On March 21, 2016 Saint Petersburg State University hosted the VI International Round Table «The International Organization of La Francophonie: history and prospects», timed to coincide with the International Francophonie Day. The moderator of the round table was the General Consul of France in St. Petersburg Thibault Furrier.
At the opening ceremony of the round table the Deputy of Rector of SPBU on international activity Alexander V. Gogolevsky welcomed participants: «St. Petersburg State University is renowned for its research of French language and French culture. Our graduates work in the Russian embassy in France to contribute a development of good relations between two countries. I hope the round table will be important not only for research but also for Russian-French relations».
Mr. General Consul offered to participants and guests of the round table to consider francophonie, as essence of language, culture, mentality and traditions and as a movement bringing together millions of people around the world. «Francophonie gives different countries great opportunity to defend their cultural heritage. International Francophonie Day is celebrated not only in France, but also in several dozens of countries. Today we do not talk about the confrontation between English and French languages, we discuss the preservation of cultural diversity, the main part of which is linguistic one. Due to the movement of francophonie international solidarity increases, relations between the North and the South stabilize», - concluded Mr. Furrier.
The round table, devoted to the International Organization of La Francophonie, was held in St. Petersburg State University for the sixth time. SPBU international relations program graduates, who were active participants in this event, are now in diplomatic service at the Russian embassy in France. At the opening of the round table the dean of the School of International Relations of SPBU Irina N. Novikova read a telegram of congratulations from the 1st secretary of the Embassy Zoya Kritskaya, graduated from St. Petersburg State University in 2000, and the Embassy attache Konstantin Pakhorukov, graduated in 2013.
«Since the founding academic department for study of international relations in St. Petersburg State University there are many big fans of French language, French culture and French-speaking countries among lecturers and students», - said Irina N. Novikova.
French-speaking states and the International Organization of La Francophonie face many problems, all of which were analyzed and presented by professors, lecturers and students of St. Petersburg State University, as well as by invited guests. Today the Movement of francophonie covers the whole world, that’s why the reports included topics related to the spreading of French language in Africa, South America, Arab States and Canada.
The discussion of learning French and studying in French in Russia was attracted special attention. «Despite the political crisis in relations between Russia and the European Union, France continues to develop cultural dialogue with Russia. There is a steady interest in French culture in Russia, particularly in St. Petersburg. We had already carried out the Russia-France Cross Year in 2010, and nowadays the Culture Ministries of both countries discuss the opportunity of organization of a new cross year, in culture and tourism spheres», - said Mr. Consul General.
Background: 20th March is International Francophonie Day (Journée internationale de la Francophonie). On March 20, 1970 the Agreement on the establishment of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (since 2005 - the International Organization of La Francophonie) was signed in Niamey (Niger). The International Organization of La Francophonie currently includes 80 states and governments (57 members and 23 observers).