Happy 130th Anniversary

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The Alliance Française  foundation celebrated the 130th anniversary of Alliance Française during its 35th international convention held on 16th and 17th July 2013. Article en français ici.

The 35th international conference at Paris

The 35th international conference of Alliances Françaises in Paris

On this occasion, the presidents and the representative directors of 88 Alliances Françaises established in 136 countries assembled in the theatre of Alliance Française on 10, Boulevard Raspail, Paris- 6. On 16th July, the President of France received the presidents and directors at a reception at the Elysée at 12 o’clock followed by a gala evening organized at the Pompidou Centre where other celebrities of France and the partners of the world-wide network of Alliance Française were invited. The next day, on 17th July, the event was terminated by a lunch at the headquarters of the foundation.

Article in La Croix – written by Martin de Bourmont
It is an “old lady” who will celebrate her 130th birthday in few days. The Alliance Française (AF) was created on 21st July 1883, under the guidance of the diplomat Pierre Cambon and the geographer Pierre Foncin. They were supported by many celebrities like the diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps (the principal promoter of the projects of Suez and Panama canals), scientist Louis Pasteur, historian Ernest Renan, writer Jules Verne and even the publisher Armand Colin.
Their project was to create an international cultural network for promoting and spreading French language and French culture. The idea was innovative. It tried to expand the cultural influence of France with the help of local committees of volunteers. Today this concept is known as “Soft Power”- a concept developed in United States of America in the 1990s, describing the capacity of an international actor to indirectly influence the other actors.
The first Alliance Française of Europe was opened in Barcelone, in 1884. Other centres came into existence in the same year in Senegal, in Mauritius and in Mexico. In 1904, the Alliance Française had already reached the number of 150 committees in France – intending to welcome the foreign students and the 450 committees in foreign countries.

Location of the ceremony

Elysée Palace - French Republic centre

Six Million Members
Today, the Alliance Française represents the first world wide cultural network with 1040 establishments in 136 countries from 5 continents. More than 450000 people of all ages have been taking French courses in the many centres of Alliance Française and more than 6 million people have been participating in the cultural activities of Alliance Française.

France has more than twelve Alliances Françaises in the country. The one in the Paris welcomes more than 12000 students of 160 different nationalities every year. Like most of its counterparts in the world, the centre in Paris, in addition to the courses, also provides access to the library, organizes shows and exhibitions.
Every Alliance Française functions autonomously, founded on the base of common values. Thus, it offers French courses to the general public while respecting the cultural diversity.

Non political and non denominational organization
The Alliances are non political and non denominational organizations which abide by the local law of land where they are established. While concluding the event of 120th anniversary of Alliance Française in 2004, President Jacques Chirac proclaimed that this institution demonstrates “the richness of our culture and that of our values of tolerance and of democracy. It contradicts those who are afraid that cultural exchange should not be more than business.”

Ten years later, on Tuesday 16th July, during the official ceremony of the anniversary of the organization that assures the promotion of the French culture, the current President of the state, François Hollande felicitated it by stating it to be  “the second motherland of all free men and women”

Translated by Sanyogita Zadkar

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...