An interview with the manager of Aden’s French cultural center:A place of dialogue [Archives:2003/684/Community]

November 9 2003

With Yemen's president recently paying a visit to Paris to sign many agreements, which include educational assistance for teaching French language at secondary schools in Yemen, French is one of the doors opening to modern Yemen. With this in mind, Mohmmad Saeed Al-Mekhlafi from the Yemen Times met with Sebastien Deledicque, the manger of French cultural center in Aden. Following is their conversation.

Q: As the general manger of French cultural center in Aden, what is your personal view about Yemen?
A: I'm really happy to be here in Yemen and especially in this interestng city Aden, which is considered to be an important and famous port. The French people know that this city received many French writers who wrote about it, and for each French Aden is the “mythical port” as the famous French scientist Jose Marie Bel said in his book recently written about Aden.

Q: Have you ever been to Yemen? If yes, what are your views about this visit?
A: Yes, I have been in Yemen. I spent eight months in Aden as a teacher in the faculty of education and in the French department. I have not known the rest of the country except Sana'a and Mekhlaf-Sharab in Taiz. Surely Yemen is a rich country for its environment, architecture, historical places and natural sights as well.

Q: The French culture center is the only one in Aden, can you tell us about the contribution of this center towards the mission of teaching French language?
A: Well, the programme of the center contains through its name “French cultural center and for linguistic cooperation”, so the main goal for the Pedgagogic Staff is to offer the opportunity to learn from the beginning by using modern skills. Briefly, our goal is the excellence in teaching French language, therefore the Pedagogic programme is frequently controlled and many opportanities are offered by the French Embassy to our local teachers to perfect their capacities in French. In a second time, as a cultural center, our mission is to be, firstly, a window opened on the French civilization, her culture, her technology, her vitality, and secondly, to affirm itself as a partner for the local artists, painters, musicians, to work with them and to present their arts to the French community living in Yemen.

Q: Can you evaluate understanding of the Yemeni students for learning French?
A: The French linguistic cooperation began in Yemen in the 1990s, till now. We are honored to see that our language is taught in the Yemeni educational life from secondary to university. In Aden, the French department registers more than 100 students yearly. French is taught in the Faculty of Education and in the secondary, so we are in front of a lot of students who have already been initiated to this language and who want to perfect their capacities in it. On the other hand, the level of these students is the fruit of the perfect work of the Yemeni teachers specialized in French, so we are really enthusiastic. Now it is not so rare, in daily life, to meet some Yemeni students speaking French in the streets of Aden.

Q: What is your future plan?
A: Now we are trying to pay more and more attention for developing the center and presenting modern services and equipment for our students to continue their learning project deservedly. Nowadays, we are having a lot of students in the center who have finished their classic formation, so we have to make all teaching activities easy to be understood by different classes of students, and encourage them to practice the French language with each other. On this point I would like to thank, on behalf of the center's staff, all the students for their fidelity. We are also studying and discussing how to affirm the mission of the center that I presented at the beginning: to be a window opened on the French civilization. And we will try to present various pedagogic activities to our students in the French Cultural Center. Finally, and it's now a tradition for the center we are actually working on the cultural program for 2004. We hope that we will present concerts, expositions and others.

Q: Any last comment you would like to mention in this interview?
A: Nothing, but to say thanks for all Yemeni people for their hospitality, and many thanks again for the Yemen Times.