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The 2010 Francophonie Festival

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March is the month when French speakers and Francophiles from around the world unite to celebrate the French language and the diversity of francophone cultures. It is a time when they come together to celebrate their shared heritage. It is the Francophonie Festival.

On this occasion, the Atlanta Francophonie Committee* invites Atlantans to take part in the celebration March 19-25. From a Francophone Film Festival at the High Museum of Art and the Midtown Arts Cinema, to a Friendship Sunday brunch at Carlyle House (Norcross, GA) and a business breakfast on “Doing Business with Francophone Countries” at Emory University, there’ll be something for everyone.

However, in light of the tragic earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Francophonie Festival will carry an especially important meaning this year. It will not only be about sharing cultural experiences, business opportunities and language skills, it will be about sharing hope. Indeed, all proceeds from the Atlanta Francophonie Festival will be donated to Haiti relief aid. Also, the French-speaking country of Haiti, known for its rich culture and language will be honored throughout the festival. This includes a Québec film based on a novel by Haïtian writer Dany Laferrière, Le Goût des Jeunes filles (On the Verge of a Fever), which will be shown at the Midtown Arts Cinema on Monday March 22, at 7pm.

French language unites 200 million people present in more than 55 countries around the world. In the Americas, it is spoken in Quebec, French Guiana, Louisiana and the Caribbean. It is also a tremendously important vehicular language in most of Africa and in the Arab World. Here in Georgia, investments from French speaking countries are responsible for the creation of thousands of jobs. France alone, with about 80 affiliates, creates over 11,000 jobs. The French language and the Francophone cultures are also very present in the Peach State with more than 46,000 students studying French in the State and famous exhibits and cultural performances, such as “The Swiss Wind Quintet”, “Louvre-Atlanta”, “Cavalia” and many others.

For a detailed program of the Francophonie Festival, please visit www.afatl.com.

* The Atlanta Francophonie Committee is represented by the Consulates of Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland, the Québec Delegation in Atlanta, the American Association of Teachers of French, the Alliance Française of Atlanta, the French American Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta-Accueil and Ecole du Samedi.

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