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  • French Culture department Chairman Dr. Silvia Adler (fourth from left) with student certificate recipients

    French Ambassador to Israel: "Bar-Ilan University counts nationwide and beyond Israel's borders"

    Date: 2014-12-10 Hour: 15:17

    Visiting Bar-Ilan University for the first time since becoming Ambassador of France to Israel, His Excellency Patrick Maisonnave called the University "a place that counts nationwide and beyond Israel's borders".  Amb. Maisonnave also praised the University's Department of French Culture – the only university department of its kind in Israel – for its work in promoting French culture, and said he looked forward to continued fruitful cooperation between the Department, the French Embassy, and the French Institute in Israel. 

    Amb. Maisonnave said he was proud to visit the home of Benjamin Netanyahu's 'Bar-Ilan Speech', in which the Israeli Prime Minister outlined his belief that the two-state solution is the necessary response to the conflict with the Palestinians.  "Bar-Ilan University is important because it gives the opportunity to prominent people to deliver important, courageous speeches that at least create the conditions for debate.  As far as France is concerned, universities have always been places for public debates," emphasized the Ambassador.

    In the presence of Mr. Olivier Rubinstein, Director of the French Institute of Israel and Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Amb. Maisonnave awarded certificates to BA students from the French department who successfully completed the DELF French as a foreign language exam. "I'm almost certain that learning French and the French culture is very important in the modern world now and tomorrow," he told the students.
     
    Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz noted that one of the many unique things about Bar-Ilan is that it is the only university in Israel where French culture can be studied as an autonomous discipline.  The University is proud of this distinction not only because of the special relationship between Israel and the Jews of France, but also because of the very important role French culture plays in the universal culture.  Rabbi Prof. Hershkowitz pledged that the University would do its utmost to maintain, and even enlarge, its French program. 

    Prof. Shifra Baruchson Arbib, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, noted that France was the first nation in the world to recognize the importance of freedom of the individual.  As such, French scholars, intellectuals, singers, and commentators have made tremendous contributions throughout history to human, leisure, literary, philosophical and Jewish culture. "Without freedom, equality, and brotherhood, the national motto of France, we wouldn't have the free modern world," she said.

    Dr. Silvia Adler, Chairman of the Department of French Culture, highlighted the ongoing cooperation between the Department, the French Embassy and the French Institute in Israel.  This cooperation has included the Embassy's awarding of short-term scholarships for one month of total immersion French learning in languages centers in the French cities of Besançon, Dijon, Vichy and Clermont-Ferrand.  "Our cooperation with the French Embassy and the French Institute in Israel provides a valuable asset for our researchers and our students. It enriches our research and our teaching and, most importantly, boosted our students' motivation and growing interest in all aspects of French culture," said Dr. Adler.  

    The Department of French Culture, said Dr. Adler, is the only one in the world which dedicates specific courses to the study of the Judeo-French identity and culture, through its representation in French literature and history.  This year the Department won a grant from the Council for Higher Education for a project dedicated to bringing together French students and the Francophone population in Israeli retirement homes in an effort to document their life stories.  In addition, Prof. Roselyne Koren has been appointed member of the Knesset's science and technology committee as Bar-Ilan University's representative in order to promote the status of the humanities.

    Responding on behalf of the student certificate and scholarship recipients Maya Pecker and Daniel Rotem spoke of their experiences during their month-long stay in France and joked how strange it was for them, coming from the endlessly hot summer days in Israel, to wear long sleeves in August, and how they nearly froze at the summit of a mountain they climbed.  Third-year student Reut Koriat expressed great pleasure at the fact that due to her studies she is now able to respond in French to her Francophone family.