1959 : born in Ougrée-Seraing (Liège, Belgium)
1974-1975 : AFS scholarship student in California
1981 : Licensed in Filologia Romanica and Qualified teacher from the University of Liège
1982-1984 : Teacher-volunteer in Nador (Morocco)
1984-1993 : Lecturer in the University of Jyväskylä (Finland)
1989 : Doctor of Philosophy and Letters
Since 1993 : Qualified Researcher (FNRS), then Professor in the University of Liège (Head of the Unit of Didactics and Methodology of French as a Foreign and Second Language and of the High Institute of Modern Languages)
2003-2004 : Visiting Professor in La Sorbonne-Nouvelle and in the Université of Sassari
Since 2011 : Honorary Consul of Finland
Since 2016 : Président of the International Federation of Teachers of French (FIPF)
2. Short bibliographic note
Jean-Marc DEFAYS, full professor at the University of Liège, is head of the Unit of Didactics and Methodology of French as a Foreign and Second Language and of the High Institute of Modern Languages. He is author or co-author of numerous books and articles on Language didactics, on Discourse analysis, on Intercultural communication. Prof. Defays also spent a number of years teaching abroad, and is frequently invited to lead conferences and participate in symposiums and scientific meetings. He has been elected Président de the International Federation of Teachers of French (FIPF) in July 2016. He is also Honorary Consul of Finland.
Professor Jean-Marc Defays is a Doctor (PhD) in Philosophy and Letters (1989) and has been teaching at the University of Liège since 1997. Prior to that, he was a senior researcher for the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (1993-1997), and held the position of junior lecturer and then senior lecturer at the University of Jyväskylä, in Finland (1984-1993).
In July 2016, he has been elected President of the International Federation of the Teachers of French (FIPF) after its congress which has been organized in Liège and of which he was the General Secretary.
Prof. Defays is a specialist in the teaching of French as a foreign language and in applied linguistics. He is author or co-author of 30 books and over 100 articles on these subjects, as well as on topics relating to francophone cultures and literatures. His book, Le français langue étrangère et seconde, enseignement et apprentissage was awarded the Prix de l’Académie royale de Belgique in May 2004.
At the University of Liège, Prof. Defays instituted the Service de Didactique et de Méthodologie du Français langue étrangère et seconde (Unit of Didactics and Methodology of French as a foreign and second language). In 1999 he created a Diplôme d’Etudes Spécialisées (graduate degree), which in 2004 became a Master en Français langue étrangère (Master’s in French as a foreign language) and he has been the coordinator of that Master’s program since then. He also teaches courses in applied linguistics, the analysis and typology of discourse, pragmatics and grammar, courses that are part of the Master’s program in contemporary linguistics, intercultural communication and in speech education and therapy.
Since 2007 Prof. Defays has directed the High Institute of Modern Languages (ISLV), after having served for more than ten years as the chair of the French department and the Applied linguistics unit. Prof. Defays also holds a “licence complémentaire” (graduate degree) in public administration (1995). He is involved in many activities concerning foreign language teaching (programs and teaching methods, linguistic policies of the university, management of language instruction centres, etc.) as well as French language in the context of higher education and scientific research.
During this period, Prof. Defays also served as associate professor at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels (2001-2008), at the Université du Luxembourg (2000-2006, 2009 to date), at the Université Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle (2003), at the Université de Sassari (2004), at the Université de Helsinki (2001, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2016), and at the Université de Jyväskylä (2005, 2006). He is Doctor Honoris Causa of Pyatigorsk State University (Russia) since 2020.
Prof. Defays also spent a number of years teaching abroad, and is frequently invited to lead conferences and participate in symposiums and scientific meetings. As an expert recognized by a number of organizations and institutions (CREF, AUF, CUD, WBI, FIPF, etc.) and many academic associations, Prof. Defays has directed or co-directed many scientific and pedagogical projects and collaborations at the national and international level. He is a member of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (since 2010) and has been vice-president of the Alliance française of Liège from 2011 to 2017.
In addition, Prof. Defays is Officier in the Ordre de Léopold (2010), and as well in the Ordre des Palmes académiques (2016) and in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2019) of the Republic of France. He is also Honorary Consul of the Republic of Finland to the Provinces of Liège, Namur and Luxembourg (2011). In 2017, the Republic of Finland awarded him the insignia of Knight of First Class in the Order of the Lion of Finland. He was also awarded the title of Ambassador of the Province of Liège (2016).