Francophonie Week Introduces Kazakh Audiences to French Culture

ASTANA – In Kazakhstan and across the globe, the French-speaking world marks International Francophonie Day on March 20 with events intended to cover “all the diversity of the French language,” organisers at the French Alliance say.

In Kazakhstan, Francophonie Week events are taking place this spring in Astana, Almaty, Shymkent, Karaganda and Ust-Kamenogorsk. Most of the events are being held in the capital and Almaty.

Over 40 events were planned for the whole period (March 7–April 23) and all of them are dedicated to the “vivre-ensemble” (“live together”) theme. According to organisers, the expression, by Roland Barthes, was chosen to recall the connection between society, language and communication, which is the basis of the notion of culture and which serves as a barrier against the terror intended to be sown by the attacks in Paris last November.

This year’s programme is the result of the work of diplomatic missions of a number of member-states of the Organisation Internationale de Francophonie (Armenia, Belgium, Lebanon, Egypt, and Switzerland and France), the entire staff of the French Alliance and resource centres, students and the Association of Teachers of French in Kazakhstan.

A number of events have already taken place. In the beginning of March, choreographers Héla Fattoumi and Éric Lamoureux showed their pieces “Husaïs” and “Solstice” in Astana and Almaty, as well shared their great experience in master classes for choreography students.

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Stabar performing in Astana

The Stabar Group, which mixes jazz, swing and salsa, also performed for audiences in Astana and Almaty on March 12 and 13.

The eighth national competition of Francophone songs is now underway, with semi-finals being held in different cities. It is organised by the Culture Department of the French Embassy in Kazakhstan, the network of French Alliances and Kazakhstan’s Association of Teachers of French with the support of the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan. The grand finale will be held in Almaty on April 9. There are two categories for performers – Francophones and non-Francophones. Winners of the first category get a fully-covered trip to France and the winner of the second will get a round-trip plane ticket to France.

A cycle of poetic meetings is part of the programme as well. Most of the meetings have already passed, but for those who are interested, there is a chance to visit the last one. On April 9, the French Alliance in Astana will host the last poetic meeting at 4 p.m. (Tashenov Street, 24, 4th floor).

Célimène Daudet

Célimène Daudet

People in Astana and Almaty will have an opportunity to enjoy piano concerts by outstanding musician Célimène Daudet in Astana at Astana Opera April 8 and in Almaty at the Kazakh National Kurmangazy Conservatory April 12.

According to web sources, born of two cultures, French and Haitian, Daudet is performing all over the world – Algeria, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia and elsewhere. She has won several international piano competitions, such as the International Competition Jean Francaix, the International Competition in Val d’Isere, the European Competition in Paris and the International Forum of Normandy.

Other events coming up in April are the 15th Almaty International Jazz Festival on April 7, featuring the duo of Bojan Z and Julien Lourau. Then there is the opening of the Dessins en Liberté Exhibition by Institut Français and Courrier International at Nazarbayev University on April 11 at 12 p.m. There will be a Week of Francophone movies April 1–7 in Astana and from March 28–April 1 in Almaty, as well as more contests and exhibitions.

Bojan Z and Julien Lourau

Bojan Z and Julien Lourau

For detailed information visit www.ambafrance-kz.org, where the whole programme can be downloaded.

The French Alliance in Astana was opened in 2005 and is supported by the Embassy of France.

The French Alliance was created to spread the French language and Francophone culture in Kazakhstan. It aims to assist cultural dialogue between Kazakhstan and France by organising linguistic, scientific, cultural and other kinds of exchanges.

Today, the alliance offers French language courses at any proficiency level, preparation for international language courses, individual lessons and other services.

The centre also has a media library, where visitors can read books, listen to music, play board games or prepare for exams. It has more than 4,500 books, a dozen different French newspapers and magazines, more than 700 movies and around 550 CDs of audio materials.

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