Past Features

March 28, 2005 (Vol. 1, No. 5)

Professor Thomas Spear Wins Prestigious Award

Thomas Spear (right) with French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres
Thomas Spear (right) with French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres

Prof. Thomas Spear (Languages & Literatures) traveled to Amiens, France, this month for the prestigious "Trophées de la Langue Française" (The Trophies of the French Language) where he was awarded "Le Trophée de la Diversité Culturelle" (The Trophy of Cultural Diversity) for his website "île en île" (Island to Island). Only four language trophies are awarded in total at the ceremony, which was hosted by famed French television personality Bernard Pivot.

The Trophy of Cultural Diversity is given to an individual or organization who has contributed to upholding or developing cultural diversity in the Francophone world. With biographies, bibliographies, photos and texts, "île en île" ( presents authors from the French-speaking islands of the world, such as Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Madagascar, Réunion, and Polynesia. It also contains an historical chronology and many audio recordings.

The awards were presented on March 16 in the Cercle Jules Verne–a theater that was inaugurated in 1889 by the writer Jules Verne. March is the month of Francophonie, and this award ceremony marks just one way in which the French language is being celebrated. The awards ceremony was broadcast on France3 and TV5; while in France, Prof. Spear was also interviewed by RFO television (France Ô).

More information on the awards ceremony is available at