NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials from France and Louisiana have renewed an agreement to collaborate on educational and professional initiatives.

The state said in a news release Monday that Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, French Consul General Vincent Sciama, and representatives from the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and the state Department of Education re-signed the agreement. It was first signed in 1968 and now extends through 2024.

The state says the accords support French immersion programs in Louisiana.

You can read the press release below:

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, along with the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) and representatives from the Republic of France and the Louisiana Department of Education, celebrated to the continued collaboration of educational and professional initiatives between France and Louisiana with the re-signing of the France-Louisiana Cooperation Accords for 2020-2024. The accords were signed in the Cabildo in New Orleans, just outside the room where the Louisiana Purchase was finalized, transferring Louisiana from France to the United States in 1803.

 

“So much of Louisiana’s appeal as a travel destination is our cultural heritage, and a big part of our history is our French culture. This collaboration with France is a tremendous economic and strategic asset for Louisiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “The benefits of learning multiple languages extend beyond the ability to travel the globe or to communicate with diverse populations. This will give our students a wider range of opportunities in the job market, business, music, anything they want to move forward with in their life.”

 

First signed in 1968, the accords have provided a pathway for the support of French immersion programs in Louisiana classrooms and the Francophone culture, including preparing Louisiana students to become successful global citizens in the hospitality and tourism industry. Through the life of the accords, tens of thousands of Louisiana students have benefitted from French immersion classes supporting the redevelopment of this heritage language in our state. Additionally, the agreement will further the Escadrille Louisiane program, a teacher training program designed to help Louisiana build a cadre of native Louisiana French language teachers in our French Immersion programs.

 

Through the life of the accords, tens of thousands of Louisiana students have benefitted from French immersion classes supporting the redevelopment of this heritage language in our state. Additionally, the agreement will further the Escadrille Louisiane program, a teacher training program designed to help Louisiana build a cadre of native Louisiana French language teachers in our French Immersion programs.

 

“I would like to emphasize the willpower and the courage of the recruited French teachers who, despite the current conditions, maintain their desire and commitment to teach in Louisiana. I believe the unique bond between France and Louisiana that has existed for more than 300 years fosters this courage. The very place where we are signing these Agreements – the Cabildo – is a testament to that,” said Philippe Étienne, Ambassador of France in the United States.

 

In addition to Lt. Governor Nungesser and Ambassador Étienne, who signed via videoconference from Washington, D.C, signing the documents in English and French were Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in Louisiana; Chanda Johnson, Deputy Assistant Superintendent for the Louisiana Department of Education; Burnell Lemoine, CODOFIL President; and Dr. Tamara Lindner and Dr. Robin White, Co-Presidents of the CODOFIL Consortium of Colleges and Universities.