Vancouver, B.C. March 14th, 2013 – The French International School of Vancouver has honored the legacy of visionary Jacques-Yves Cousteau— the most celebrated French defender of marine ecology— by renaming itself The French International School Cousteau and pledging to make environmental awareness a significant part of its ethos and curriculum.
The French International School Cousteau becomes the first French International School in the world to be granted official permission by the Cousteau Society to bear its name. An annex school, named Calypso in memory of Cousteau’s infamous ship will also open its door in September 2013. Located in the South Granville area, this annex will offer a preschool program.
The French International School Cousteau has pledged to honor Cousteau’s passion for, and committment to, marine ecology through a partnership with the world-renowned Cousteau Society and Vancouver Aquarium, that will make marine ecology a major part of the school’s day-to-day curriculum. The French International School Cousteau will teach students the Cousteau philosophy—«To Know, To Love, To Protect ».
Cousteau is recognised around the world as a visionary, dedicated to protecting aquatic life, and at the forefront of raising global environmental awareness. He was also an accomplished artist, receiving international acclaim for his work as cinematographer and photographer.
« I salute the French International School of Vancouver’s initiative to take on the Cousteau name, » said Diane Cousteau,one of the directors of the Cousteau Society and daughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. « Throughout his life’s work, Commander Cousteau believed education was the foundation for meeting future challenges, and he believed in educating youth with the knowledge and passion to make tomorrow’s crucial decisions to build a better future. I hope his name will inspire in students the thirst of exploration and knowledge, and the curiosity and determination that defined Commander Cousteau. »
The new Blue curriculum embraced by students and teachers features:
- An awareness program, in which the discovery of marine fauna and flora and J.-Y. Cousteau’s work put ecological concerns in context ;
- Educational projects on the subject of the environment. For example, an original ‘Musical Audio Guide of the Underwater World’ is being put together by the middle school students of Grades 7 and 8 and an original mural of the aquatic underworld is being painted by the pre- school children.
- Regular visits by the students to the Aquarium ;
- Involvement in the cleaning of British Columbia’s beaches ;
- Educational support from a marine biologist, holder of a Masters degree in Sciences.
The event has been honoured by the presence of Tarik Chekchak, Director "Science and Environment" of The Cousteau Society.
Biography of Tarik Chekchak
Tarik is an environmental Engineer by training. He is a specialist of the integrated management of natural areas, taking into account the natural assets as well as the socio-economic and cultural aspects. His approach also aims to stimulate the emergence of "biomimicry" - innovations inspired by Nature, helping to reach sustainable development targets. Tarik is also Secretary of Cousteau Divers, a participatory science program led by Pierre-Yves Cousteau, the youngest son of Jacques Cousteau, a program involving divers around the world. Trained in France and Canada (University of Montreal and University of Rimouski), he worked as a scientist in Quebec and in France with the National Museum of Natural History, and more recently as an expert to the French government to help define the strategic guidelines for the management of marine and coastal areas . For over ten years, he is regularly expedition leader and lecturer onboard polar ships.