and accommodations to our ambassadors”, said one of the forum’s organizers. Glendon will also host the annual Toronto-region Local Forum, the French for the Future Conference in April 2008, where national ambassadors from the GTA, who attend the Youth Forum in February, will report to their peers on the progress of their activities.

Thomas Baker of Eastern Shore District High School (Nova Scotia) had this to say after participating in the annual forum: “Choosing to enroll in French immersion was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it has opened doors and created possibilities that I never thought possible!” Anne Kothawala, President of the Canadian Newspaper Association since 1999 says, "It's not just a smart career move [to learn French]; mastering a second language enriches every aspect of your life." Ms. Kothawala, a graduate of Lawrence Park Collegiate in Toronto, is proud of being a bilingual product of the first Toronto immersion cohort.

During the four-day National Ambassador Youth Forum, student ambassadors will visit the CN Tower and Toronto’s City Hall, attend a French-language play, tour the Royal Ontario Museum, and dine at a French restaurant in Toronto.
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* A Local Forum is a one-day annual event, where high school students have the opportunity to hear from bilingual professionals in a variety of fields. These professionals conduct workshops on how they have found enrichment in their careers and in their personal lives as a result of their abilities in both official languages. The Local Forum takes place entirely in French and is designed to give students the opportunity to network with each other and with the bilingual professionals they meet on the day. In 2008, French for the Future / Le franšais pour l'avenir will be hosting events in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Moncton, Charlottetown, and Halifax.


More About French for the Future

French for the Future was created after the Quebec referendum of 1995 in order to promote linguistic duality in Canada. A major premise underlying French for the Future's activities is to highlight the positive social and career benefits bilingualism creates for students enrolled in French first- and second-language courses. Since its creation, French for the Future has continued to celebrate local Francophone and Francophile communities by recognizing the positive and rewarding career potential that can result from a French education in Canada.

For more information, visit the conference website at: www.french-future.org or e-mail: info@french-future.org.


Published on January 28, 2008