Bringing Francophone Africa to the National University of Singaporeby Cheng Wai Yee

Estelle Yousouffa, journalist (centre, in brown), with Kelvin Tan, Secretary-General of ASEACC (1st row, second from right), Dr Daniel Chan (1st row, far right) and NUS students.

Co-organised by Africa South East Asia Chamber of Commerce (ASEACC) and National University of Singapore (NUS), a panel discussion about France and Africa was held at NUS on January 16, 2017. The panellists were Ms Estelle Yousouffa, independent journalist at French television channel “France 2”, Mr Kelvin Tan, Secretary-General of ASEACC and Dr Daniel Chan, NUS French lecturer. About 20 students from the school’s French language programme attended the interactive session, hailing from a huge spectrum of disciplines, including economics, law, political science, engineering and biology.

Prior to anchoring France 2’s foreign affairs programme “Un Oeil sur la Planete”, Yousouffa worked for reputable global media networks like such as Al Jazeera and TV 5 Monde. Capitalising upon her expertise in journalism and international affairs, Yousouffa spoke about topics ranging from the current refugee crisis in France to her experiences in reporting on piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

The topic of Francophone Africa was also widely discussed. Tan shared on the genesis of the Africa Southeast Asia Chamber of Commerce, and elaborated that there were more than 25 states in Africa today whose mainstream language was French. He stressed on the need for Singapore students to be open-minded to the cultures and opportunities in emerging markets such as Africa, and on the importance of language as a lever in opening doors and networks, especially in Francophone African countries. Coming from a part of Francophone Africa (island of Mayotte) herself, Yousouffa’s vivid description of her French-Mahoraise background as a mêtisse (mixed blood) illustrated how her exposure to different cultures and environments led her to excel in international relations and political studies.

Suffice to say, the session with Yousouffa was a welcome change to the usual NUS French classes. Dr Chan remarked, “I think it (was) a refreshing way for the students to practice conversing in French and learn something meaningful about global affairs at the same time.”

About Estelle Yousouffa

Estelle Yousouffa is an independent French trilingual broadcast journalist. She is a TV news anchor and investigative journalist for France 2’s foreign affairs programme “Un Oeil sur la Planète”. Upon graduating with a degree in journalism studies in Tours, France, she furthered her studies in international relations and political studies at Quebec University of Montréal (Canada). Estelle Youssouffa also worked as the Paris Correspondent for Al Jazeera English. She is a member of the Africa Leadership Network as well as an alumna of both the 2011 French-American Foundation’s Young Leaders programme and the 2013 German Marshall Fund’s Atlantic Dialogues Young Leaders programme. She created the Leaders Seminar which gathered 50 French American, Arab and African leaders in Marrakech in 2014 and Abidjan in 2016.

About Mayotte

Source: http://www.worldlicenseplates.com/world/IN_MAYO.html

Situated between Africa and Madagascar, the Indian Ocean island of Mayotte is the 101st department of France since 2011. It is part of the Comoros archipelago consisting of a main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island, Petite-Terre, and several surrounding islets. As of 2012, it has an area of 374 square kilometres and a population size of about 236,000. The official language French is spoken by about 65% of its population. Mamoudzou is the capital of Mayotte, located on the eastern coast of Grande-Terre.