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Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie raises awareness of Fransaskois culture

Paul Bogdan
A&C Writer

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is a yearly event across Canada that promotes Francophone culture. This year is particularly important to the Francophone community in Saskatchewan (sometimes referred to as Fransaskois) because the provincial government has named 2012 the Year of the Fransaskois.

The Institut Français at the University of Regina has been busy and will be busy all March organizing and hosting these events.

“This year, we wanted it bigger because 2012 is the Year of the Fransaskois. We really want to showcase the community on campus,” said Frédéric Dupré, manager of community engagement at the Institut Français.

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie features numerous events including art showings, concerts, lectures, and dances focused around Francophone culture and awareness, which is the largest effect of Rendez-vous de la Francophonie on the Francophone culture in Saskatchewan.

“More people are aware of it. People may be interested in taking part in activities, projects, and events like this, which is good too,” Dupré said.  “[Our goal is] to create awareness. Fransaskois is really active and have many activities and that has to be seen as something positive.

Dupré believes Francophone awareness has been growing in Saskatchewan in recent years with the help of advertising and policies of the provincial government, which has led to “better relations than in the ’50s.”

“There’s been a lot of work in the last years by the community to create advertising in the newspaper and on billboards and promotion by the government,” Dupré said.

Awareness also is growing amongst parents who want their kids to be bilingual, who are enrolling their children in French immersion schools.

“There’s interest by young parents that their kids are bilingual. I think there’s more and more interest in that, but it’s growing. In immersion schools, you can see an increase in enrollment in elementary schools. Having more than one language is positive and useful,” Dupré said.

Events for Rendez-vous de la Francophonie began on March 9 and run until March 30.

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