On Saturday, 3 February 2018, upon the invitation of the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation, the French President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs Brigitte Macron met and exchanged with students of two schools in Saint-Louis at the Hôtel de la Poste, on the occasion of the symbolic launch of the writing contest entitled “Aviation to Connect Youth” dedicated to the centenary of the Latécoère-Aéropostale airmail route.
This event was also an opportunity to promote the importance of French-speaking communities through a shared language and to honour the memory of the pioneers of the Aéropostale (French airmail service).
This new writing contest for youth, a unique cultural and educational project initiated by the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation, is carried out in partnership with the Raid Latécoère-Aéropostale, the Labo des Histoires and publisher Gallimard in order to commemorate the centenary of the first transcontinental airmail service created in 1918 by visionary entrepreneur Pierre-Georges Latécoère.
It will offer a series of writing workshops conducted by internationally-renowned writers for the benefit of children, teenagers and young adults throughout 2018 worldwide, in particular in the main stopovers of the Latécoère-Aéropostale aviation adventure race in France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal.
During their meeting with 7th grade schoolchildren of the Antoine de Saint Exupéry French school and students of the Sidi Ndiaye secondary school, the French President and his wife officially launched this cross-cultural project from Saint-Louis, a symbolic city of the Aéropostale, in the presence of personalities such as the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, and the Ambassador of France to Senegal, H.E. Mr. Christophe Bigot. This event was organised with the support of the French Embassy in Senegal and the Institut Français of Saint-Louis.
The schoolchildren and the Head of State read the letters that they had specifically written for this event, before putting them in an Aéropostale postbag to mark the launch of this unique writing contest designed to connect youth and to participate in enhancing the influence of French-speaking communities. Over the following months, children in France and around the world will be invited to do the same: to take up their pen and write a letter. These letters will then be collected, transported and distributed from September 2018 onwards during the Latécoère-Aéropostale aviation adventure race, which will unite Toulouse to Dakar.
Mail will be presented randomly at each stopover during meetings with the local populations. After the conclusion of the aviation adventure race, the best letters will be selected and published by Gallimard in a book of short stories and also presented in order to showcase the creativity of youth and the richness of the French language. This unique book can also be used as a tool for the organisation of literary encounters during an exceptional exhibition paying tribute to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry planned for 2019 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of the writer-cum-pilot and the 80th anniversary of his famous novel “Wind, Sand and Stars”.
Discover this event in Saint-Louis on the official website of the French President’s Office:
Watch the video of this meeting on Facebook:
1- Selfie taken by the French President Emmanuel Macron with the schoolchildren of Saint-Louis.
2- The President of the French Republic reads his letter to the children.
3- The students thank President Macron on behalf of their schools.
4- H.E. Mr. Christophe Bigot, Mr. Hervé Berardi, Mrs Brigitte Macron, a schoolgirl and her father, and Ms Hélène Pichon.
5- Mr. Charles Autheman, Ms Audrey Azoulay, Mr. Nicolas Delsalle-Mun, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Mr. Hervé Berardi holding a postbag containing letters written by President Macron and the students.