Those in love with all things French will once more have the chance to celebrate their language and culture this March, during Lebanon’s ninth edition of the annual “Mois de la Francophonie” (Francophone Month).
Organized by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in partnership with the Culture Ministry and the embassies of Francophone countries, the month’s program will be full of exhibitions, conferences, competitions, concerts and performances.
“The 2019 Month of the Francophonie in Lebanon will be, as always, a great celebration dedicated to our values and cultures, also dedicated to the diversity that enriches us,” AUF Middle-East General Director Herve Sabourin said at Wednesday’s news conference. “A wide variety of topics, cultural assets, involvement of all – young and old. This is the best message we can communicate for the ever-renewed vitality of our Francophone identity in this complex world.”
Lebanon currently holds the vice-presidency of the Francophonie Summit and will do so until the next summit in 2020, Sabourin said, making this year’s Francophone Month all the more meaningful.
“The AUF,” he added, “is fully committed … [to shine] the light on three symbolic dimensions of our Francophone space – solidarity, plurality and diversity that represent the cement of our actions throughout the world.”
The recently appointed Culture Minister Mohammad Daoud, expressed hope that many Lebanese people would participate and reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to the Francophonie, before announcing part of the program.
Lebanon will kick off the festivities on March 1 with a concert given by the National Conservatory of Music’s Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra. Experts from France, Jordan and Lebanon will assemble at Beit Beirut on March 5, for the roundtable discussion “Migration in Lebanon and in the Middle East, From Settlement to Return.”
Other highlights include the launch of “O Bel Ete! Chansons Eternelles,” a children’s illustration and audio book sponsored by the Swiss Embassy. Comprised of 14 Swiss folk tales from the ’30s, it will be made available to children in Beirut and Deir al-Qamar on March 4-5, respectively.
The International Women Photographers Award will be presented March 7.
The competition aims to highlight the under-representation and pay of women in the photography industry, by showcasing the competitors’ work and touring the winning series.
“Nos Divas,” a theatrical musical by Hassan Geretly, will be performed March 15 at Theatre Montaigne. Inspired by Lamia Ziade’s illustrated novel “O Nuit o Mes Yeux,” the performers offer original pieces inspired by Egypt’s Golden Age of music and cinema.
Organized by USJ Students Department, the International Debate Championship will bring together participants from more than 10 French-speaking countries. “The final competition [will take place] March 15,” Sabourin said.
“The new feature of this year, it will be in two languages, French and Arabic.”
The Romanian Embassy’s “Printemps Francophone 2019,” on March 22, promises to combine French-language songs, theater and education into a single celebration.
Also on March 22, the Institut Francais will host “Le Piano Oriental,” an illustrated concert that promises to combine technology and art. The show features pianist Stephane Tsapis, whose music will be accompanied by the drawings of Zeina Abriached.
The performance tells the tale of Lebanese musician Abdallah Kamanja. In the ’50s, Viennese piano manufacturer Hofman invited Kamanja to the Austrian capital to present his invention an oriental piano capable of playing quartertones.
The Francophone Month concludes April 6 with Museum Night, during which 13 museums around Lebanon will stay open to the public, free of charge.
For the full program visit: auf.org/moyen-orient