“These students, before they are black, they are from a community. They are from an ethnic group. They are from a village; they are from a family. And although French is a colonial language and it’s not their first language, it is the bridge to all of those aspects of their culture. So making our program actually put the focus on language and not on race is huge because it’s so more complex and so more richer than just the race as an aspect of their identity. And I think it’s very important. It is for me as a black person growing up in Africa and living in the U.S now.”
Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara Bio
Born and raised in Senegal, Agnès Tounkara, studied Economics in France where she worked in the private sector before moving to the US for family reasons. Ever since, her career path has been driven by her passion for French and Francophone cultures. At the Alliance Française of Boston, she led the Education Department ; she then moved to New York and joined the French American School of New York where she oversaw the extracurricular activities, promoting the French language through many programs to students but also parents. As a francophone parent raising children in the US, Agnès was extremely excited to join the French Heritage Language Program (FHLP) two years ago as a Program Officer. For the past 14 years, the French Heritage Language Program has been helping francophone immigrants and young Americans with francophone background to maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage. Today, the program is present in New York through six schools of Internationals Network for Public Schools, in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program is also present in Massachusetts, Maine and Florida.
Episode 69 and Episode 61
Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara
The French Heritage Language Program
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