Anne Brindley, a retired French lecturer from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT ), has been awarded the prestigious title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes académiquesby the French government in recognition of her innovative approach to the teaching and learning of French throughout her career.
On 21 December 2020, Anne Brindley was surprised to receive a letter carrying the logo of the French Embassy in Ireland. Simply expecting Christmas wishes from l’Ambassade de France en Irlande, she was delighted to discover in the letter from His Excellency, the French Ambassador to Ireland, Vincent Guérend, that she had been awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre desPalmes académiques.
The Ordre des Palmes académiques was first established by Napoléon in 1808 to honour members of the University of Paris and the order has since evolved into an order of merit with an honorific award to recognise the outstanding work of French nationals and Francophones who contribute to the education sector, and the promotion of the French language and culture.
Anne Brindley’s career at GMIT spanned 26 years. During that time, working with colleagues within the Galway International Hotel School at GMIT, she established strong links with institutions in France and Belgium – including the Lycée Hôtelier de La Rochelle, the Lycée Hôtelier d’Avesnes-sur-Helpe and the Haute Ecole Louvain en Hainaut. The links – still ongoing – have facilitated the development of innovative teaching and learning methods, such as the annual field trip for GMIT students to La Rochelle, industry placements, and the creation of Eurocatering – a free multi award-winning online platform developed with EU funding and dedicated to the teaching and learning of European languages for hotel and catering students (www.eurocatering.org ).
Anne Brindley said she is deeply honoured by this award.
“I share it with my colleagues in GMIT, in Ireland, across Europe, and with our students, all of whom have contributed to research, projects and activities over many years.” Anne Brindley is looking forward to receiving the insigna at a ceremony in the French Embassy Residence in Dublin later this year.
Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, Head of the GMIT Department of Heritage & Tourism, Humanities, Applied Languages & Communications, says “Anne always exuded a tangible love for the French language and culture, and this love inspired generations of students who passed through GMIT over the years to not only learn the language, but also to pursue careers with the language. Her academic legacy in GMIT is invaluable and long lasting.”
His Excellency Vincent Guérend, French Ambassador to Ireland, said Anne Brindley has forged close ties with France throughout her career.