French Ambassador to Speak on Renewal of U.S.-French Relations at UB in April

His public lecture, related library exhibitions, receptions are free and open to the public

Release Date: March 25, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- His Excellency Pierre Vimont, ambassador of France to the United States, will visit the University at Buffalo on April 8 to present a public lecture, "The United States and France and the Renewal of Transatlantic Relations," in which he will discuss the changing nature of relations between the two nations over the past several years.

His talk will take place at 3 p.m. in the Drama Theatre in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus, and will be Web-streamed live to interested area academic institutions and community organizations.

The lecture, which will be followed by a public reception for the ambassador in the atrium of the Center for the Arts, will be presented in conjunction with two exhibitions mounted in his honor by the UB Libraries.

Vimont's visit coincides with the 80th anniversary of the endowment that established the Melodia E. Jones Chair in French at UB, and the exhibitions were developed with the assistance of the distinguished French scholar Jean-Jacques Thomas, Ph.D., who currently holds that chair.

Thomas says, "This visit honors UB and reinforces the active presence of French and Francophone culture in Western New York."

Stephen Dunnett, Ph.D., vice provost for international education at UB, says, "This is truly a landmark event in the long history of France's involvement in the Western New York and Niagara region, and the credit goes to Pascal Soares, honorary consul of France in Buffalo, for making this visit possible,"

Vimont is the second sitting French ambassador to visit UB, and will be accompanied to Buffalo by Ambassador Guy Yelda, the new consul general of France to New York, and Pascal Delisle, Ph.D., cultural attaché and director of the French Embassy's University Partnership Fund.

Prior to the lecture, they will visit the library exhibition "Marshall, Jones and Park: French History and Culture and the University at Buffalo." Sponsored by the Libraries' Special Collections, it honors the distinguished scholars who preserve and perpetuate the study of French language and literatures at UB.

The exhibit will open April 6 and will run through June in the Special Collections Research Room, 420 Capen Hall, UB North Campus. The Research Room is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

It will give special attention to the illustrious history of the Melodia Jones Chair and the distinguished careers and work of past incumbents, among them Gérard Bucher, André Maurois Michel Butor, Jacques Roger, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Michel Serres, Roland Le Huenen and Raymond Federman.

They will also view the second exhibit, "The Julian Park Collection: Rare Books Portray French History and Culture," which will be on display in the foyer of Lockwood Memorial Library, UB North Campus, from April 6 to May 30.

It will present the extraordinary collection of Julian Park, founding dean of the UB College of Arts and Sciences, who developed and nurtured French studies at UB, facilitated the establishment of the Melodia E. Jones Chair and bequeathed his collection of French literature to the university.

Park, the son of noted physician Roswell Park, was the university's first historian and was French consul to Western New York from 1917-20. He was named an Officer of the French Legion of Honor for his contributions to strengthening the bonds of friendship between France and the United States.

Hours for Lockwood Library are available here or by calling 645-2814.

Prior to the ambassador's talk, Honorary Consul Soares will escort Vimont, Yelda and Deslile to Old Fort Niagara, which began life as a tiny wooden fort built by French explorer LaSalle in the 17th century. They also will be guests at a luncheon hosted by UB President John B. Simpson.

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