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Canada France 1604-2004
Canada France 1604-2004
Canada a space for imagination

Reports From the Youth Mobility and Exchange Round Table Workshops
Paris, February 5, 2004

WORKSHOP 5
Canada and Europe

Chair: Thomas Townsend, Counsellor - Health, Social and Academic Affairs, Canadian Mission to the EU
Recorder: Roger Michel, Association France-Canada Toulon


Eight people attended Mr. Townsend’s workshop, three offering a Canadian perspective (Mr. Townsend, Mr. Baudry and Ms. Cogne) and five a French perspective on behalf of the universities of Lyon, Nancy, Orléans, Strasbourg and du Sud (Toulon-Var IUT). By virtue of the composition of the group, discussion focussed essentially on the field of formal education.

After a brief recap of recent developments, Mr. Townsend pointed out that even if the flow of youth exchanges started out well on both sides of the Atlantic, young people from France have been going to Canada more readily than the other way around.

Mr. Townsend also pointed out that, apart from bilateral inter-university agreements that generate student mobility, a Canada-Europe/Europe-Canada Program has been in existence for some 10 years. The financial contributions to the program are practically identical (Europe - 900,000 euros and Canada - C$1.2 million), in support of five to six projects per year (in the order of 150,000 euros and C$200,000 from each side per project).

A broad exchange of views followed among participants, resulting in two significant points being noted and three wishes expressed.

Two significant points:

1) Among the reasons or causes of the de facto lack of interest of Canadians in coming to France may be a very realistic awareness on the part of Canadians of the nature of living arrangements in France—living arrangements including accommodation and lodging that simply do not come up to the standards to which Canadians are accustomed. Also, there is a lack of “mentoring” or support for their study paths in terms of availability, facility, ease and perhaps in general the friendly relations they are used to in Canadian society.

2) Looking more generally at student flow from both sides of the Atlantic, it is noted that, before the students, the teachers, the professors themselves, have been taking part in far fewer exchanges in recent years. There may also be a consequent lesser mutual inductive effect among teaching staff... could that explain this situation? This is more a question than an answer.

The three wishes expressed to Mr. Townsend:

First:
That Canada’s current promotional strategy to “sell” France to Canadian students include significant European content that would shift thinking from:
".....go to France, then Europe..."
to
"... go to Europe...it will take you to France.... "

Second:
That there be an effective information follow-up for participants to the conclusions from this Mobility day and particularly this Canada/Europe workshop.

Third:
That the Embassy’s initiative of inviting the provinces to Paris be furthered now through action by the Embassy in those provinces, where universities could act both as pied-à-terre and relay points in order to continue spreading the Canada/Europe and Europe/Canada message.

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you.