On his first official visit to Vancouver, the new Ambassador of France for Canada, His Excellency M. François Delattre, attended an event co-hosted by the Museum of Anthropology
at the residence of M. Alexandre Garcia, Consul General of France for Vancouver. The event was held to mark the 100th birthday of world-renowned anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, and to launch MOA’s new Claude Lévi-Strauss Visiting Scholar Fund.
Guests in attendance included M. François Delattre, M. Alexandre Garcia, M. Hadrien Larouche, Mayor Sam Sullivan, Councillor Elizabeth Ball, Martine Reid from the Bill Reid Foundation, Barbara Miles, Vice President of Development & Alumni for the University of British Columbia, UBC Dean of Arts Nancy Gallini, noted philanthropists Yosef Wosk, Henry Hawthorn, Kevin Leslie, Michael O’Brian, and Jacqueline Koerner, Museum of Anthropology Director Dr. Anthony Shelton, representatives from the French Consulate, donors, members of the Museum’s External Advisory Board, and Museum managers.
His Exellency’s visit not only honoured the contributions of Claude Lévi-Strauss to the field of anthropology, but also highlighted the close relationship between the Museum, UBC, and their colleagues in France and Europe. His Excellency François Delattre, Ms. Barbara Miles, and Dr. Anthony Shelton shared words acknowledging the importance of countries working together to bridge cultures across continents.
The Claude Lévi-Strauss Visiting Scholar Fund is a result of a generous $50,000 gift from noted Vancouver philanthropist, Dr. Yosef Wosk, OBC, matched by contributions of $25,000 each from the UBC Faculty of Arts, and the Museum of Anthropology itself. This $100,000 Fund will support visiting scholars to the Museum of Anthropology who are conducting research in areas including structural or symbolic anthropology, mythology, visual or performative culture, critical museology or in a similar area of arts practice.
Claude Lévi-Strauss is a world-renowned French anthropologist. A living legend, Lévi-Strauss is universally recognized as one of the preeminent scholars of the 20th century in the areas of anthropology, social sciences, philosophy, language, the arts, and literature. He is a man whose seminal research and prolific writings influenced generations of students; he has also served as a mentor for many leaders in a wide variety of social sciences. Lévi-Strauss visited UBC in 1973 and again in 1974. He is best known for inventing the concept of structuralism and his lifetime contribution to anthropology and more specifically his respectful interest in First Nations cultures of the Americas.
The University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology is one of Canada's foremost museums, renowned for its Northwest Coast collections and collaborative approach to working with First Nations and other cultural communities. The Museum is currently undergoing a $55.5 million expansion project entitled A Partnership of Peoples, which will extend the Museum's facilities by 50% by 2010.
François Delattre was appointed Ambassador of France to Canada in June 2008, following four years as French Consul General in New York (2004-2008), two years as Deputy Director of the French Foreign Minister’s Office (2002-2004), and four years as Press and Communications Director at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1998-2002). As a member of President Jacques Chirac’s Foreign Policy Team (1995-1998), François Delattre was responsible for European and trans-Atlantic defence and security issues and managing the Bosnian crisis. He had previously advised Foreign Minister Alain Juppé in his cabinet on these same issues (1993-1995) following two years with the Strategic, Security and Disarmament Department of the French Foreign Ministry (1991-1993). François Delattre was posted in Bonn at the French Embassy in Germany, where he was in charge of environmental issues and the economic consequences of Germany’s unification. Hadrien La Roche, Consulat General de France, has been attending the External Advisory meetings on the Ambassador’s behalf.