Celebrating Francophonie in the Philippines

Celebrating Francophonie in the Philippines

/ 05:01 AM March 23, 2024


A series of festivities and events organized by the global Francophonie community is unfolding in the Philippines ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. The country celebrates linguistic diversity and cultural exchange through various activities, encapsulating the spirit of this year’s Francophonie Week theme, “On the Podium.” French has been the official language of the Olympic Games since 1896.

Francophonie in the Philippines. French boasts 300 million speakers across 106 countries and territories, with 132 million learners worldwide. With 235 million people using it daily, it ranks as the fifth most spoken language globally and serves as the official language in 29 countries and governments among the 88 members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).


Created on March 20, 1970, in Niamey, Niger, the OIF is a unique organization, rich in diversity, which promotes not only the French language but also political, educational, economic, and cultural cooperation among its member countries. This spirit of cohesion built around the French language is reflected in the work of key figures such as Léopold Sédar Senghor. He was a Senegalese poet, philosopher, and politician who served as the first president of Senegal from 1960 to 1980. His legacy reverberates through the history of Francophonie, from its roots to its contemporary political dimension. Through his eloquent speeches, Senghor highlighted the importance of French as a language of universal civilization, emphasizing its role in shaping the identity and culture of Francophone peoples. His advocacy for Francophonie as a cultural community that transcends political boundaries laid the groundwork for international cooperation based on linguistic and cultural sharing.


Thus, Francophonie, much like the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Philippines, embodies a political and ideological vision of a world unified in the richness of its languages and cultures. Similar to the ideal of the OIF, the Philippines is a treasure trove of linguistic and cultural richness. With a plethora of languages spoken across its diverse islands, including over 170 regional and local dialects, the Philippines stands as a testament to unity and diversity.

Although not a member of the OIF, the Philippines holds a promising outlook for the French language. With a positive image and growing opportunities in industries such as services, business process outsourcing, and student mobility, French enjoys a favorable position. Key players such as the Alliance Française in Manila and Cebu, prominent universities like the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila, and the association of French teachers contribute significantly to French language education and promotion. Each year, these cultural organizations in charge of promoting the French language and culture enable around 4,000 Filipinos to learn French.

The Department of Education is also an active partner in that field. Since 2009, it has included French in the curriculum of 12 science high schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region VII. During the academic year 2022-2023, these schools have witnessed the training of more than 1,600 pupils in these regions.

Francophonie Week in the Philippines. During Francophonie Week 2024, francophone ambassadors prepared an array of diverse initiatives to celebrate French language and culture.

Representatives from each country produced videos highlighting athletes from their country participating in the Paris 2024 Olympic or Paralympic Games, emphasizing their inspiring stories and sporting values. Visits were organized to two NCR high schools where French is taught (Makati Science High School and Quezon City Science High School), allowing diplomats to interact directly with students and educators. A lively karaoke event took place in Makati on March 20, Francophonie Day, to welcome French-speaking ambassadors, Department of Foreign Affairs representatives, university students, and teachers. Furthermore, the Alliance Française de Manille hosted screenings of French language films from Romania, Swiss, Canada, and Morocco, offering audiences captivating cinematic experiences. Francophonie Summit in Villers-Cotterêts. The next Francophonie Summit is scheduled for October 2024 in France, in the castle of Villers-Cotterêts. It is set to commence on Oct. 4 at the Cité internationale de la langue française, a venue dedicated to French language and Francophone cultures, inaugurated by French President Emmanuel Macron on Oct. 30, 2023. This castle hosted in 1539 the signature of the ordinance declaring French the official language of all legal documents in France. In this outstanding environment, France will underline the importance of core Francophonie values under the label “Create, innovate, and do business in French.”

Interested in joining the Francophonie family? Enroll in the French language course at Alliance Française de Manille and Alliance Française de Cebu!


Vive la francophonie, Mabuhay!


Marie Fontanel is the ambassador of France to the Philippines.

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TAGS: France, French, Olympics

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