French President Emmanuel Macron is making the most of his trip to New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly: he’ll be inaugurating a new fund dedicated to French-English bilingual programs in the United States. The program’s launch ceremony will take place September 20 at CUNY, announced the cultural counselor, Bénédicte de Montlaur, at a press conference on Monday, September 11, at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
The fund — which provides $400,000 per year for five years — was created to cover human and material needs for bilingual programs launched in public American schools during the last few years. Annually, $150,000 will go toward annual grant programs, $180,000 toward scholarships for future teachers, and $70,000 toward helping schools how French teaching interns. This type of program, where teaching happens in both French and English, is incredibly important. There are some 150 all together in the country. According to de Montlaur, “It’s about creating a support mechanism that can make the difference.”
The new fund is financed primarily by companies like Axa, Bic, Best Buy, and Chanel, who is the largest contributor. Presently, 1.4 million dollars have been raised for the effort. Schools benefitting from the fund will be announced in October, once programs have made their submissions for request, which will occur during the month of September.
This bilingual program kick-start is reminiscent of Macron’s decision to “restore” bilingual classes in France.
Funding specifically for the instruction of French teachers, of which there is a shortage despite the boom in bilingual programs, will also be offered.