Shouldn’t we be taking care of our own to prevent opportunities like these? From milblog OpFor comes a public diplomacy operation by the French on U.S. soil:
This Christmas, Santa Claus is leaving his reindeer behind and hitching a ride on… a French warship! The Jeanne d’Arc, a helicopter carrier which serves as a training ship for French navy midshipmen, will dock into New York Harbor on Friday December 28 carrying over 10,000 books destined for disadvantaged American students, giving new meaning to the expression “turning swords into ploughshares.” The French books, including dictionaries and textbooks, but also novels and comic books, will be offered to the children participating in New York’s newly launched French-English dual-language programs, as well as to New Orleans schools devastated by hurricane Katrina.
A delegation of students from the Jordan L. Mott Middle School (CIS 22) in the Bronx, one of the three schools that have launched a French-English dual-language program this year (the other two are PS 125 in Harlem and PS 58 in Brooklyn), will be welcomed on-board the ship at 2pm on the 28 th. Following a performance by their school band and a tour of the two French ships (the Jeanne d’Arc will be accompanied by the antisubmarine warfare destroyer Georges Leygues), they will take delivery of the books on behalf of all the schools involved. Sixty of the eighty crates will remain in New York, while the rest will be shipped overland to New Orleans.
At 3pm, the ship’s commander, Captain Hervé Bléjean, will hold a press conference in the presence of Catherine Petillon, the French Embassy’s Attaché for Educational Affairs. To attend this conference, please RSVP to Amaury.email@example.com.
This unusual delivery was initiated, coordinated and financed by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, but the books themselves have been donated by two French associations, Adiflor and Biblionef. Both specialize in providing French-language books, which are either new or in excellent condition, to needy children throughout the world. The French Embassy’s contribution comes in addition to the $100,000 the French government has recently earmarked to support dual-language programs in New York City public schools.