« This is an original project involving intellectual and, above all, social partnership, with Academy members on the one hand who quite properly want to uphold and share an historic knowledge base and, on the other hand, disadvantaged young high school students, just waiting to be taught and to learn »
The Académie des Jeux Floraux in Toulouse was an early ancestor of the Académie Française. Since 1323, it has carrying on the tradition of defending the Provençal "Langue d'Oc" and of French literature. It was the first institution in France to establish a literary prize and amongst its laurel-winners are Ronsard, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Mistral and Chateaubriand.
Its immense prestige is currently shouldered by forty academy members, all prominent individuals, such as Jean-Louis Moudenc, the Mayor of Toulouse; Professor Jean Dausset, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine; André Turcat, founder of the Air and Space Museum; or Dominique Baudis, chairman of the French Audiovisual High Commission. Each of them regularly gives lectures and their works are deposited in the archives and thus highly accessible. Unfortunately, the Academy's limited resources mean that they can no longer publish an annual Compendium, nor Memoranda of its proceedings, including the significant contributions of the Academy's members. In addition, the Academy could not cover the cost of preserving seven centuries of archives, for which a full-time librarian-archivist needs to be hired.
Literary lectures in boarding school
At the same time, the members of the Académie des Jeux Floraux wished to become involved in a project of social solidarity with the Lycée de Garaison, an educational establishment in Toulouse founded 1841, and a boarding school for needy children located in Tarbes.
In parallel to the assistance of €40,000 provided by the Veolia foundation, which helped finance some of the archive preservation, the members of the Academy give a minimum of six lectures per year, two per term, to the Garaison boarding school students, on subjects which are decided in agreement with their teachers.
They provide the high school students the required number of copies of published Memoranda and Compendia, so as to perfect their instruction in French literature.