The Notre Dame Fire: A Time to Rebuild and Reflect

Our support goes to the people of Paris, who hope to restore Notre Dame to its former glory.

In the early evening of Monday, April 15th, smoke billowed from the spire of one of Paris’ most important cultural and historical icons. The Notre Dame Cathedral, which has stood in the Île de la Cité for 850 years, was ablaze as onlookers stood in disbelief. While 400 firefighters worked tirelessly to extinguish the flames and salvage what they could, the city, along with the rest of the world, was jarred into varying levels of emotion upon the impact of this unimaginable event.

“It was heartbreaking,” says French-born Amale Bourhim, Road Scholar’s Regional Director of Programs in France, “but it’s important to remember that Paris is safe. And even though we had feared the worst, our Lady is still standing, and now we must come together to reconstruct what we’ve lost.”

France is the 2019 Road Scholar “Campus of the Year,” and as such holds a special place in our hearts as a country rich in culture and history. Paris, especially, beckons as a center for educational discovery — its people, its artistic treasures, its gastronomy and, notably, its architecture, including the gargoyled Notre Dame Cathedral. The thoughts of the Road Scholar community are with the people of Paris, and with all who have stood in awe of this gothic masterpiece. Though it’s unsettling to lose a piece of history, we stand by the belief that out of tragedy comes the opportunity to create a new history; in this inconceivable event, an inspired story of how a city comes together to rebuild this venerable Parisian landmark.

"Throughout our history, we built cities, ports, churches,” French President Emmanuel Macron opined, “Many burned, were destroyed by wars, the fault of men. Every time, every time, we have rebuilt them. The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our history will never end. Never.”

In the coming weeks and months, Road Scholars will continue to explore the French capital, and learn about the Notre Dame Cathedral from afar. We want to assure our Road Scholar participants that if they’re currently enrolled in a France learning adventure, no significant programming changes have been made, and their learning experience will be as enriching as ever.

About the Author: Jim Moses
I’ve proudly served as president and CEO of Road Scholar since 2002, but I didn’t start at the top. I was the company’s first registrar more than 40 years ago. I’ve also served as chief operating officer, senior vice president of programs and vice president of international programs. I love the mission and serving our participants.

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