Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris, September 1, 2015)
• Slovenia – Visit by Harlem Désir (September 1, 2015)
• Myanmar/Burma – Climate – French assistance
• A new year for French schools abroad (Sept. 1)
• French schools abroad – Inauguration of a new campus for the Lycée Français de Chicago (Sept. 1)
• Minorities in the Middle East – Conference of September 8
Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, will today meet with Pascal Bonnetain, Secretary General of the France-Quebec Office for Youth, in order to discuss youth mobility in the French-speaking world.
This institution, which was established 45 years ago, provides French and Quebec youth with programs to facilitate mobility and professional development.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development finances, within the framework of the international network of French-speaking youth, professional meetings between young people from France, Quebec and French-speaking countries in the areas of culture, science and entrepreneurship.
Young French-speaking people will notably have the opportunity, thanks to the support of the France-Quebec Office for Youth, to participate in the Youth Conference that will precede the Paris Climate Conference.
Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will visit Slovenia today. He will be received by President Borut Pahor and will work together with Karl Erjavec, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on strengthening our bilateral relations, particularly in the economic sphere.
He will meet with the ministers responsible for infrastructure, economic development and European affairs.
Harlem Désir will chair a meeting with Business France in Ljubljana aimed at developing France’s economic presence in Slovenia, while the Slovenian government is preparing to introduce further privatization, notably in sectors such as energy, construction, and transport, an area in which French capability is internationally recognized.
Lastly, he will participate in the 10th Bled Strategic Forum, a forum for reflection and dialogue which brings together political leaders and civil society members; this year, they will be meeting in a context marked by the scale of the challenges of migration across the European continent. On this occasion, he will reaffirm France’s commitment in support of development and European rapprochement in the Balkans.
The widespread flooding that has been affecting Burma since August in the wake of a cyclone has led to the death of around 100 people. 300,000 people have been displaced and almost 1.5 million have been affected. There has been extensive material damage and crops have been partly destroyed.
In the face of this disaster, Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, has decided to allocate €400,000 to actions to support food security and nutrition, notably for children.
France stands in solidarity with countries affected by extreme climate events. In the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference, it has introduced a project to strengthen the alert systems to warn populations and therefore reduce the devastating impact of these events.
On September 1, more than 340,000 students attending nearly 500 French schools in 136 foreign countries head back to class. These schools range from the elementary level through high school.
This network is run by the Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE), an entity that falls under the control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is staffed by more than 1,000 employees sent from France as well as 5,000 residents and 15,000 local hires. This year’s success rate for the baccalaureate was a record 96%, with 72% of those who passed receiving honorable mentions.
French schools in foreign countries offer a place for different cultures to come together, and are a major vehicle in promoting France’s influence abroad. Nearly two-thirds of the students are not French, and more than half of those who pass the baccalaureate continue their higher education in France. The Foreign Ministry funds a special merit scholarship program that has benefited some 800 students of 80 nationalities. Some 25,000 French students will also receive tuition assistance this year.
This year’s priorities include developing digital programs to enhance education, educational programs on sustainable development to coincide with the Paris Climate Conference chaired by Laurent Fabius, and increasing solidarity among students, whether currently enrolled or alumni.
Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs and international development, and Matthias Fekl, minister of state for foreign trade, the promotion of tourism and French nationals abroad, wish these students and their families, as well as all the personnel of these establishments, an excellent year.
The new campus of the Lycée Français de Chicago is being inaugurated today. It is one of the largest in the United States, and its new premises will accommodate 740 students, ranging from the elementary level through high school. More than 40% of these are young Americans.
The new building was designed to reduce energy consumption. Coming a few months ahead of the Paris Climate Conference, this type of architecture helps combat climate disruption.
This school is part of the French educational network in the United States, which includes 46 schools and 17,000 students, 43% of whom are French.
The minister of foreign affairs and international development will preside jointly, with his Jordanian counterpart, over a conference on the victims of ethnic and religious persecution in the Middle East. It will be opened by President Hollande.
This ministerial conference will bring together some 60 delegations and representatives from the UN, the EU, and international organizations. Coming in the wake of the Security Council meeting of March 27, this meeting is designed to identify concrete measures to respond to every aspect of the situation of victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East:
- Responding to the needs of populations in danger; preparing and facilitating the voluntary and sustainable return of displaced persons
- Promoting political solutions that respect human rights and preserve the cultural and religious diversity of the Middle East
- Ending the impunity of those who have committed crimes against local populations for reasons of ethnic affiliation or religious conviction, which may in some cases constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.
As announced in New York, an action plan will be adopted at the end of this conference.