LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection at USM/LAC will host a panel discussion at its January meeting from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Room 170, USM/LAC, 51 Westminster St. The session will be held in French.

The panel discussion will highlight the reasons that Franco-American and new French-speaking Mainers came to Maine and the subsequent challenges and successes that both immigrant groups experienced. Panel members will be Héritier Nosso and Jean Claude Redonnet.

Nosso was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is a community education and prevention coordinator at the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine (IRC of Maine). Previously, he worked as an attorney in the D.R.C. He represented his clients in various cases, specifically those related to sexual assault, criminal and juvenile justice. Nosso graduated from the Université Protestante au Congo with a bachelor’s degree in law.

Redonnet is a cultural historian researching the British and French empires from colonization to decolonization. An academic (Europe and the U.S.) and a diplomat (French Foreign Service), he was director of the Middlebury French School, Paris-Sorbonne director of research, and rector of Université Léopold Sédar Senghor for African Development in Alexandria, Egypt. Redonnet participated in the creation of the Maine French Heritage Language Program. He is a resident of Falmouth.

Doris Belisle-Bonneau, Franco-American Collection board chairwoman, will facilitate the discussion. Time will be allocated for audience reflections and comments.

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