Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008
Representatives of three partners of a major cultural project mail their application to the National Society of Acadia Thursday, Nov. 27, in Edmundston. From left are Hugues Chiasson, of Edmundston, N.B., president of the Committee for the Promotion of Acadia of the Lands and Forests; Jacques Martin, president of the Forum of Mayors of Northwestern New Brunswick and Mayor of Edmundston; and Louise Martin, Madawaska, manager of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. Hosting the 2014 Congrès Mondial Acadien in the St. John Valley could draw as many as 100,000 visitors here. -Contributed photo
ST. JOHN VALLEY – Acadia of the Lands and Forests in Edmundston, N.B., let the National Acadian Society know that it is interested in organizing the 2014 World Acadian Congress.
Partners of the project are the Committee for the promotion of Acadia of the Lands and Forests, the Maine Acadian Heritage Council of Madawaska and the Forum of Mayors of Northwestern New Brunswick.
The Maine Acadian Heritage Council supports the candidacy of the Acadia of the Lands and Forests. MAHC is an organization that represents more than 40 different entities, such as towns, chambers of commerce, historical and cultural societies, and the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
“We often forget that there exists in our region a vibrant and extremely popular Acadian community. It’s not only in Louisiana that we find Acadians in the United States.
“Maybe we haven’t voiced our presence loudly enough to the Francophone world.
“We believe that securing this nomination would definitely solve that problem,” said Louise Martin, manager of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council.
“The economic impact on for the State of Maine would be great, as this event would be the most important socio-economic, cultural, and touristic event in the history of northern Maine, not only bringing together over 20 municipalities and numerous associations, but bringing 30,000 to 50,000 visitors from all around the world.
“This event would become a common project for a whole region, uniting the international border and giving us worldwide exposure.
“It is important that the St. John Valley gain financial support, not only from the municipalities throughout the St. John Valley, but statewide, in order to demonstrate to the National Society of Acadia (Société Nationale de l’Acadie) its seriousness about hosting the 2014 World Acadian Congress. “Cultural and historical events, along with numerous family reunions, would be highlighted during a month-long summer event in 2014,” said Martin.
An informational meeting open to the public will be held at on Thursday, Jan. 8, at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Nadeau Hall, 6:30 p.m.
Fourteen municipal governments in northwestern New Brunswick have already confirmed their financial support to this project, according to Jacques Martin, mayor of Edmundston and president of the Forum of Mayors of Northwestern New Brunswick
“It is very important to note that it is a region and not just a county that is making its intention known.
“The upper St. John Valley on the American side and three counties in New Brunswick (Madawaska, Victoria, and Restigouche) are presenting a united front in the hopes of being selected,” noted Hugues Chiasson, president of the Committee for the promotion of Acadia of the Lands and Forests.
“Geopolitically, our region is the only one in Acadia with international ties which hopes to organize and host an Acadian World Congress.
“The uniqueness of our candidacy lies in the fact that part of the United States and part of Canada, together, have applied for this honor.”
Chiasson said the deadline to present the declaration of interest document was November 30.
The Société Nationale de l’Acadie, the organization choosing the host town or region for the World Acadian Congress, will make its decision known in August.
Chiasson stresses the contribution of Étienne Deschênes, producer of the show “L’Acadie des terres et des forêts en fête” to this project.
“Étienne is the instigator of this endeavor. Everyone acknowledges his patriotic fervor, his attachment to a plural Acadia. Étienne, through his show, has produced miracles. We are hopeful that, with his guidance, we will secure the nomination of the 2014 World Acadian Congress.”
The Congrès Mondial Acadien is held every five years in a part of North America where Acadians have settled. In 2000 in was in southern Louisiana, in 2004 it was in the Clare region of Nova Scotia and in 2009 it will be in northeastern New Brunwsick known as the Acadian peninsula.
The event usually lasts several weeks.
Above-noted is reproduced with permission of the St. John Valley Times, a division of Cleveland Newspapers, Inc.