On November 17th, the French Ambassador to the Lebanon, Monsieur Bruno Foucher, came to the Saint Vincent de Paul School, which is part of the Lasallian network and has been collaborating for a number of years now with the Institut Français in Lebanon.
At a ceremony in the school theatre, the ambassador was welcomed by the principal of the school, Mlle Claire Saïd, by the president of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Mme Ella Bitar, by the MEL coordinator in Lebanon, Brother Emile Akiki and by the director of the Institut Français, Mme Véronique Aulagnon, and her staff.
The national anthems were followed by a dance performed by children of the upper section of the school.
Having expressed her great joy in welcoming the ambassador, Mlle Claire Saïd gave an account of the history of the links with the Institut Français and the CIEP de Sèvres since 2013 for the promotion of both French language and cultural awareness as a way of being more open to the world. These developments have meant that the school has been awarded two certificates for quality in education, namely the CELF and the LabelFrancEducation.
Mme Ella Bitar emphasised the partnership that exists between the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which dates back to 1889 and is concerned with caring for needy children so as to give them an education to make them responsible men and women capable of creating a better life for themselves.
Brother Emile Akiki as coordinator expressed his recognition and thanks to the various French authorities for education and teaching (the AEFE the CELF and the LabelFrancEducation). He pointed out that it was thanks to their support over the past 10 years that our Lasallian establishment had received such recognition and certification.
In his turn, M. Bruno Foucher thanked the principal and the whole school staff for their warm welcome and their assiduous collaboration with the Institut Français and other bodies. He expressed his appreciation for the partnership between the Society of St Vincent and the De La Salle Brothers, and he encouraged them to continue their efforts efforts to provide schooling for the needy children of the region and to prepare them to travel beyond the frontiers.
The second stage of the visit consisted in a tour of the school by M. Foucher accompanied by the principal, the staff of the Institut Français, Brother Akiki and others in positions of responsibility. He spoke to the pupils and asked them what they thought about the system for borrowing books from the Salon du Livre Francophone in Beyrouth. He also sat in on a Skype session between a class in the Saint Vincent School and another in the Collège Notre-Dame. With other pupils he had a discussion on women’s right to the vote, and he then moved on to see the mobile laboratory and also the mathematics department. The children of the infants section greeted M. Foucher with songs, and he finished his tour by enjoying a lesson in the plastic arts clay-modelling project.
The visit concluded with a photograph taken in front of the plaques bearing the certificates of the CELF and the LabelFrancEducation.