January 28, 2005
A visiting delegation of ten Ukrainian education administrators will visit the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus on Tuesday, February 8, to learn about the Acadian Culture and how local educators are teaching it to area students.
The educators, who will be visiting Maine for three weeks, are participating in a Community Connections program through the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Members of the delegation from the city and region of Zaporizhzhia, which is located in southeastern Ukraine, will be accompanied by program coordinators and translators.
They will arrive on the UMFK campus at 4:00 p.m. on February 8, to first meet with Gil Albert, assistant professor of education.
Albert will speak on the development of bilingual and cultural education initiatives in the local school districts and at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, during a two-hour session, which will also include a period of time for questions.
Albert, who joined the education faculty at UMFK in fall of 2000, is a well-known and well-respected leader in area of bilingual education.
He has served as the director of the Caribou bilingual education program, as an instructor of French for the University of Maine at Presque Isle, assistant professor of French and bilingual education at UMFK, director of the MSAD 33 (Frenchville/ St. Agatha) bilingual education program, and director of the Northern Maine bilingual education program.
From 1995 through the spring of 2000, Albert served as director of L'Acadien du Haut St-Jean, the kindergarten through eighth grade French immersion program in the Madawaska and SAD 24 (Van Buren area) school districts. In 1998, the program was one of five in the nation honored as a "Portrait of Success" by the National Association of Bilingual Education and Brown University.
Following their time with Albert, UMFK President Richard Cost will host a traditional Acadian Dinner for the visiting delegation, which will be attended by a dozen campus and community leaders.
The Ukrainians will be treated to such local delicacies as pot-en-pot, ployes, and pudding chaumeur as part of the experience designed to introduce them to the local culture.
The Community Connections program offers homestay-based practical training opportunities in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, local government officials, legal professionals, non-governmental organization leaders and other professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Maine has hosted Community Connections programs since 1995 under the direction of Debra Andrews and Lynne Lovett.
Since 2001, the program has been run through Southern Maine Community College, which was awarded funding through the State Department to host programs through the college's Center for Global Opportunities.
SMCC works with selected participants to prepare a program that includes a hands-on internship with volunteer businesses and organizations of similar interest, and a cultural experience with Maine families who volunteer to open their homes to the participants.
To date, the State of Maine has hosted over 20 Community Connections groups of business and professional people from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Moldova.