Alliance Francaise History

The origins: History dating back 150 years

The Alliance Française is an independent, not-for-profit language and cultural organisation. It was founded in 1883 in Paris as a national association to promote the French language around the world under the guidance of Pierre Foncin and Ambassador Paul Cambon. The Paris Alliance was created the following year by a board of directors featuring famous figures such as Jules Verne (author), Louis Pasteur (chemist and biologist) and Ferdinand de Lesseps (diplomat). The first Alliance Française abroad was created in Barcelona that same year.

An international phenomenon

Today there are 800+ Alliances Françaises in 132 countries, with more than 500,000 students worldwide, from Argentina to Canada, from the furthest tip of Africa to northernmost Scandinavia and across Russia, Asia and Oceania. Even in France – from Paris to Nice – the Alliance Française offers international students the opportunity to discover the richness of the French culture whilst living right in the midst of it. Each Alliance Française is an independent association bound by a common purpose to the Fondation Alliance Française. Each is, however, part of a worldwide network and is recognised for its high quality programs as well as the strong bonds forged with its local cultural, educational and business communities in addition to the French Government.

Today the Alliance Française has set the benchmark for teaching French as a foreign language. The Alliance’s recognition by the French Ministry for Education and European organisations such as ALTE (the Association of Language Testers in Europe) clearly demonstrates its leadership in this field. The Alliance Française courses and programs creatively bring together French language and culture in a very diverse student body, proving that a language truly lives only when shared.

Alliance Française and the host country

The Alliances do not play a French diplomatic role at an international level. However, they can provide information on how to contact the French embassy or consulate. In Australia, passionate supporters and volunteers have worked alongside one another since 1895 to establish a dynamic network of Alliances that symbolises the strength of the friendship between France and Australia.

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