This past February, France hosted an international conference devoted to recognition of French culture and language around the world. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, made the revival of France's international influence one of his key priorities after rising to power in 2017. Also being employed to aid efforts is the Francophonie, an organization of former French colonies and other French-speaking populations.
The Francophonie is considerably younger than it’s older sibling, the British Commonwealth, and was established only in 1970, more than two decades after the British founded their organisation and is not nearly as political. While the British Queen remains the head of state of 16 out of the Commonwealth's 52 member-states and their summits deal with global governance issues, French presidents exercise no comparable functions in the Francophonie, and instead deal with nurturing cultural projects. This makes it easier for France to push for the inclusion of many countries which were never French colonies but where the French language plays an important role.
President Macron has stated that “The potential of the Francophonie is immense; with nearly 275 million French-speakers worldwide, France remains a juggernaut in the global linguistic landscape," in a speech last October.
He is also adamant about dispelling claims that this is merely an attempt to save a declining French language and culture when stating that "This is not at all a defensive policy I want to present here." However with most of its member states being at financial disadvantages, the Francophonie relies on France's resources for it’s sustainability much more than the Commonwealth relies on Britain.
Still, there are plenty of actions being taken including booming online French language courses in places where French culture was not previously dominant such as the Gulf. If one thing is for certain, it is that the promotion of the French language is dear to the hearts of most of its citizens. Not convinced? Recently President Macron conducted interviews to media around the world in English. Let’s just say, it didn’t go over so well back home with some of his countrymen.
We hope you've enjoyed learning about all that President Macron is doing in the effort of Forwarding Francophonie. Are you yearning to learn the language that is revered by the citizens of France? Our native instructors and immersive group classes can put you on the path to fluency sooner than you may think!