On Thursday, February 4, 2016, Deputy Cultural Counselor Thomas Michelon honored French professor, writer, and President of the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique, Dr. Anne Berthelot, with the distinction of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académique. The award was presented at a ceremony held at Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, during which eight awards were also presented to dual language student teachers.
Thank you for being with us this evening for our third annual ceremony honoring dual language student teachers.
More and more schools are offering a French dual language programs in New York City and around the country. This is good news for all of us. But, as we all know, finding talented and qualified teachers is difficult. Yet, excellence is key to the success of our dual language programs. And this is why tonight marks a very important moment for us all.
The success of the dual language program would not be possible without the exemplary involvement of the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique, its board, and its President, Anne Berthelot. For the last three years, the Société has generously provided scholarships of $5,000 each to support young teachers and aspiring student teachers in obtaining their Masters in Bilingual Education at universities around the city. This year we have student teachers from Touro College, City College, Brooklyn College, as well as Hunter College, with which the Embassy has partnered to create a Masters in French bilingual education.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence of Jennifer Tuten, Acting Dean of Hunter College School of Education. Thank you for being with us tonight.
But let me go back to Anne Berthelot!
For three years, you have been the backbone of this new scholarship program. And tonight is a special night! On top of the eight scholarships which we will be awarding tonight, we wish also to honor you, chère Anne, your career, and your numerous contributions to French culture and to education.
In addition to your noteworthy scholarly work, you are involved in one of the most worthy causes one can pursue: the education of young people and the teaching of language and literature.
Your passion for languages in all their diversity drove you to learn Old French and Provencal languages, as well as Old French literature. Vous êtes également une ancienne élève de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, agrégée et docteur es lettres.
When the urge for wanderlust became too strong you moved to New York to teach French at Barnard College. You then put down roots at the University of Connecticut where you are still teaching today.
Your devotion to literature transported you to more mystical lands — straight to the forest of Broceliande, the famous forest where Merlin’s tomb lies.
Your passion for mysticism and Arthurian literature makes you one of the most influential and prolific writers in this field. You have published more than 145 articles, 42 reviews, 34 books and 180 papers throughout your career!
You are also currently preparing an edition of a little-known Arthurian romance that may be considered as the source for the Perceforest, the Roman des fils du roi Constant. It will surely leave its mark on the efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding the myth of King Arthur.
Whether it is to transmit your attachment to French language or to communicate your passion for medieval times, you excel! One of your peers said about you: “Dr. Anne Berthelot is a brilliant professor of French and Medieval literature. Even if you think you wouldn’t enjoy learning about medieval literature, trust me, you will enjoy any of Anne’s courses.” We have no doubt about this.
Beyond the classroom, your drive led you to create La Société Internationale des Amis de Merlin and for the past 3 years to preside over la Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique, one of the rare organizations in the USA that supports doctoral students interested in French literature. Within this organization, you led Nouvelles Francographies, a French literature and culture journal. Every two years, the SPFFA holds an international symposium on French civilization and culture. A selection of articles is then gathered in Les Actes du Colloque of which you are the publishing manager. You have opened an extraordinary collaboration between the French Embassy and the Société over the last 3 years by encouraging these 8 exceptional awardees to embrace the profession of teaching French.
For all these reasons and achievements, we would like to thank you. In recognition of your commitment, vigor and expertise, which you put at the service of education, and your resolve to enhance and support French culture, I have the honor of conferring on you the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms.
Anne Berthelot, au nom du Gouvernement Français, je vous fais Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académique.