On March 20 Romania marked the International Francophonie Day.
Romania is recognised in Central and Eastern Europe as a flagship of La Francophonie, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Tuesday, when Romania marked the International Francophonie Day.
In 1991 Romania joined the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) as an observer state, and in 1993 it obtained full membership. The group of French-speaking countries was actually one of the first organisations Romania joined after the anti-communist revolution of 1989, priding on a Francophile tradition spanning over a century. Ever since the 18th century the French culture and language started to massively influence the education of Romania’s elites. According to an old tradition, the sons of wealthy noblemen would be sent to France to study, and their return home became an important source of dissemination of the French language and ideology in Romanian society.
In 1830 French-language teaching was first introduced in schools in Bucharest and Iasi. Speaking French meant more than mastering a language. It stood for the speakers’ adhesion to a set of values, ideas and principles specific to modern European statehood. In the first half of the 20th century Bucharest became known in Europe as “Little Paris”. A growing number of writers started writing in French. Famous Romanian personalities, such as Constantin Brancusi, Eugene Ionesco, Mircea Eliade, George Enescu and Emil Cioran became part of the Francophone cultural heritage.
Bound by its Francophone and Francophile tradition, Romania enjoys robust international relations at the level of the International Organization of La Francophonie. In 2006 Bucharest was the first state in Eastern Europe to host an OIF summit. The capital city is also home to a regional office of OIF, while the president of the Francophone University Association is Romanian.
On Tuesday, on the International Francophonie Day, the French Institute in Bucharest invited French culture and language lovers to celebrate beauty and diversity by means of a French haiku posted on social media. IFB Director Christophe Gigaudaut told RADOR news agency that learning French, German, English or any other language for that matter guarantees an open mid. The French official praised the effort of the thousands of French-language teachers, the role of businesses in promoting French culture, but also Francophone media, including Radio Romania International’s French Service.
(translated by: Vlad Palcu)