[Event] Francophonie and influence, now and tomorrow
UNCERTAINTIES - Influences, Geopolitics, Digital, Risks

[Event] Francophonie and influence, now and tomorrow

Conference cycle "At the heart of influences" - 20th of October, 2023

This event is part of our conference cycle “At the heart of influences”.

History shows that there exists an intricate link between influence, power and language. Today, the number of French speakers worldwide is growing: from 321 million in 2022, the most optimistic forecasts estimate that this figure will reach 600 million by 2050. Nevertheless, the French-speaking world (Francophonie) has recently suffered a series of setbacks on the international stage, such as the sudden end to the teaching of French programmes in Algerian public schools. It is therefore important to ask whether, in the future, in areas as varied as politics, the economy, culture, education and sport, Francophonie will continue to be a vector of influence, especially for France, or whether it now calls for a fresh impetus.

As part of our conference cycle “At the heart of influences”, we dedicated our third meeting to the topic of “Francophonie and influence, now and tomorrow”. The conference was held at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée on Friday the 20th of October 2023.

Speakers (in order of appearance):

Moderated by Claude Revel, Director of SKEMA Publika and former French Interdepartmental Delegate for Economic Intelligence.

Photo des intervenants et de la modératrice
De gauche à droite : Claude Revel, Clarisse Gérardin, Frédéric Munier, Claudine Lepage et Guy Gweth
Photo des intervenants
De gauche à droite : Clarisse Gérardin, Guy Gweth, Claudine Lepage et Frédéric Munier
Photo des intervenants
De gauche à droite : Clarisse Gérardin, Frédéric Munier, Claudine Lepage et Daniel Zielinski

By combining different approaches, our speakers were able to draw a realistic (not fatalistic) portrait of Francophonie as a means of exerting influence. Regarding the African continent’s situation, they tempered the usual diagnosis of growing disenchantment towards Paris, to which many have arrived due to the geopolitical symptoms observed. Rather, they urged the audience to gauge the healthy economic
Francophonie, a driving force eager to buy French products, which are perceived as quality assurance. They also stressed the importance of education and civil society in the success of an influential Francophonie. The discussion furthermore highlighted the strategy of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Based on a series of pragmatic observations, this strategy aims, among other things, to attract foreign upper middle classes within French lycées, modelled after international schools.

Discussions with the audience also highlighted the need, in order to give Francophonie a second wind, to appeal to the soul and imagination of Francophiles. The situation of the French language within the world of sport illustrated the need for better coordination between public and private Francophone actors in all the areas mentioned above. Only then can French claim to be a language of opportunity.

You can download a detailed summary of the conference below.