French, an international language
France’s cultural influence, a major factor in its impact on the international scene, has been the object of policy reforms designed to promote French works and ideas abroad, primarily through the French language, as well as establishing a cooperation policy with the poorest countries with the view to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. In particular, this policy centres on an initiative of the Deputy Minister for Cooperation, Development and French-speaking Communities. Apart from furthering the French language, its purpose consists in developing values common to all countries sharing this language, a space comprising 181.5 million individuals without allowing for the 82.6 million who are learning French.
The French Government is relying on its network of lycées and approved establishments, cultural centres, the ‘alliances françaises’, foreign institutes and research centres to push through this initiative. It also operates through the multilateral French-speaking communities that constitute a worldwide cultural exchange forum. Since the Moncton and Beyrouth summits hosting 56 heads of State and governments of countries where the French language co-exists alongside the national language, the International Organisation of French-speaking Communities - that is in French, the OIF, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie - has acquired a more powerful international image likely to give clear-cut political objectives such as providing democracy with strong roots, promoting cultural diversity and an interdependent and sustainable development.