SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome and bienvenue to Honorary Consul, Anne Lair of France. Lair is a French professor at The University of Utah and works at the Utah state level as the director of the French basic language dual-immersion program.
Anne Lair was born in Tours, France but considers herself more at home in the French Pyrenees. Lair first visited the United States at the age of 19, thanks to her father who belonged to the Rotary Club. After returning to France, having developed a fascination and comfort with the kindness, positivity, and gentleness of Americans, Lair knew that she would later return to the United States for her studies. Lair returned in 1991 as an Amity scholar and spent time in Rhode Island, Illinois and Connecticut. Developing an appreciation for the American education system, Anne Lair began her educational pursuits by receiving her Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin. Soon after, she received her Master’s degree in French Literature at Ohio State University and then her Ph.D. in 19th Century French culture and literature in which she worked on the symbolism of food in 19th-century Paris. Along with her dissertation, Lair has also published textbooks on the French language.
Lair moved to Utah from Iowa, where she was a tenured faculty and is now an Assistant Professor/Lecturer of French at the University of Utah. She also is the Director of the French Basic Language program. She has been working for French Dual-Immersion Programs, currently serving as the French Bridge Curriculum Director for the state of Utah, and has served as the President of the Alliance Francaise for three years--until being asked to take on the role of honorary consul of France. In each of these duties, Lair’s mission has been to connect the French community by offering activities and gatherings that would bring French culture to Utah. When the French Consul came to Utah in search of a new French honorary consul for Utah. Individuals referred to Lair as the perfect candidate due to her work in education, her service in the Alliance Francaise, and her community outreach. In each of these roles, Lair is able to reach a wide area within Utah and a range of individuals with the goal of sharing information, and keeping the French community connected. Anne Lair has served as honorary consul since April 27, 2017.
Given her position as honorary consul, she can work towards her goal easily. Lair’s goal as the new honorary consul is to consolidate French education systems with the French language and culture in the United States. Due to the influx of French tourists visiting Utah, Lair’s job is crucial and is never finished. However, the most rewarding experiences as honorary consul for Lair thus far has been reassuring other French members of the community and visitors that there is a French presence in the state. Lair says, “It is rewarding to help people since honorary consuls don’t have any perks. We do it because we want to make a difference and we want to help.” Anne Lair was recently honored by the Republic of France’s Ministry of National Education for her work with the Utah Dual Immersion Program.