Francophonie: International Francophonie Day (March 20) – French Language and Francophonie Week (16-24 March 2019)

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is celebrating International Francophonie Day today. Its Cooperation and Cultural Action Network, the Instituts français and French-language schools are working alongside their partners and are joining French-speakers around the world to celebrate the French language in all its diversity. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is also taking part in the 24th edition of French Language and Francophonie Week coordinated by the Ministry of Culture from March 16 to 24.

Under the slogan “En français… s’il vous plait,” chosen by Secretary General of La Francophonie Louise Mushikiwabo, International Francophonie Day reflects the vitality of the French language, which is constantly being enriched by new words to take into account changes in today’s world.

One year after President Macron’s speech at the Institut de France, France’s international strategy for the French language and multilingualism has already been outlined. The foundation stone for the Maison des étudiants de la francophonie at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris will be laid on March 20 in the presence of Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. On March 21, the Haitian writer Yanick Lahens will deliver the inaugural speech of the new “Mondes Francophones” Chair created a few months ago by the Collège de France.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is also continuing its policy of promoting and strengthening French language teaching, notably through the Solidarity Fund for innovative projects, civil society, French language and culture and human development (FSPI). This new tool, which focuses on African countries, supports education systems in order to strengthen the teaching of French to students and to improve initial and further training of teachers and trainers.

French is the second most studied language in the world, with almost 130 million students and 900,000 teachers of French abroad; it is the second most important language of international news, the third most important in the business world, and the fourth most important on the Internet. It is a working language of major importance in all international organizations. Shared by 300 million people worldwide, French is the fifth most spoken language on the planet, and, along with English, the only language spoken on all five continents.