Upper School French Teacher Andréanne Annis took a professional development day in late January to serve as a translator/interpreter for a Fort Worth Sister Cities International (FWSCI) visit with a French Delegation from Nîmes.
The network of Sister Cities began with Reggio Emilia, Italy, and continues to grow as more and more Fort Worthians discover the rewards of citizen diplomacy. While many Sister City relationships are created through a more formal process – where mayors meet and become friends, then involve the rest of their community – the Fort Worth Sister Cities also welcomes input from the community as to which cities might make valuable partners for Fort Worth.
With the overarching goals of promoting Fort Worth and uniting the world, FWSCI focuses on making connections through education, arts, culture, economic development and humanitarian assistance. Programs are designed to help develop a lifelong global perspective, to expand Fort Worth’s influence on the national and international stages, and to boost local economy – all in service of the larger goal of creating a more peaceful world. The organization leads youth and adult exchanges, as well as provides global education, business and professional programs, and protocol training.
Currently, Fort Worth has eight Sister Cities: Bandung, Indonesia; Budapest, Hungary; Guiyang, China; Mbabane, Swaziland; Nagaoka, Japan; Reggio Emilia, Italy; Toluca, Mexico; and Trier, Germany. The meetings Annis took part in on January 30 included Nîmes’s Mayor, two Deputy Mayors, the President of Nîmes University, the President of the Nîmes Chamber of Commerce and the Assistant Director of the Mayor Cabinet, as well as five members of the FWSCI organization. FWSCI is in the process of courting Nîmes as its possible ninth Sister City.
Throughout the day on January 30, Annis took part in meetings helping both sides to understand information being discussed and disseminated. The French delegation had meetings with Mayor Betsy Price and at Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Annis also did a bit of sightseeing with the delegation so they would have a cultural Fort Worth experience. “Everyone enjoyed the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo!” she noted.
“My brain was challenged all day,” Annis said. “It was a wonderful and truly intellectually stimulating experience. I know I made a difference in an afternoon meeting as an important business deal wasn’t going to be lost in translation yet in cultural understanding. I am proud of the extra skills I used to help them seal the deal. I will be highlighting cultural competencies even more in my classroom.”
Annis also led an FWSCI youth delegation to Budapest on March 10-18 during spring break. She is likely to lead another delegation to Nîmes in the future.
Committed to developing global citizens and using French language skills beyond the classroom, Annis also will lead an FWCD trip titled Cultural Exploration in France: Normandy and Paris with Middle School French Teacher Rob Napier and FWCD Parent Marc Melcher. The 16-day trip (May 30-June 14) is a “homemade trip” created by Annis. Thanks to Melcher, whose great-great-great-great grandfather, François Guizot, was Prime Minister of France under Louis Philippe, 14 students will stay at The Schlumberger House (le Val Richer), the home to where Guizot retreated after the French Revolution. The house later became Nazi Headquarters during WWII. This home is listed in guide books, and the family and staff there speak only French.
This fantastic educational opportunity also includes two community service opportunities as well as visits to Mont St-Michel, the Normandy landing beaches during the 74th anniversary celebration on June 6, Giverny and Monet’s museum, Honfleur, Bayeux and its tapestry, Lisieux and its cathedral, Deauville, Versailles and its castle, and the Louvre and Eiffel Tower in Paris.