The St. Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc. has partnered with Alliance Française de Sainte-Lucie on an innovative project aimed at promoting Olympism and the speaking of the French language.
The project, FORCE (French & Olympism Resources for Culture and Education, or Français et Olympisme: Ressources pour la Culture et l’Éducation), will essentially teach people to speak the French language while promoting the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Paris, France.
The project, which was launched officially at Olympic House in La Clery, Castries on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, will be funded and administered by the French Embassy in Saint Lucia, and the first part will involve training people in French and Olympism.
Sophie Picavet, Director of the Alliance Française de Sainte-Lucie and Regional Coordinator of the Alliances Françaises of the East Caribbean, said the project is aimed at helping delegations, fans, the press and athletes to live the Olympic Games to its fullest.
“We would like to place the French language as a vector to reinforce the values of Olympism,” she said. “We believe that improving the French language level of all people going to the Olympic Games is aimed towards those values.”
She added that: “The French training is not going to be a revolution on the teaching of French. I don’t think anyone can do that. It will be a very short training of 20 hours to stick with the time that athletes have to devote to something else…..which will help them to be selected for the Olympic Games.”
Picavet said the twenty hours of training will be divided into ten sequences of two hours. Pedagogical kits will be provided to those receiving the training, she said, noting that athletes will be better equipped for their outing at the Games.
“It is a unique opportunity in the life of an athlete to be able to use the French language,” Picavet stated. “The French language is the official language of the Olympics, and it does make a lot of sense that every athlete leaving for Paris 2024 takes in his suitcase a little bit of the French language before he goes.
“Learning a language is the tool which helps understanding between cultures and which promotes dialogue. So that’s why we are adding this part of the training to the training on Olympism. You can do either training separately; however, they both intertwine.”
Picavet said the training in French component is also aimed at continuing even after the Olympic Games. To that end, training will be offered in schools, in prisons, and elsewhere.
Eric Monnin, Consultant and Expert on Olympism, will conduct the training on Olympism. The five parts of the training in Olympism on which he will focus are (1) The concept of Olympism, (2) The history of the Olympic Games, (3) The institutions, committees and international federations, (4) The great moments in the history of the Olympic Games, and (5) Paris 2024: A New Era — Sustainability, Diversity, Gender.
The training is scheduled to begin in April 2023.
French Ambassador to Saint Lucia, Francis Etienne, said the French are convinced that the Olympic ideal and its message are essential.
“Both are worth spreading today: the values, the optimism, the importance for youth, the importance of peace, and, of course, on the side of the Alliance, the importance of language,” Ambassador Etienne said.
He added: “So the conviction is that such a big event, the Olympic Games, needs preparation, needs anticipation, and that’s what’s at stake today. That’s why we’re here today: to think of a project to prepare a big event which, we hope, will be successful. Our ambition is simple: yes, we think it’s worth speaking French in many instances and all around the world, universal, like the Olympic ideal. But we think it’s even better if it’s targeted for students, teachers, the community, for inmates.”
Meanwhile, Alfred Emmanuel, President of SLOC Inc., stated that SLOC Inc. did not hesitate to collaborate on the initiative that has many benefits. He said other regional sports federations are already indicating an interest in the collaboration.
“When we were contacted by our French colleagues to work in collaboration with them on a project that would benefit each and every one of us in Saint Lucia, especially the fact that next year we will be in Paris, we quickly grabbed onto the opportunity and said ‘Yes, we are on board,’” Emmanuel said. “Since coming on board, I have been speaking with our regional NOCs (National Olympic Committees) colleagues who all seem very happy to want to be part and parcel of the project.”
Through the project, Emmanuel said that there is scope for growth and understanding both French as a major language in the world as well as the spirit of Olympism.
The SLOC Inc. will also collaborate with Alliance Française on another initiative on March 14, 2023, which will mark exactly 500 days before the opening of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.
SOURCE: St. Lucia Olympic Committee. Headline photo: SLOC Inc., French Embassy and Alliance Française officials at the launch of FORCE at Olympic House in La Clery, Castries.