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15 May 2012

Alliance Française de Sydney

The Alliance Française de Sydney is an independent, not-for-profit, language and cultural organisation promoting Franco-Australian exchange since 1895. The Alliance Française was founded in 1883 in Paris as an “Association nationale pour la propagation de la langue française dans les colonies et à l’étranger” (a National association for the propagation of the French language in French territories and abroad), under the aegis of Pierre Foncin and Ambassador Paul Cambon. The Paris Alliance was created the following year by a board of directors.

Today there are 819 Alliances Françaises in 137 countries, with approximately 460,000 students worldwide, from Argentina to Canada, from the furthest tip of Africa to northernmost Scandinavia and across Russia, Asia and Oceania. The Alliance Francaise truly spans the globe and approximately 460,000 students take classes at Alliances throughout the world. The Alliance Française has set the benchmark for teaching French as a foreign language. Language teaching goes hand in hand with the Alliance’s commitment to cultural understanding and development. Alliance Française courses and programs creatively bring together French language and French artistic creation with a wonderfully diverse student body, proving that a language truly lives only when shared.

Each Alliance Française is an independent association regulated by local law and bound by a common purpose to the Fondation Alliance française. The Alliances Françaises are apolitical and nondenominational, which facilitates establishment and long term continuity in numerous countries where it might otherwise be hard to set up shop. Internationally, the Alliances do not play a French diplomatic role, however, they can help provide information on sourcing advice from the French embassy or consulate. Their strength and success is in part due to their integration into the local cultural life of the host country and their close collaboration with individuals and institutions in the cultural and educational community. In Australia, for over a century, passionate devotees and volunteers have worked alongside one another to establish a dynamic network of Alliances that have come to symbolise the strength of the friendship between France and Australia. 

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