By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The Embassy of France held a reception on Monday on the occasion of the celebration of International Francophonie Day. “Kuwait is a very a Francophile and Francophone country. HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah is the father of Francophonie in Kuwait, the one who initiated the first actions in its favor in the 1980s, and that is why and the Council for the Promotion of Francophonie in Kuwait chose him as President of Honor,” French Ambassador to Kuwait Claire Le Flecher said.
The French ambassador emphasized that the French language is the language of the future globally. “French is currently the third language taught in Kuwait, a sign of strong and lasting relations between our two countries. It has nearly 30,000 cumulative learners, public and private systems combined, and nearly 10,000 students take French at the baccalaureate level each year,” she said.
Le Flecher indicated that Kuwait understood this situation very early on and bet on teaching the French language as early as 1966, when French was introduced in the school system. Since then, without any interruption, high school students study French in literary classes.
“France is not alone in supporting Francophonie, as shown by the Council for the Promotion of Francophonie in Kuwait, which for the past two years has brought together 44 French-speaking ambassadors to Kuwait,” she noted, revealing that the celebrations in favor of Francophonie in Kuwait will continue throughout the year and people will be able to come to cultural events, sports activities and film screenings offered by the French Institute of Kuwait.
HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah expressed his pleasure to attend the International Day of Francophonie event that was suspended for years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the suspension revealed the importance of this cultural influence. “The mutual influence between cultures seems to be a foregone conclusion, especially if there is a common history between peoples, which is obvious between Western and Arab cultures. The military confrontations that the world witnessed were not all about wars, but rather contributed to the transfer of Arab civilization to the West and the converse,” Sheikh Nasser said.
He mentioned that this exchange led to the establishment of translation schools, where senior Muslim, Jewish and Christian specialists translated Arabic books into the Latin language, which resulted in the existence of Arabic vocabulary in Latin and other European languages. “In our contemporary history, Francophone played an active role in the Arab renaissance movement, as it was a source of inspiration for many Arab enlightenment pioneers. Throughout that period, Francophone was key that Arabs used to communicate with the Western civilization,” HH Sheikh Nasser pointed out.
Sheikh Nasser concluded that his participation is a reminder for Francophone countries that stood with Kuwait and supported it during the Iraqi invasion, expressing Kuwait’s continuous gratitude to these countries, looking forward to spreading and teaching the French language on a larger scale.