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Parlez-vous Francais? Amman celebrates French month

By Camille Dupire - Mar 06,2018 - Last updated at Mar 07,2018

The 23rd edition of the ‘Francophonie’ month is celebrated by French-speaking embassies across the world (Photo courtesy of IFJ)

AMMAN — French flavours, melodies and artworks are settling in Amman’s landscape, as part of the “Francophonie” month, a worldwide celebration of the European nation’s culture.

Every year in March, cities around the globe celebrate the traditions and culture of France whose language is spoken by some 300 million people worldwide.

For the event’s 23rd edition, Amman is hosting a number of cultural and educational activities in cooperation with the embassies of member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie (Belgium, Canada, Lebanon, Morocco, Romania and Tunisia).

Throughout the month, the French embassy and its partners will offer the Jordanian public an entertaining and diverse programme aimed at highlighting the richness and diversity of the country of Marianna, a statement by the embassy said.

At the inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in November 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron stated: “French is the language of reason, it’s the language of light,” adding “the French culture is a river nourished by numerous confluences.”

The Romance language is taught to some 40,000 Jordanian students in 200 schools and universities across the Kingdom, in addition to many locals and foreigners practicing in local institutions. 

“This month of the Francophonie is a unique moment to allow all those who speak or learn French to practice it and to celebrate this language that we share,” the statement said.

“This is a perfect opportunity to practise my French and feel like I am in a French-speaking country while staying in Amman,” said Mohammad, a student of the French Institute of Jordan (IFJ), located in Jabal Luweibdeh.

Activities planned for this year include film screenings, concerts, gastronomic events, exhibitions and literary meetings, among others.

A tribute to one of France’s national treasure -food-, free cooking workshops will be conducted weekly by professionals in the field, starting with one supervised by the French embassy chef Alain Benon on March 10 at Haya Cultural Centre. Similar workshops will be organised by partner embassies on March 17, 24 and 31.

Meanwhile, a selection of restaurants and hotels, as well as the Royal Academy for Culinary Arts, are scheduled to honour the French cuisine as part of the “Taste of France” event on March 21.

No representation of France would be complete without the cultural touch, often described as the core of the nation’s spirit. As Cristina de Rossi, anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London, explained: “The word ‘Culture’ derives from the same French term, which in turn derives from the Latin colere, meaning to tend to the earth and grow, cultivation and nurture.” 

The Francophonie month will include theatrical and literary events, such as the reading/signing of “O Night, O my Eyes” by French-Lebanese writer and illustrator Lamia Ziade at the IFJ on March 24.

The book, subtitled “Cairo/Beirut/Damascus/Jerusalem” recollects the Golden Era of the arts in the Arab world, highlighting some of its great voices like Oum Kalthoum and Asmahan.

For their part, music lovers will also enjoy a concert by Jordanian soloist Dima Bawab and pianist Rania Eijelat, to be held in the auditorium of Etihad Bank on March 28, as a commemoration of the centenary of the death of Claude Debussy and Lily Boulanger.

Concluding the celebrations, a “Francophonie” Quiz will test the participants’ knowledge of the French-speaking world on March 29 at the IFJ premises.

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