Members of Maine's Franco American community joined Bowdoin this week in a symposium celebrating the state's French heritage.

The symposium, which ran from Monday to Wednesday, featured three panel discussions and a documentary. The panels considered the Franco American community's contributions to business and politics in Maine, as well as its culture and art.

"This is the first event of its kind that focuses solely on the contributions of the Franco community in Maine," said Severin Beliveau, the moderator of the business panel, at a reception in Moulton Union on Monday to kick off the event.

Francois Gauthier, the consul general of France in Boston, also attended Monday's reception.

"It's very important to celebrate this heritage," he said. "It's very important to know where...we come from and what are our roots. That way, we'll be able to address the challenges the world today is presenting."

"The values that the Franco American community have brought to Maine are extremely important," he said.