Vietnam will once again honour the French language through a film festival and concerts to celebrate International Francophonie Day, which falls on March 20.

"It's an opportunity for us to honour the values of solidarity, cultural diversity and respect for cultural differences," said Anissa Barrak, Asia-Pacific director of the International Francophone Organisation (OIF).

To begin this month-long celebration, an official ceremony will take place at 6.30pm on March 20 at the Hanoi Opera House. The ceremony will be followed by the concert by Haitian singer Jean Jean Roosevelt and performances by dancers from the Vietnam Opera and Ballet Theatre from 8pm.

A cultural day will also be held at the Hanoi University on Nguyen Trai Street on March 21 from 10am to 3pm, gathering together lovers of French culture. They will meet with representatives of key players in the Francophone community involved in education, culture and development co-operation. A karaoke singing contest for students in Vietnamese and French will be organised at the event.

On the same day, the public will also watch performances of French music by Vietnamese students.

The highlight of the celebrations will be the Francophone Film Festival which will showcase the cultural diversity of the Francophonie. It will kick off in Ho Chi Minh City on March 23 with the award-winning Tunisian documentary film Le Challat de Tunis (The Slasher of Tunis).

The festival will present in total ten films from Vietnam, Bulgaria, France, Haiti, Morocco, Romania, Switzerland, and Tunisia.

The films, which have won prestigious prizes, will be screened in HCM City, Hanoi, Hue and Vinh with Vietnamese subtitles, while the Vietnamese movie will have French subtitles.

A contest testing the audiences' knowledge of the films will offer members of the public the chance to win interesting prizes. More information can be found at

Two concerts will also be held in HCM City featuring singer Alif Naaba from Burkina Faso and Vietnamese pianist Cao Thanh Lan together with a wide range of other cultural activities in Hue, Vinh, HCM City and Can Tho.

Vietnam was one of the founding countries of the International Francophonie Organisation in 1970.

Over the years, the IFO has maintained active co-operation with Vietnam including the exchange of training and technical expertise in a number of fields.

French is spoken by 270 million people in 80 countries across the world.-VNA