Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you study at a French-speaking university? If so, most likely your university was a member of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (Agency of French-speaking Universities). The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, is an international association of French-speaking universities that seek to promote education in countries with a French-speaking population. Funded by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (International Organization of French-speaking Countries), or OIF, the AUF seeks to promote a sense of community between French-speaking universities around the world. Currently, AUF has 1,007 member universities across 199 countries on six different continents. 

 

Jean-Marc Léger

Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the AUF has been growing since its inception. The organization was founded in 1959 by Jean-Marc Léger, a Canadian journalist for Le Devoir, and André Bachan, the public relations director for the University of Montreal. The duo proposed a collection of French-speaking universities worldwide to centralize funding and education plans for the Francophone world at large. In September 1961, 150 representatives from different French universities came together and established the Association des Universités Partiellement ou Entièrement de Langue Française (AUPELF, or the Association of Partially or Entirely French-speaking Universities). 

 

Since its beginnings, the AUF has undergone many expansions. The AUPELF was expanded to include the Université des Réseaux d’Expression Français (UREF), which was a program for transfer students that sought to connect universities based on research and education across different Francophone countries. In 1993, six years after UREF’s establishment, AUPELF changed its name to AUPELF-UREF. By 1998, the AUF became known as the AUF as it expanded its reach among the Francophone world. 

 

Because of the massive spread of the AUF, the organization’s structure is extremely important to its coherent function. The association is made of several major bodies of control. The general assembly is the main body of the AUF. Every four years, the general assembly’s 774 members sit to create a systematic plan to reach a set of determined goals. The goals and objectives guide the actions and partnerships of the AUF for the next four years. The Association Council functions as a force to create a sense of unity between the member universities. They meet with representatives from all universities and foster a sense of unity and solidarity that bridges the massive cultural differences. Other university representatives are selected to serve on the board of directors, which combines university and government officials to decide on the organization’s direction and its path towards achieving the four-year objectives. 

 

Université de Montréal

The general assembly elects the AUF President for four-year terms. Among their duties are controlling partnerships, heading the direction of the organization, and ruling the board of directors. The rector is another individual position, elected by the board of directors. Primarily, the rector focuses on implementing the financial obligations and proper funds to the different partners and universities the organization is dealing with. The rector presides over the University Development and cooperation funds. The final body of control is the Scientific Council, which is the body responsible for generating pedagogy and curriculum for the Francophonie universities. Members of the committee are selected for their unique qualifications and experience in the matter of education and seek to better the education of all member universities. Some are selected for their skills in science and technology, while others are selected for their ability to understand and connect across multiple cultures. 

 

Activities in the AUF are classified into four categories: Language and Communication, Economic Development, Scientific Skill Reinforcement, and Education. Language and Communication activities are targeted at supporting the French language via multilingualism and multiculturalism in the universities. They also promote scientific skill development across many categories. These activities direct the curriculum of classes related to language, culture, literature, and education. Economic Development activities are entirely focused on funding the other activities and partnerships of the AUF. Scientific Skill Reinforcement activities bridge the gap between regional offices and scientific departments of the AUF. The most important piece of these activities is to promote scientific research at member universities. Education activities seek to promote research and offer training for teachers and students in high education across the Francophone world. 

 

Partnerships with the AUF are established, along with specific guidelines. First, the partner must help establish

Collège de France

more Francophone universities and give them developmental roles. Second, the partner must seek ties with both the major agencies of the AUF alongside its member universities. Third, the partner must seek to increase development via knowledge sharing, scientific development, or tools for scientific cooperation. The AUF has been asked to partner with the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Bank on previous occasions. 

 

Mohammed V University for Rabbat

In 2011, the AUF marked its “Golden Anniversary” as its 50th year connecting Francophone universities. As the AUF becomes older, it increases its presence in the education of Francophone students. With over 1,000 member universities, the AUF is helping further the education of millions of students in colleges and universities worldwide. In the coming years, the AUF seeks to continue playing a massive role in the education that occurs with Francophone universities.

Art Movement : Impressionism

Angelina Iosso,
SNHU Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When people think of French Artist one of the first thoughts is of the beautiful natural landscapes of Monet or the humanistic style of Manet. These two amazing artists, as well as so many others, paved the way for French artists to make their mark on the world through the beauty of their paintings and most notably through the Impressionistic Style. The Impressionism movement was popular at the end of the 19th century and focused on small thin brush stroke that meant to create a a juxtaposition between objects and the light touching them. This movement used everyday people, objects, events, and relationships and casted them in a natural light to tell a message to the viewer of the paintings.

 

Female Impressionists: Berthe, Cassatt, and Gonzalès

 

The Impressionism movement was huge for women. Because of past social mores, Women did not have the same access to artistic education that men did. One of the reasons that they could not create a name for themselves before the Impressionism movement was because artists needed to study anatomy to create beautiful paintings of the human form. These nude figure drawing classes were unheard of for women to attend which held them back from realizing the true extent of their talent. With the Impressionism movement, rather than the Neoclassical or Romanticism movement, the subject of the painting was no longer the human form but rather of human interaction with their natural landscapes. The impressionism movement was all about telling a modern story through art. Women were able to branch out and finally join the canon because they were able to put their own spin on art and learn from famous painters without worrying as much about the social stigma.

That is not to say that in the time of Impressionism there were no social rules women of class had to follow. Unmarried Women were expected to always be accompanied by a chaperone when leaving the house, and in the home were expected to be practicing decorative arts like embroidery, drawing, or painting always in the presence of other women. Because it was expected of them, many women spent their time invested in the arts but it was still hard to branch into the movement without the help of other respected artists or their affluent families.

 

Mary Cassatt

One female Impressionist artist, Mary Cassatt, was able to create a name for herself in the Impressionism movement. American born, her and her family moved from Pennsylvania to France in the late 1800s. There she continued practicing her craft and exceeded in exhibiting her work among other Impressionist artists with the help of a new friend, Edgar Degas. Degas is one of the more prevalent Impressionist painters, many of his paintings depicting women in movement. Mary Cassatt created many different intimate paintings of women from a woman’s perspective throughout her artistic career. Most of her more famous paintings depicted the relationship between mother and child that she was able to observe between her sisters and their children. Never having married herself, Mary Cassatt lived with family but created a very strong career for herself that supported her well. Her paintings made it into the Paris Salon many times and she is known as a great Impressionistic painter.

Here are three paintings that showcase Cassatt’s take on the Impressionistic style.

Pictured : Breakfast in Bed, The Child’s Bath, Young Mother Sewing

Eva Gonzalès

Another female Impressionism artist I am going to highlight is Eva Gonzalès. Eva Gonzalès started as a pupil of Édouard Manet. , and she learned a lot of her art style from him. Her style closely mirrored Manet’s Spanish period of art. She painted representations of everyday life, deeply marked with Manet’s guidance and influence. Her work may not be as innovative and bright as other artists like Berthe Morisot or Mary Cassatt’s pieces, but the neutral somber tone of her paintings set Gonzalès apart from others. Even towards the end of his career, when Manet drifted back to color, Gonzalès continued to retain her neutral color scheme, and this individualized her work from other prominent artists. Gonzalès showed the Impressionism movement through her own eyes and learned the craft through her close study with talented artists such as Édouard Manet. She died of childbirth at the height of her career before she could reach her true potential.

Here are two notable paintings Eva Gonzalès completed: Une loge aux Italiens (A Box at the Italian Theater), and Morning Awakening.

 

Pictured : Une loge aux Italiens and Morning Awakening

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot was another famous female artist. She, along with Cassatt and Marie Bracquemond, were a part of a group of three women named “Les Trois Grandes Dames” or “The Three Great Ladies” of the Impressionism movement by critic Henri Focillon. Berthe Morisot was immersed in the artistic community. She was privileged to attend formal schooling for art and was a part of the Paris Salon many times throughout the end of the 19th century. Morisot continued her craft professionally after her marriage to Eugène Manet, Édouard Manet’s brother. Berthe Morisot worked closely alongside her brother-in-law Édouard Manet but continued to incorporate her independent flair into her own art. She focused her paintings on working, sophisticated, and well-dressed Parisian women. They were at the forefront of Berthe Morisot’s work. Throughout her long career, she continued to work freely and independently while showcasing the best aspects of the Impressionistic art style in her unique way.

Here are some vastly different paintings she created throughout her long career as a notable female impressionistic artist. The first is In England , showcasing her husband Eugène. The next painting is The Cradle. Finally, Self Portrait of Morisot.

Pictured : In England, The Cradle, Self Portrait

 

 

 

Cinderella and Other French Fairy Tales

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

 

Hans Christian Andersen

Everyone knows at least one of the classic fairy tales. Maybe it’s one of the more popular tales, like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, or a less famous one like Bluebeard. Perhaps you heard your tale as a bedtime story, or maybe you’ve seen Disney’s cartoon version of the tale. You may not have known the writer of these stories wasn’t Disney or Hans Christian Andersen or even the Brothers Grimm, but Frenchman Charles Perrault.

 

Charles Perrault

Perrault began his career as a lawyer and politician and became known for his writing later in life. He was part of L’Académie Française and heavily involved in the Ancients versus Moderns controversy. This 17th-century literary debate in France and England disputed the relevance of classical Greek and Roman writings to the modern era. The Ancients firmly believed classical writing was the exclusive standard for literature. The Moderns, inspired by recent scientific discoveries, believed in the evolution of literature. Perrault was a Modern in this debate. 

 

Perrault eventually made peace with the Ancients. He wrote his fairy tales under his son’s name, or 

Classical Greek

even under the name Mother Goose, so he didn’t upset the Ancients again with his modern writing. He is credited as being the father of the entire fairy tale genre, although he didn’t invent many of the tales he wrote. Most were folktales with ancient origins, and he was the first to collect them and write them on paper. He also aimed these stories at children, telling them in a simplistic yet literary manner, demonstrating his principles as a modern. Neither of these things had been done before. He called this collection Contes de ma Mère L’oye (Tales of Mother Goose). Some of the most remembered stories in this collection include Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, and Cinderella. By writing these tales on paper, Perrault preserved the 17th-century version of these stories. 

Little Red Riding Hood

The story Cinderella, Cendrillon in French, is an excellent example of a tale that has evolved. It began as a simple rags to riches folktale, likely of Chinese or possibly Egyptian origins. Perrault’s version told of a beautiful and good young woman forced to live with her father’s new wife and her cruel daughters. She slept next to the fireplace and is perpetually covered in cinders, where she gets the nickname Cinderella. One day, the Prince of the region hosts a ball and invites all the ladies so he might find himself a wife. The stepsisters are allowed to go, but tell Cinderella she has to stay home. Cinderella’s godmother takes pity on her and uses her magic wand to turn a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a driver, and lizards into footmen. She turns Cinderella’s rags and wooden shoes into a splendid ball gown and glass slippers. Then sends Cinderella to the ball with a warning to be back before midnight. At the ball, Cinderella catches the Prince’s eye, and they dance until the clock chimes midnight, and Cinderella runs away as her carriage turns back to a pumpkin, and her dress again becomes a dirty grey kirtle. The Prince throws another ball the next night, and again Cinderella dresses up her stepsisters but isn’t allowed to attend herself. So, her fairy godmother helps her out, and she gets to dance with the Prince once more. But this time, as she runs back home at the stroke of twelve, she’s in such a rush she leaves behind one of her slippers. No one at the ball knows who Cinderella is, so the next day the Prince takes the slipper to every maiden in the countryside to find his mysterious princess. 

 

When he gets to Cinderella’s house, both stepsisters try on the slipper, but it’s too small for them. It’s jokingly suggested Cinderella tries on the slipper, and when she does, it fits perfectly. She shows everyone the other slipper, and the Prince recognizes her as his lovely princess. They get married, and live happily ever after, as king and queen. And because Cinderella is so good and forgiving, she invites her stepsisters to live in the castle. 

 

It was Perrault who added the details of the magical godmother, the pumpkin carriage, and the glass slippers. The next step in the evolution of this tale was when the Brothers Grimm retold the tale in a darker and even more fantastical manner. In their version, the stepmother and stepsisters are crueler than the French version. When the Prince brings the slipper (gold, not glass, in their retelling) to their house, they are so desperate to make it fit, they cut off their toes. And instead of Cinderella inviting them to live in the castle with her happily ever after, she convinces crows to peck out their eyes, cursing them blind for their wickedness. The Brothers Grimm also made this story more fantastical; Cinderella can talk to the birds, and they help her when she needs it. 

 

Disney’s Cinderella

 

To bring this ancient story to a modern audience, Disney made it into a cartoon movie. The movie features the storyline closest to the Brothers Grimm version, but with much less darkness. The animals talk, there’s plenty of singing, and no one cuts off any toes. 

 

None of these magnificent tales would have survived to the modern era if not for Perrault’s preservation and popularization of them, or if others hadn’t adapted them to fit audiences of different times. Today, these tales continue to evolve, with retellings through many lenses.

François Bibonne: The Man Behind Preserving Classical Vietnamese Music

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One man who dreams of telling his grandmother’s story is set to revolutionize Vietnamese music later this year. François Bibonne, a documentary filmmaker from France, has shot and produced a documentary for release next month. The documentary, titled Once Upon a Bridge in Vietnam, seeks to explore classical Vietnamese music throughout time and cement its legacy in history. Bibonne, who holds a master’s degree in Contemporary History, will combine his passions of classical music and film with his family history. Bibonne’s grandmother, a native of Vietnam, will help guide the film’s production. Throughout the later months of 2020, Bibonne traveled from village to village in Vietnam, learning everything about the unique music styles in each region.

Opéra de Saigon

Two important opera houses in Vietnam are crucial to the classical music scene: Ho Chi Minh City Opera House and the Hanoi Opera House. The opera house in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as the Opera de Saigon, hosts some of the biggest and influential artists and concerts each year. A few of the biggest pianists and violinists have played in the Opera de Saigon over the years. The Hanoi Opera House, or the Grand Opera House, is also home to many large concerts and events throughout the year. As the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is a bustling city with tons of cultural impact. A third, but much less significant, opera house is in Haiphong. While the city itself is a center for culture and industry in Vietnam, the opera house in Haiphong is nowhere near as influential as the others in the classical music scene in Vietnam. 

 

Hanoi Player

 

Despite French influences in many aspects of Vietnamese culture, their musical culture has remained independent of these French influences. “‘This idea of classical music is very different here, because in France… we have like 

François Bibonne speaks to Nguyen Van Cuong

Baroque music and contemporary music and classical music and all the stuff, Western classical music. Here {in Vietnam} they have this, but they also connect that to traditional music and to the Vietnamese folk songs,’ François told Việt Nam News.” The goal of Bibonne’s documentary is to highlight this distinct version of classical music. “I think we know quite well the place of classical music in Japan, China or even South Korea, but not enough in Vietnam in my eyes,” Bibonne says. 

 

In an interview with a Vietnamese news outlet, François Bibonne recalls his time in Vietnam two years ago, listening to the “backdrop of classical music performed by the great ensembles of the country.” During this visit, he was first introduced to the nuances of classical Vietnamese music. “When I am with the musicians, we are all immersed in an atmosphere relaxed, unprofessional, a million miles from what we know about European classical music. It allows me to reexamine the role of professional musicians while watching them evolve. They all tell me that we play to be happy!” he continued. 

Unlike classical music in the Western world, Vietnamese classical music takes on a special tone and style. Traditional

Speaking with Orchestra Director

folk song and culture is a prominent theme in the classical music scene. Often, both folk songs and classical music tell a traditional story, one that resonates with the Vietnamese audience. This unique style of classical music drew Bibonne, both as a music enthusiast and as a person of Vietnamese heritage. Classical music in Vietnam tells powerful and unique stories, which is something Bibonne believes is worth preserving. The documentary Once Upon a Bridge in Vietnam, will focus on preserving a traditional sense of Vietnamese classical music, discussing Vietnamese history and heritage, and introducing new ideas of classical music styles to the Western world, Bibonne’s most prominent audience. 

Throughout the pandemic, Vietnamese musicians have been forced to cancel all live performances. As vaccine rollout

Vietnamese Orchestra

begins, albeit slowly, the music industry is opening up again. The “We Return” concert by the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO), performed in June 2020, served as the massive reintroduction of music culture back into Vietnamese life. Now, in August, Vietnamese classical music will reach a broader audience as Bibonne’s documentary releases. 

Art Movement : Romanticism

Angelina Iosso,
SNHU Intern

Romanticism emerged in France at the turn of the French Revolution at the end of the 1800s. Romanticism fought against the ideas of the Enlightenment period and the Neoclassical period. The Enlightenment period focused on reason and individualism, Romanticism fought against that by putting the focus on nature or human action. This was to rebel against the idea of order and instead put the focus on the chaos happening in the real world. The Romantic Era peaked between the 1800s to the 1850s. During this time, the world was in turmoil, especially in France. It was post revolution in France but still reeling in the Napoleonic Era. When he was emperor, Napoleon sanctioned a turn back to the Neoclassical style which focused on order and praise for the past. Even though Napoleon was pushing this classical style forward, the new ideas of Romanticism were still moving their way throughout all of Europe and settling in France.  

 

Romanticism went against the idea of the mighty past and looked toward the future, and the impact the present will have on that future. Many artists used their platform to practice this style and find the Romantic in the everyday, especially natural events. They wanted to impact the viewer, and the artists did that through dramatic, emotional, and colorful pieces. One artist that exemplified the chaos of Romantic art was Théodore Géricault.  

 

Théodore Géricault used his artistic prowess to paint presentday events with magnificent scenes. In one of his most famous paintings, The Raft of the Medusa, he took a present day event and turned it into an almost historical painting depicting the gruesome aspects of what was happening in the present. The Raft of the Medusa depicts a gruesome shipwreck was a recent devastating event and Géricault painted it in pristine detail. This shocked viewers of the painting because the horrors of everyday life were not usually what art portrayed in that time. Modern artists take inspiration in present events all the time, and in other styles of that period, this was not the case. Before Romanticism, the art was frivolous, in the Rococo style or depicted actual historical events like in the Neoclassical movement. The art could be used as an allegory for present day events, but usually were not actually based on the present day. The Romantic Era switched this up. 

 

 

Géricault depicting this event shocked people because it forced the viewer to see the historical significance that presentday events can have on the world. He put this recent shipwreck in the same style as past major paintings to put this event on par with those major historical events. In doing this, Géricault made a statement about the importance of this event and showed people why they should care. By using The Raft of the Medusa painting to show the importance of learning from the present, Géricault exemplified the ideas of Romanticism in his art.  

 

Hubert Robert was also a father of the Romantic period. Hubert Robert was sometimes called Robert de Ruins because of his focus on idealizing the ruins of the structures he painted. Robert studied art in Italy, so many of his paintings were of Italian structures and this one pictured is The Imaginary View of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre in Ruins.

 

 

Robert was a quintessential Romantic painter because he took powerful and culturedefining monuments, similar to the Louvre, and showed how naturally without human intervention they would stand up to the test of time. This dilapidated view of a historical monument once again made viewers of the painting feel emotional about the subject.  

 

Romanticism is all about how much of an impact the artist can have with their art on those who view the piece. Romanticism is allowing the viewer to feel emotion about their present so they can think about where they want to go in the future. Robert painted these structures as swallowed up by the natural elements to show the viewers even such important places in history are not protected from the passage of time.  

 

Lastly, you cannot write about the Romanticism era in history and not include Eugène Delacroix. Delacroix’s paintings became the face of Romanticism in the 19th century. From the beginning of his career, he was the leader of the school of the French Romantics because of his dedication to the ideas of the Romantic Era. Delacroix painted historical events, but recent ones were still present to the general public. One of his most famous works that has gone down in history is his painting Liberty Leading the People.  

 

Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix is an iconic representation of French history vivid art. A female representation of Liberty is seen brandishing the French flag and charging into the revolutionary battle. The men in the foreground are following her and fighting for her. These men fighting around her show how far reaching the call for liberty was during the revolution because different classes are fighting for the cause. There are members of the bourgeoisie, the man on the left of the painting with the larger musket, fighting with members of the working class, like the man standing with his arm raised to the right of the painting. Delacroix wanted to show how the call for liberty was reaching everyone, and the fight is by all not the working class.  

 

This piece was not received well during its inception, especially since Delacroix was a royal painter, but it still made its mark on history. Liberty Leading the People has become a symbol of so many other notions and causes. Delacroix used the Romantic style of dramatizing the present to show the importance of this symbol to the French people, especially after the Revolution.  

 

Throughout history, the likeness of this scene has been used to create an allegorical symbol for the new viewers throughout recent history. This has been through the art of the time of the painting and recent art as well. Two recent examples of this artwork creating an impact on history are in two vastly different mediums. One medium Liberty Leading the People was used in the cover art of Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida. 

 

 

Another representation of this painting in modern day media is as symbolism in the 2012 musical adaptation of Les Misérables. The writer, Victor Hugo, was a Romantic era poet. Les Misérables was an iconic play about the hardships going on in France during the French Revolution. This play has stood the test of time and in it, the Romantic Era theme has traveled with it.   

 

Les Misérables
(2012 adaptation)

This scene and many others are shown of the characters on the brigades in the same triangular formation as showcased in Liberty Leading the People. This shows the Romantic Era themes are not only interesting to learn about in the time of inception, but are now still a portion of French culture that is impacting the present day. 

 

More information can be found on Les Misérables and other works by Victor Hugo in last week’s post .

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