An astonishing success story
December 18, 2021
Dear Friends of the MacJannet Foundation,
At the close of a year when health, economic, and political calamities rippled across the world, I find myself once more reflecting on the vision of a kinder and more self-confident world that Donald and Charlotte MacJannet promoted through their commitment to education and cultural exchange.
For the second straight year, the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary suspension of the two international cultural exchange programs we customarily support: The Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France; and Les Amis du Prieuré of Talloires.
Yet remarkably, our newest program—the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship—was able to continue its 12-year tradition of honoring exemplary university student civic programs around the world.
It has become a driving force behind the global Talloires Network of Engaged Universities, which is itself the driving force behind a revolutionary idea currently sweeping the academic world: that universities should venture beyond their cloistered towers to grapple hands-on with real-world issues. In these 12 years, more than 525 civic engagement programs on six continents have applied for the Prize, and 64 of them— in 26 countries around the world—have been honored as Prize-winners or honorable mentions. The Prize has set the standard for what can be accomplished when students and faculty harness their skills to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.
Today our great challenge is to maintain and expand the MacJannet legacy for the next generation. The astonishing success of the MacJannet Prize even in these trying times suggests to me that we are up to the task of inspiring the lives of young people who may one day change the world for the better.
The indefatigable optimism of Donald and Charlotte MacJannet inspired generations of young people throughout some of the darkest years of the 20th Century. Today it is up to us to plant seeds in the hope of build a better world, just as they did.
We thank you for your past support and urge you to increase it in this time of crisis. Just ask yourself the ultimate MacJannet question: “How can we help?” In practical terms, how can we help restore the Foundation’s worthwhile programs so they evolve stronger and better?
To make a donation, click here. Thanks so much. With your support, 2022 can be a brighter year for everyone.
The MacJannet Foundation
While there were no students in Talloires during the summer of 2021, below is a collection of reflections from past years reminding us of the valuable lessons and personal growth that can occur when we explore new cultures.
We look forward to the day when students will have that opportunity again.
Three lessons from french culture
Some things that I picked up from my host family:
Walking in the rain
The very first week I was here a group of students and I missed the bus and decided to walk from Veyrier to Talloires. Ordinarily, walking an hour and a half in the rain would have made me somewhat miserable, but due to the people I was with and our shared enthusiasm, this walk was one of my most memorable experiences. We shared life stories, swapped jokes, and later that day we got to brag to everyone that we’d walked four and a half miles to school in the pouring rain. After that day I made a point of walking to school with one of my friends from Veyrier du Lac at least once a week.
Tala, Class of 2016
Discovering my best self
Not only did I have amazing experiences, but also I be- came my best self. I believe that I am now more confident, positive, and appreciative of everything I am and have. Tufts in Talloires is like an amazing hidden gem that some don’t know about, but that blesses those who do with its beauty and all the unbelievably incredible things about it.
Matea, Class of 2018
At home with my hosts
I was caught off guard at how at home I felt with my host family. Through living with them, I was able to gain more personal insight into what family means to me. I learned more about love, laughter, and excitement. Home has never been a place of excitement for me, but through camping, making s’mores, and playing riddles, I realized that I could find it through my host family. It felt refreshing that I could go back to a house filled with white people and still be my black Muslim woman self. Muna, Class of 2019
A life-changing experience
If there were one person that I can attribute most of my improving French vocabulary to, it would be my host sister, Justine. I spent a lot of time with her, jumping on the trampoline, drawing pictures, and playing card games. I pointed to things and she taught me the word, and I did the same for her in English. From my experience, I have found that children have this unique ability to get along with anybody, regardless of race, language or religion.
At the Kids’ Day, I had so much fun painting faces and learning the words for all of the things I painted. We could not explicitly communicate with words, but smiles and laughs and gestures were all that was needed.
One thing that I cannot get over here is the absolute beauty of my surroundings. When I go for runs in the evening and see the orange and pink sun setting behind the majestic mountains and reflected on the brilliant blue lake, it literally takes my breath away. A few weekends ago, our group took a day trip to Chamonix and hiked through the mountains. Coming from Florida, which is unbelievably flat, being amongst mountains was such a new experience. I loved that I had the opportunity to hike throughout the trails and see snow, even though it was late May and quite warm outside. My experience hiking Mount Blanc has made me want to try more adventures in the outdoors.
Both classes that I am taking—environmental economics and nuclear France in a warming world—have shown me how much trouble our world is currently in, but have made me want to do something about it. Rather than take the pessimistic view, my professors have shown optimism and hope and that we are the ones who can change things and make a difference. Being given the opportunity to come to Talloires has been the most life-changing experience for me, and I’m truly grateful to be given this chance.
Rebecca, Class of 2011