Discussion Series Presents Diversity in France

Of all the countries in Europe, France has the largest number of minorities. It’s population also has the most Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. With this in mind, a group promoting international human rights put together a presentation at MU Monday that focused on issues related to race and diversity in contemporary France.

Diversity issues in France have been an ongoing issue, even before riots tore through the suburbs in 2005. Yesterday’s discussion, titled “Exploring Diversity in France,” brought together scholars and the public to take a closer look at what diversity means in the country today.

But before a discussion of the issues can happen, people need to understand the larger context.

“What we are trying to share here is that to understand, to cover, what is going on in a specific country, if you don’t understand the internal logic of that specific country, the way you cover it will not be accurate,” said Director of Humanity in Action France Tara Dickman.

She said the presentation is a way to convey what the new generation, a generation who is well aware of the issues, is trying to achieve in France.

“The motto of France is liberty, quality, fraternity but too often we forget the word identity”

Cédric Maréchal is a graduate student in International Relations at the Sorbonne. He discussed the clear division between the two communities in France—sort of the old and new ways of thinking about France and what it means to be French. And Soraya Khadir presented the ways in which diversity is being addressed in the corporate sector.

The program, sponsored by the Embassy of France to the United States, heads to New York next where the group will speak at The New School.