Corporates Magazine

Patrice Gilles; Director of Alliance Francaise in Ghana [Interview]

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

Director of the Institute, Patrice Gilles, [right]
Director of the Institute, Patrice Gilles, [right]
I am the General Delegate of Fondation Alliance francaise in Ghana and I have travelled to many countries on several missions. I coordinate some missions/activities for the 5 Alliance francaise in Ghana. I hold an A Level Certificate in Mathematics and Physic, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Masters Degree in Teaching English. I used to be an English teacher but I’ve also done various jobs over the past 23 years: I was the head of a tourism company; I used to be a Pizza chef, wine seller, and HR manager among others. In 2004, I took up a job as an International Relations Officer of a regional education bureau of French Guyana. In 2007, I worked in Paris as coordinator of the Civil Service volunteer and National Scheme; I was therefore, in charge of recruiting volunteers, creating missions and protecting the environment among others.

YOUR FAMILY

I have four children (1 boy, 3 girls)

WHEN WAS ALLIANCE FRANCAISE CREATED?

Alliance francaise started in 1888 and rapidly spread throughout the world. It was established in Addis Ababa in 1903 and in Ghana in 1957.

WHEN DID YOU JOIN ALLIANCE FRANCAISE?

I joined the Alliance francaise at the end of 2007 and my first station was Arusha, Tanzania. I joined the Alliance francaise of Ghana in September, 2011.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU?

Various things motivated me to join Alliance francaise. In 20 years, I have worked with many associations and traveled to many countries like Australia and experienced many cultures. I have also coordinated many projects in the area of cultural and educational cooperation. I see the Alliance francaise as an institution that brings people together to share culture and other areas of humanity.

WHAT ARE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS?

A performance at Alliance francaise in Ghana
A performance at Alliance francaise in Ghana

Since assuming the reins of leadership of Alliance francaise, I have restructured various activity sectors. In the cultural sector for instance, I have sought to introduce strategic organisation of programmes. We have created La Paillote Takpekpe which encourages young talented people to develop their gifts. We have also promoted exchange programmes between countries.

For instance, artistes like K.Diabaté, who passed away not too long ago and Dela Botri of Ghana also benefited from the Mali-Ghana exchange programme. In terms of academic work, we are trying to switch to more modern forms of studies with the introduction of digital equipment, smart box, software, online studies and e-learning to teach French.

We have restocked and modernized the Resource centre, thereby turning it into a modern media centre with online access, among others.

MOST INTERESTING EXPERIENCE?

I have had many experiences in Ghana but an interesting one was during the Students’ Ball last year. It was one of the most exciting and successful events and most of all, it was organized by the students themselves. There were about a 1,000 students in attendance! I had to dance Zouk with a lady to the amazement of everyone. I did my best!

CHALLENGES

Our major challenge is increasing the number of Ghanaians who attend our programmes. There is a perception among Ghanaians that Alliance francaise is only for expatriates.

Alliance is run by a Ghanaian Board and has Ghanaian content. It is for Ghanaians and all other people who desire to learn French, to pursue other professional courses and also for those who take an interest in our cultural programmes.

VISION

My vision for Alliance francaise is to provide a modern infrastructure, a high quality service in the areas of culture and teaching. In addition to our institutions in Accra, Cape

Coast, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tema, I envisage the establishment of more branches in other parts of the country.

Alliance francaise in Ghana
Alliance francaise in Ghana

HOW ARE GHANAINS TAKING THE LEARNING OF FRENCH?

Ghanaians are gifted and talented with great appetite for French. They are curious about French manners and interested in learning the language for professional and other purposes.

HOW IS YOUR DAY LIKE?

My day starts at 8:30 in the morning and it involves coordinating and meeting with administrators, and staying in touch by regularly speaking with students, artistes and staff. It is always important to be abreast of what is happening in order to facilitate change.

WHY DID ALLIANCE FRANCAISE ORGANISE THE WOMEN’S DAY?

W e partnered the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) to organize this year’s Women’s Day in recognition of the role women play in society and to send a message to the world that we strive for the welfare of women. The focus was on the rights of women and the promotion of their talents. There were shows to celebrate the day with a high media coverage and interest group participation.

HOBBIES

I love music, good music, I love fishing especially fly fishing and I enjoy pétanque, a typical French game which has similarities with English bowling.

PHILOSOPHY IN LIFE

Intelligence, creativity and originality could be found anywhere and sometimes in unpredictable places. We should also cherish our children because they are the ones to transform our world for the better. Ghana and Africa have shown dynamism, creativity and hope which we should continue to rise up to.

 

Source: Panafrican magazine/ edition# 8 page 16

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