Cheryl Toman, associate professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, was named president of the Biennale de la Langue Française in December in Paris. Toman becomes the first female and the first American to lead the 54-year-old institution, which is registered officially with the French government.
The organization focuses on supporting academics and professionals worldwide who seek to promote the French language and the cultural diversity of the Francophone world.
As president, Toman will work with partners such as the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Association des membres de l’Ordre de Palmes Académiques, Ministre des Affaires étrangères et européennes and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication of France, among others.
Also among the president’s duties is to organize a weeklong world congress every two years that will unite researchers and professionals from around the world. At the event, participants deliver papers and work with educators of French in schools and universities of the host city and nation. In off years, a smaller one-day conference is organized in Paris. Toman also will oversee the publications of the organization.
She first participated in the Biennale in 2009, joining dozens of distinguished members from France and the French-speaking world. Toman takes over the Biennale from Roland Eluerd, a linguist, a former professor at France’s Ecole Nationale d’Administration and the author of many well-known books in French linguistics. Eluerd had led the organization since 1993.
As president, Toman seeks to maintain the rich traditions of the Biennale while attracting a younger generation of scholars, researchers and graduate students to bring new perspectives to the organization, thereby ensuring the organization’s future. Toman will promote and organize international exchanges and partnerships that speak to the mission of the Biennale and its members while adding multidisciplinary projects in the digital humanities.