Ten NZ students to walk in the footsteps of their elders on WWI battlefields [fr]
Ten Kiwi students from ten schools around the country to travel to France from September 10 to 25, 2016 in the context of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
These highly motivated young New Zealanders will act as “Young Ambassadors” of their country, school and local communities throughout their visit of WWI battlefields and meeting with local families and schools.
They will be hosted by families from their Shared Histories partner school and immerse in French life while joining in the routine of their French peers. They will also visit the historical and cultural sites where New Zealand soldiers made a significant contribution to the war.
The trip includes the Somme battlefields, Longueval, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Le Quesnoy, and the Wellington Quarry in Arras and is likely to extend to Kemmel, Ypres and Messines in Belgium.
The ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the New Zealand participation in the Battle of the Somme, which will be held in Longueval on September 15th, 2016, will offer another opportunity for the “Young Ambassadors” to represent their country.
In the months leading to the trip, each Young Ambassador will lead their school into developing a collaborative project with a French partner. They are all dedicated to add huge value to the programme by sharing their learnings openly and regularly. Each is developing a Personal Project to support their school project and is committed to journal their Young Ambassador’s journey on their Shared Histories blog before, during and after the trip.
Raynald Belay, Cultural and scientific counsellor at the French Embassy was highly impressed with the quality of applications received from young students around New Zealand: “All ten selected students demonstrated strong leadership skills in their application, as well as a keen interest in French language and culture and an outstanding willingness to explore the deep relationships the two countries have formed ever since. This two-week trip is the Young Ambassadors’ once in a lifetime opportunity to discover North Eastern France and walk in the footsteps of their elders.“
This is the second Young Ambassadors Tour organised within the Shared Histories programme. In 2014, eleven senior students were selected to represent New Zealand at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Remembrance period, held on the Champs Elysées in Paris on July 14. The blogs they kept to share their experience, the media interviews they gave and the various public events they attended have served to inspire their younger peers to become a Young Ambassador 2016.
The Young Ambassadors Tour 2016 is part of Shared Histories, a France-New Zealand school programme created in 2014 to commemorate the Great War. The programme provides a platform for French and New Zealand schools to partner and work on an educational project of their choice. More than twenty teams have formed since it started. Together, the teams research, present and make sense of World War One and of its long lasting influence on their communities, their schools and their respective countries.
The Young Ambassadors tour is organised by the French Embassy in New Zealand, the National Adviser for French Language (ILEP) and the New Zealand Association of French Teachers (NZAFT) and supported by the French First World War Centenary Commission and the France New Zealand Friendship Fund.
Follow progress and get involved through the hashtag #ya2016nz