French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte & Professor John Rassias To Address Boivin Center At Umass Dar

DARTMOUTH, MA. - The Boivin Center of French Language and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will sponsor an outstanding lecture and learning experience featuring His Excellency Jean-David Levitte, the French Ambassador to the United States and Professor John Rassias of Dartmouth College. The event entitled  A global perspective on foreign-language learning, is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Tripp Athletic Center on the Universitys main campus in Dartmouth.

DARTMOUTH, MA. - The Boivin Center of French Language and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will sponsor an outstanding lecture and learning experience featuring His Excellency Jean-David Levitte, the French Ambassador to the United States and Professor John Rassias of Dartmouth College. The event entitled “ A global perspective on foreign-language learning,” is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Tripp Athletic Center on the University’s main campus in Dartmouth. 

His Excellency Jean-David Levitte has been France’s Ambassador to the United States since 2002. He served previously as the permanent Representative of France to the United Nations from 2000 until 2002. 

Ambassador Levitte joined the Foreign Ministry in 1970 and served in Hong Kong, Vietnam in 1971 and in Beijing from 1972 until 1974. On returning to Paris he was assigned to the economic affairs bureau in the Foreign Ministry and after a year was transferred to the Office of the President of the Republic where he served from 1975 through 1981. 

In 1981 he was assigned as a counselor to the permanent mission of France at the United Nations. He returned to Paris in 1984 to become deputy director of the West Africa section at the Foreign Ministry, then deputy executive assistant to Foreign Minister Jean-Bernard Raimond in 1986. 

He was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in Geneva in 1988 and remained there until 1990. He returned to Paris that year to become director of the Asia-South Pacific section at the Ministry and then head of cultural, scientific and technical relations at the Ministry from 1993 until 1995. A career diplomat, the Ambassador is a former diplomatic adviser to French President Jacques Chirac, having served in that capacity from 1995 until 2000. 

Ambassador Levitte was born on June 14, 1946 in the village of Moissac in southwestern France. He holds a degree in law and is a graduate of the Institute of Political Science. The Ambassador also graduated from the National School of Oriental Languages where he studied Chinese and Indonesian. Ambassador Levitte is an officer in the Legion of Honor. He is married to Marie Cécille, and they have two daughters. 

Professor John Rassias is Chairman of the Department of French and Italian studies at Dartmouth College, and he is the developer of an innovative and highly effective approach to teaching languages, known as the Rassias Method or the Dartmouth Intensive Language Model. Professor John Rassias will demonstrate his inimitable method of learning French at the Boivin Center event.

The Rassias Method includes some fifty dramatic techniques that banish inhibitions, which retard the acquisition of foreign languages. It has been adopted by language teachers in hundreds of colleges, universities, and high schools in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and is currently being used for instruction in 180 languages. Professor Rassias has gone far beyond the classroom in expanding and sharing his innovative approach to the instruction of language and culture.

Professor John Rassias is a native of Manchester, New Hampshire and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bridgeport. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied at the Université de Dijon in France, where he received his doctorate. He also did research at the Sorbonne, where he studied French drama, and acted in Paris.

He joined the Dartmouth College faculty in 1965, and adapted the Rassias Method to a new academic community in 1967. Since his approach has been adopted by all language departments at Dartmouth College, including Chinese, French, German, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, the number of foreign language majors has steadily increased.

This statistic stands out as a startling reversal of the national trend in recent years where enrollments in foreign language courses have declined. Teachers introducing the Rassias Method in other colleges report a similar renewal of interest.

For more information please call Professor Mel Yoken, Director of the Boivin Center, via email at myoken@umassd.edu or via telephone at 508-999-8335. 


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