Dear Jean Weiss, Director General of the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science, Dear Mohamed El Aziz Ben Achour,Dear President of the Arab World Institute, Dear DominiqueBaudis,Dear Patrick Gérard, Rector of the Académie de Paris,Dear Friends of Expolangues,Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must not blush to find the true beautiful, to acquire the true from where
may he come, even if he comes from peoples far from us and from nations
for those who seek the true, nothing must come before the true, the
is not diminished or diminished by the person who says it or by the person who says it
transmits, no one is diminished by the fact of the true, but everyone is ennobled.”

This Aristotelian voice that still resonates so strongly today, it us
comes from Baghdad, from the court of the Abbasids - it is that of Al-Kindi, in
beginning of his first Philosophy. Twelve centuries later, always
it reminds us that the desire for the universal is expressed in all the

From the mu'allaqât, since the Koranic word became
text», to use the expression of the late Mohammed Arkoun, the
Arabic language, one of the world’s main languages, has played a
transfer of knowledge. To pay tribute to this
on this side of the Mediterranean, it is also to remember its key role in the
transmission of the Greek heritage, these translation flows that have irrigated the
Western thinking – I think, among many other names, of the doctor
Arnaud de Villeneuve, one of the fathers of Catalan letters, who died
700 years ago - ; from his long-time presence at the Collège de France,
from its origins in the France of Valois until today with
historian and translator André Miquel, to whom the Arab World Institute
will pay tribute very soon. Arab has been a
bridge for knowledge, this Qantara whose beautiful review of the Institut du Monde
Arabic carries the title. Arabic of course occupies a major place in the heart of
our common Euro-Mediterranean heritage, and its learning has
always been the best way to ward off the imaginary fear of all
“Farghestan” - to use the name of this country “beyond the sea”,
source of all fears for the old seigneury of Orsenna, in Le
Riverbank of the Syrtes of Julien Gracq.

Putting the Arabic language in the spotlight is obviously not only
to celebrate this rich past, nor remain nostalgic for Al-Andalus or the
Toledo to the three cultures. This beautiful homeland of calligram, kufic
and cursive scriptures is also the language of the most current literature
- and I know you’re going to have a round table of writers on Saturday
from all over the Arab world, with Hoda Barakat, Salwa Al Neimi,
Gamal Al-Ghitany, Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid, Nabil Naoum, Waciny Laredj,
Habib Selmi.

Strong in its diversity, from the fu ā of the Qur'an and from the media to the Arabs
dialectals, strong of its influence on other languages, since Farsi,
Urdu, Turkish, Catalan, Occitan and French, Arabic is
also, for our greatest pride, a language of France. This is, after the
the most spoken language in our country. With several million
of speakers, it exactly meets the definition of language of France:
language traditionally used and transmitted by French citizens
on the national territory. Its mark on French is so significant that we
don’t even notice it, our everyday slang - the blur,
bézef, le bled, le toubib, le klebs – to the exactitudes of the number, of algebra
and zenith, to the beauties of mocha, saraband and apricot.
Henriette Walter and Bassam Baraké have signed a nice book about these returns
of the Arabic language in the West, entitled Arabesques - and, I must
I really like Henriette Walter.

At a time when the Arab world is experiencing major upheavals, the
Arabic language has an essential role to play as a vector of pluralism in
information. I am speaking to you, on this point, as Minister of
Communication. As you know, the Audiovisual Exterior of the
France has an Arabic-speaking pole, and France 24 now issues
in Arabic as well as in French and English. In the long term, it is a question of
register on the same plan as CNN, BBC World and Al Jazeera. France 24
benefits from synergies with the Radio Monte Carlo team
Doualiya, within the RFI group, whose audience is growing, for
more than 7 million listeners today, from
Arabian Gulf.

Beyond language learning, Expolangues plays a role
important for the promotion of plurilingualism. This is an essential issue,
for our country, for the European Union, for the whole world – and
wishes to warmly welcome the remarkable dynamism of the
Confucius Institutes. In our own country which has 75 languages of which
In the French Overseas Territories, we do not benefit enough from multilingualism
in fact. That’s why we decided with Daniel Maximin, the
Commissioner for the Year of the Overseas, to organize States General
of Overseas Multilingualism, which will be held in Cayenne in December,
in order to define the means that are available to us to enhance
this untapped wealth, which can also be a formidable vector

I also take advantage of the fact that we are gathered for this
inauguration of Expolangues to remind you of the special attention
translation issues. I know that I am preaching to a
convinced public, but I think it’s always important to remember
the crucial role, both cultural and political, that translation plays in all
geolinguistic areas. The United Nations
Development stressed this in 2002 in its report on
the Arab world. Translation flows allow us to take the
measuring the flow of knowledge, our ability to think of others
views, to better understand each other. Whether it is the literature
or theoretical production, plurilingualism is an essential weapon in
the diplomacy of the mind.

In line with this, my services will soon be setting up a
massive translation program of humanities journals
in partnership with the CNRS, to improve the
international visibility of our production, while preserving the possibility
to write and think in French. Our place in what we do is
calls for “debate of ideas”, and once again for pluralism of points
view of the world - and here too, it is the ecology of languages, on which
we can influence, which plays a major role.

In the same spirit, I would like to commend the initiative of the Institut Français, which
launched «La Fabrique des Traducteurs», a program co-produced with the
Provence-alp es-Côte d'Azur region and my Ministry, through the
Centre National du Livre et la Délégation générale à la langue française
languages of France. In Arles, the International College of Translators
will devote a session to Arabic, bringing together
young translators who translate from French to Arabic and young
translators who translate from Arabic to French. The same
program has been developed for Russian, Chinese, Italian; it will be
soon, after Arabic, for Spanish and Portuguese. It’s this guy
of initiative, through personalized programs in real deal with the
to be encouraged, in order to
aging of the translators' pool and the risk of losing, without
take care, one of the most valuable links of what we call, to
a scale other than that of scriptorium and lovers of literature, the
intercultural dialogue.

I would like to end by acknowledging the remarkable work of the organizers of
exhibition, and the commitment of the Student group that works a lot, by
Expolangues, to the promotion of plurilingualism. I also want to
pay tribute, in the presence of its Director General, to the Organization
Arab for education, culture and science, whose role has been essential
for the realization of this event, as well as the Arab World Institute,
in particular its President and Mr. Bruno Levallois, Chairman of the Board
of the IMA, who were the bearers.

Shukran Jazilan.
Thank you.