On July 07, 2016 at the Library for Foreign literature in Moscow (Nikoloyamskaya, 1) was opened Cultural Centre “Francothèque “. The opening was attended by the Director of the Library for foreign literature, Vadim Duda, the Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, the Ambassador of France in Russia Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of Canada in Russia Mr. John R. Kur, Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation Mr. Pierre Helg, Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar Mr. Eloi Alphonse Maxim Duvu and other diplomats and guests of the event.
Vladimir Medinsky in his speech about the importance of creating Francothèque underlined the special role of France in the development of Russian culture, and that “in the beginning of XX century it became a shelter for Russian immigrants”. 2016 year is a cross year of culture and tourism of Russia and France.
This is the first center of Francophonie in Russia, based on the earlier French cultural center. The initiative to resume the project came from the Russian side, and it was not only supported, but also expanded by the French side, which offered instead the national center the idea of Francophonie – Francothèque. Francothèque involves many good things, aimed at familiarization with the French language, literature, culture, Francophone countries. The French language is the fifth frequent in the world.
The organization of Francophone countries (La Francophonie or the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, OIF), formed in 1970, now represents 80 countries. Among them there are 54 members, 22 observers and 3 associate members.
For the first time the term appeared in 1880, a French geographer Onesime Reclus, who provided the French-speaking countries and people speaking in French, in a single group. The number of Francophones in the world today is estimated at 274 million people.
Francothèque enables all subscribers of the Library of foreign literature after M. I. Rudomino (VGBIL) to read classic and contemporary Francophone literary works, to listen to lectures, workshops, concerts, to participate in scientific seminars and round tables.
Book Fund, transferred by the Embassy of France from the former French cultural center, counts 15’000 books. A gift of the French Institute (Institut français de Russie) adds over 11’000 books.
The Francophones, on the other hand, will have access to “Holiday in Russia” programme (introduction to Russian culture). All events will be organized by embassies and cultural centres of OIF and public organizations. The project is supported by the Russian Ministry of culture.
French Ambassador M. Jean-Maurice Ripert emphasised that the spread of French language and culture promotes the values of the fifth Republic. “Freedom, democracy, rule of law, solidarity and respect for other peoples – all these values contribute to the relationship between cultures and civilizations, to friendship and cooperation among peoples, to peace and security,” he said in his speech.
The Ambassador of Canada Mr. John R. Kur has kindly agreed to comment on opening Francothèque for E-Vesti. In Canada French is the second official language of the country.
E Vesti: We would like to ask You if You plan to launch any project for Russians in order to make them better acquainted with Canada?
John R. Kur: For us, the canadian Embassy, it is very important to create Francothèque in Moscow, because it is not only the center of the French language, but also center of French culture. It’s designed for discussions, dialogue and exchange. As You know, Canada is a member Organization of Francophonie (OIF). Every year in March, during the Week of the Francophonie, we organize various French-canadian events in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg and other Russian places.
For us the centre of Francophonie is the space where I can collaborate with my colleagues, Embassy of France and other countries of the Francophonie. For us, the canadian Embassy, of course, the use of this space enables to facilitate cultural, linguistic, literary and other interchange. I’m here today for this reason, and I’m very glad of the opportunity of partnership within Francothèque, in this library.
E Vesti: Thank you, this is certainly so. However, I believe, Russians would like to know more about Canada.
John R. Kur: I hope so. The representative of Canada now – Secretary General of the OIF is Michaëlle Jean. The following year means will be the 150th anniversary of Canada, at the head of La Francophonie, and we believe that there will be new opportunities for cultural interchange and open dialogue with the Russians in French and English.
E Vesti: Thank you very much Mr. Kur.
John R. Kur: Thank you.