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The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) operates a vast network of French cultural departments and establishments abroad, working together to forge close links with local partners in pursuit of clearly defined objectives:
bringing French culture and the work of French artists to a wider audience around the world: France’s cultural network abroad organises some 50,000 cultural events a year;
building lasting networks, not just between creative artists but also between cultural policy managers, to respond to the demand from overseas artists and professionals;
France’s artistic policy at the international level is governed by three priorities:
Disseminating contemporary creation in all its forms
outside France, through initiatives such as Baltic Sounds French (contemporary music), France Danse (contemporary dance) or Paris Calling, a season of French contemporary art staged in London. Other initiatives include gallery pairings such as Berlin-Paris or multidisciplinary festivals like the Croisements festival in China;
in France, via the Focus platform: launched in 2008 and encompassing the fields of dance, theatre, circus and street arts, the Focus operation gives overseas programmers a chance to see the latest creations by artists living in France through the medium of a renowned international festival.
Promoting French culture and implementing cultural diversity
Culture & Co, a French bookshop operating in the Gulf States
Welcoming the cultural richness of other countries to France and promoting French culture beyond our borders:
during the Year of France in China (2004-2005), França.br 2009(the Year of France in Brazil) or the Year of France in South Africa (2012), hundreds of events – in the fields of the arts, sciences, education and business - were co-organised with the authorities and local partners, throughout the partner countries.
the cross-cultural Seasons in France operations showcase the creativity of the guest country in every field of endeavour. Since the programme began in 1985, the Year of India, events in Paris and around the country have focused in turn on the many different facets of some thirty countries, including Hungary (Magyart), Algeria (Djazaïr), Armenia (Arménie mon amie), Russia and, most recently, Croatia (Croatie la voici!) in 2012. 2013 is the Year of South Africa.
The Seasons are a widely recognised and much sought-after reference around the world. Many countries are keen to take part in such exchanges and are also keen to learn from France, which leads the field in this particular area.
Building the professional capacity of different artistic sectors
France also pursues a policy of cooperation and development targeting countries in the Priority Solidarity Zone (ZSP). The programme, under the title Afrique et Caraïbes en créations (in french), is managed by the Institut Français and focuses on:
supporting access to the national and international market;
developing the cultural economy, enabling the countries concerned to benefit from the richness of their cultural output;
The programme centres around major themed events in Africa and the Caribbean designed as professional platforms: the Danse l’Afrique Danse dance biennial, the Bamako Encounters photography biennial (Rencontres africaines de la photographie), the Danses Caraïbe biennial, the L’Afrique est à la Mode young fashion designers’ contest, etc.