Retired French lecturer Anne Brindley awarded title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by the French government
Date Article Written:
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Anne Brindley, a retired French lecturer from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), has been awarded the prestigious title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by the French government in recognition of her innovative approach to the teaching and learning of French throughout her career.
On 21 December 2020, Anne Brindley was surprised to receive a letter carrying the logo of the French Embassy in Ireland. Simply expecting Christmas wishes from l’Ambassade de France en Irlande, she was delighted to discover in the letter from His Excellency, the French Ambassador to Ireland, Vincent Guérend, that she had been awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques. The Ordre des Palmes académiques was first established by Napoléon in 1808 to honour members of the University of Paris and the order has since evolved into an order of merit with an honorific award to recognise the outstanding work of French nationals and Francophones who contribute to the education sector, and the promotion of the French language and culture.
Anne Brindley’s career at GMIT spanned 26 years. During that time, working with colleagues within the Galway International Hotel School at GMIT, she established strong links with institutions in France and Belgium – including the Lycée Hôtelier de La Rochelle, the Lycée Hôtelier d’Avesnes-sur-Helpe and the Haute Ecole Louvain en Hainaut. The links – still ongoing – have facilitated the development of innovative teaching and learning methods, such as the annual field trip for GMIT students to La Rochelle, industry placements, and the creation of Eurocatering – a free multi award-winning online platform developed with EU funding and dedicated to the teaching and learning of European languages for hotel and catering students (www.eurocatering.org).
Students of French at GMIT have benefitted and continue to greatly benefit from strong Franco-Irish links. They can avail of placements and Erasmus exchanges opportunities. In addition, the Galway International Hotel School (GMIT) is a formal partner of the Franco-Irish Forum for Culinary Arts, Hospitality, and Tourism (FICAHT) that will have its next conference online 2021. GMIT will host the next face-to-face conference in 2022, bringing the latest in research to the institute.
The Chairperson of the conference organising committee in Galway, Dr Sarah Berthaud, who took over Anne’s position when she retired, says “I was so honoured to be appointed after Anne retired. She did Trojan work for the teaching and learning of French at GMIT. Languages can be sometimes forgotten about at third level as outlined in ’Languages Connect: Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026’, so Anne’s legacy is vital in ensuring our students avail of the best when it comes to teaching and learning languages. With Brexit now a reality and France being one of Ireland’s closest partners in the EU, this is more important than ever!”
Anne Brindley says “I am deeply honoured by this award. I share it with my colleagues in GMIT, in Ireland, across Europe, and with our students, all of whom have contributed to research, projects and activities over many years.” Anne Brindley is looking forward to receiving the insigna at a ceremony in the French Embassy Residence in Dublin later this year.
Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, Head of the GMIT Department of Heritage & Tourism, Humanities, Applied Languages & Communications, says “Anne always exuded a tangible love for the French language and culture, and this love inspired generations of students who passed through GMIT over the years to not only learn the language, but also to pursue careers with the language. Her academic legacy in GMIT is invaluable and long lasting.”
His Excellency Vincent Guérend, French Ambassador to Ireland, added ”Anne Brindley has forged close ties with France throughout her career. She has been able to promote French culture and language beyond borders with her numerous teaching and coordination actions. Her nomination to the Academic Palms rewards her work of strengthening Franco-Irish cooperation, which is even more significant today, as France is now Ireland's closest EU neighbour.”
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Anne Brindley, retired French lecturer (GMIT), who was awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by the French Government last month (Dec 2020).