The 23rd Week of the French Language and la Francophonie (SLFF) was officially launched on 15 March 2018 under the auspices of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Intercantonal Conference of Public Education of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino (CIIP). The inauguration evening took place at 'Depot B' in Bern, in the presence of Ms Krystyna Marty Lang, Deputy State Secretary of the FDFA and Mr Bernhard Pulver, Bern Cantonal Councillor and Vice-Chairman of the CIIP.
On this occasion, the group of French-speaking ambassadors in Bern presented two annual awards: the first went to Mr Claude de Ribaupierre, alias 'Derib', for his work promoting the French language among young people aged 7 to 77 in the Francophonie community and beyond; the second went to the Albanian People's University of Geneva for their work to promote the learning of French as a part of integration. Guests at the inauguration evening also featured the champions of the SLFF song contest: schoolchildren from German-speaking Switzerland, who sang their winning song before the audience.
The SLLF is celebrated every year around 20 March, the International Day of La Francophonie. Switzerland celebrates it too, and will be providing a full programme of events from 15 to 25 March this year. In 2018, the SLFF will celebrate the linguistic and cultural peculiarities of the French-speaking communities of North America, presenting concerts, readings, lectures, culinary tastings, films and other exhibitions related to Quebec, Acadia and Louisiana. More than fifteen towns and cities in Switzerland will host cultural events to promote discussion on the French language and the different French-speaking cultures. Young people aren't forgotten about either: a wide range of educational activities will be provided for schoolchildren in the different linguistic regions of the country, including slam poetry workshops, educational materials, documentaries, a mini-festival of film, etc. The SLFF is above all a great celebration of the French language and the different French-speaking cultures.
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