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UMFK to host visiting professor from France interested in Valley's Acadian/Franco-American culture

December 12, 2003


A visiting University of Maine System Libra professor from France will spend the day on December 17 at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and in the St. John Valley, learning about the local area and culture, and discussing his project, which aims to involve the Franco-American population of Maine in the development of existing relationships and the creation of new relationships between the U.S. and France.

Jean Fried, a professor at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, is spending this academic year teaching and working within the state university system. He currently teaches a course on sustainable co-development (international cooperation as an instrument of sustainable development) at the University of Southern Maine and a course on European Union institutions and environmental policy at the University of Maine at Orono.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Fried has been working with U-Maine's Franco-American studies program on a project designed to establish new and stronger ties between Maine and France, as well as other francophone countries.

The premise of Fried's study is based on encouraging political and business leaders to work through the cultural and linguistics heritage of the Franco-American population of Maine to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships.

His proposed research project would study the relationships between the economic development and integration and the culture and language of the Franco-American community in Maine.

Specifically, Fried's work would examine the impact of the English speaking environment on the Franco-American population, its identity, its language, its behaviors, its ways of thinking and acting with respect to its French origins and identity and the evolution of the French people in France.

Additionally, the project would look at the specific economic evolution and trends of the Franco-American population and their possible relationships to the cultural environment of this population and the stresses imposed on this environment.

Fried, who will be joined by his daughter Deborah, as well as Susan Pinette, the Director of the Franco-American studies program at U-Maine, will discuss the project with members of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council on December 17 between 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Centre culturelle et historique du Mont Carmel in Lille, as part of a day-long visit to the Valley, hosted by UMFK.

In addition to the Heritage Council, Fried will meet with the executive board of Le Club Français, tour UMFK's campus and the Acadian Archives, and visit the Maine Winter Sports Center.

Fried's afternoon itinerary will consist of a guest lecture presented to UMFK's faculty and a meeting with members of the faculty to discuss an ongoing research project on the establishment of an international network of observatories for sustainable development.

Fried has studied in France and the U.S., at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD in physics in France, and has been a visiting professor in many universities, including Western Australia in Perth, Brazil in Sao Paolo, Oklahoma State in Stillwater and Arizona State in Tucson.

He is presently an adviser at the ministry of public works, transportation, lodging and tourism in Paris on sustainable co-development. From 1976 to 1996, he was an adviser on water management, sustainable development and international cooperation at the European Commission in Brussels, the executive institution of the European Union.