Participants at the conference (Photo: VNA)
Paris (VNA) – Scholars and experts on French language and culture have affirmed Vietnam’s increasingly important role in the French-speaking community and the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) at aconference in France’s southern city of Montpellier as part of the Francophone Week from March 27-31.

Imma Tor Faus, who represented the OIF Secretary-General, highlighted the position and role of Vietnam in the OIF as well as the maintenance and development of French language in the country.

She recognised Vietnam’s significant contributions to the OIF since it joined the organisation in 1970, especially through the hosting of the Francophone Summit in 1997.

French language in Vietnam has helped foster economic and trade ties with partners, especially in African countries, she said, mentioning Vietnam’s rice growing project in Cameroon, cashew processing plants in Benin and Ivory Coast, and wood processing project in Gabon.

The increasing role of French language in Asia will contribute to promoting exchanges in the region towards a better and more humane world, said Faus.

At the event, themed “French in Vietnam: History, literature and memories”, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Sonreviewed important milestones in the relations between Vietnam and the IOF in 2016, including the OIF General Secretary’s Vietnam visitin September, President Tran Dai Quang’s attendance at the Francophone Summit in Madagascar in November, and French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Vietnam.

The diplomat lauded the achievements of the OIF in various fields, especially preventing and coping with crises, reinforcing peace, respecting international law, and promoting cultural diversity, education and environmental protection.

However, he also pointed out that the French-speaking community is facing challenges in Vietnam and the Asian region such as modest number of French speakers.

He urged the OIF to continue supporting the teaching of French language, with priority given to bilingual classes, while increasing scholarships and training courses for public servants and diplomats.

In terms of economy, the organisation should work harder for the formation of an economic system using French language, support partnerships among members and promote the multilateral cooperation in French-speaking space.

On the sidelines of the Francophone Week, Ambassador Son had a meeting with Pierre Pousessel, Governor of Heraultprefecture to discuss cooperation between the locality and Vietnamese partners, especially in economy and tertiary education.-VNA