French conference an African first

15 August 2008 | Story by Chris McEvoy

French flag

In a first for the continent, South Africa has won the bid to host the 13th International Federation of Teachers of French (FIPF) Conference in 2012.

Despite the fact that numerically the majority of French-speakers reside on the continent, the FIPF's four-yearly conference, which is attended by as many as 2 000 delegates from 110 countries, has never yet been held on African soil.

The Association for French Studies in Southern Africa (AFSSA) presented the bid at the 12th FIPF conference in Québec City, Canada in July. The bid strategy detailed the credentials of AFSSA, and the multicultural and multilingual character of South Africa and the importance of recognising the African Francophone identity.

"This is a collaborative venture with academics from a variety of South African universities being involved in a joint effort, with support from the Service de Coopération et d'Action Culturelle of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs," said Vanessa Everson of UCT's School of Languages and Literatures. "We believe in the value and efficacy of team-work."

The first African FIPF conference will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre in July 2012.

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