Vocation & History
The Fondation Alliance Française gathers a network of 857 Alliances Françaises around the world. The Alliance owes its success to the consistently faithful nature of a foreign public which continues to be enamoured by the French language. Deriving its strength from a name which is now recognised all over the world, it has been able to maintain a presence in 135 different countries.
The exceptional longevity and vitality of the Alliance Française springs from the close links which have been established with the authorities, the people and sponsors in the host countries, as well as with the French government. An “alliance” is the fruit of a two-way agreement and of mutual support, both of which form the basis of its perennial nature. The Alliance has built strong relationships with local communities, thanks to many long-term projects of cultural cooperation and exchange. Through its cycle «Alliances en résonance», the Fondation promotes foreign cultures in France and encourages the Alliances to value the culture of the countries which welcome them.
Being one and many at the same time, the Alliance symbolises a French nation which is universal and constantly moving forward. Firmly committed to modernisation, the integration of new technologies and the constant reappraisal and updating of its teaching methods take part into its general policy. In all areas, the Alliance Française draws upon traditional resources as well as modern ones and attempts to adjust its development to the changing world, while remaining faithful to its values and commitments.
1883 “The National Association for the propagation of the French language in the colonies and abroad” is created on the initiative of the ambassador, Paul Cambon, with the support of a committee composed of eminent personalities such as Ferdinand de Lesseps, Louis Pasteur, Ernest Renan, Jules Verne, and Armand Colin to improve the French cultural development abroad.
1886 The first Alliances are opened in Barcelona, Senegal, Mauritius and Mexico. Others Alliances Françaises quickly joined these pioneers, demonstrating the success of French teaching all over the world.
1889-1990 Asia swiftly follows the general trend, creating the first Alliance Française in India. It has been followed by the creation of the Alliance Française de Melbourne the following year.
1890 An art teacher, Berthe Mouchette, sets up the first Australian Alliance Française in Melbourne. She has given her name to the well-known poetry competition, which takes place annually in many Victorian schools.
1894 The Alliance Française of Paris opened its first classes, on boulevard Saint Germain.
1902 The first Alliance Française in Montreal and the foundation of the Federation of the Alliances in America are created.
1919 The French language school of Paris moved to boulevard Raspail and the highly popular “École pratique de langue française” is opened.
1943 The French school of Paris is closed by the Nazis during the Second World War. For the 60th anniversary of the Alliance Française, General De Gaulle makes an historic speech in Algiers, reaffirming its vocation.
1979 Is a record year for the language school in Paris which registered 32,000 students.
1983 The centenary of the Alliance is celebrated in the presence of the French President, François Mitterrand.
2007 The Fondation Alliance Française is created and recognised as a public interest organisation. The Fondation is the moral and legal reference of Alliances Françaises. Its aim is to coordinate the actions of the network and its expansion. Gathering experts organised according to geographical zones, it acts close to the Alliances Françaises, giving them support and advice when they need.
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