Hundreds of students in Hanoi on March 19 joined in a festival celebrating the International Francophone Day 2011.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Jean-Hubert Lebet, President of the Group of Francophone Embassies, Delegations and Institutes, praised the initiative to organise the festival on the occasion of the International Francophone Day (March 20).

The festival offered an opportunity for the Francophone community in Hanoi , especially students, to share their interest in the language and cultures of French-speaking countries, he said.

It also helped increase the popularity of the French language in order to make it not only the language of culture but also the language of science, trade, economics and law, he added.

During the event, held at the Hanoi University, students visited camps and showrooms of embassies of French-speaking countries, including Canada , Switzerland , Belgium and France . They also had a chance to join interesting games such as hockey, a traditional sports in Canada, and a contest on France as well as enjoy famous cheese from Switzerland .

The 14th French Singing Contest for the northern region was also held during the festival, drawing the participation of 16 units with 26 solo and duet items./.