Francophonie to strengthen French values & diversity: Mehraj

March 05, 2019

Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

— As part of the Francophonie Festival 2019 marking this annual celebration of French language and cultural diversity, French Consulate formally begun celebrations, which kicked off at residence of consul general France here on Monday.

French Embassy in Riyadh too is organizing different activities involving French-speaking countries in Riyadh and Al Khobar.

Reflecting the diversity of cultures, Mustafa Mehraj, French consul general, formally inaugurated one of the important French cultural events.

“The language is not merely to communicate with each other and mark some celebrations but to also understand, respect and learn the values that is associated with it,” Mehraj commented while inaugurating the event in the presence of several countries which were formally colonized by French.

The consul general said in his introduction speech that French language is the “property of all”, that it’s the language of a linguistic community “united by its ideals, hopes, and deepest desires: fraternity, peace, freedom, human dignity, and justice.

He underlined that Francophonie represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its members share more than just a common language. They also share the humanist values promoted by the French language. The French language and its humanist values represent the two cornerstones on which the International Organization of La Francophonie is formed to strengthen common culture among the French-speaking people.

Mehraj reminded that the Francophonie includes 84 nations. The consul general also underlined the lively aspect of French language, always “fueled by new meanings, constructions and experiences” thanks to the diversity of its members that are all part of the Francophonie “family”.

For France, the first-priority of Francophonie is to recover young people, particularly from Africa, insofar as the African continent will boast 700 million French speakers in the mid-XXIst century. To this end, Africa will turn out to be the area where most French speakers lives.

Mehraj stressed the fact that all French-speaking nations must work together to “turn Francophonie into a symbol for the future and of recapture.”

He revealed that French is now the fifth language spoken in the world, with 300 million speakers, after the Chinese, English, Spain and Arabic, which according to the OIF, a 10% increase since 2014.

The term Francophone refers to people whose cultural background is primarily associated with the French language, regardless of ethnic or geographical differences as par with Commonwealth of Britain.

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