Mr Assessor to the Culture of the city of Turin, Fiornezo AlfieriMonsieur l'Assesseur à la Culture de la Région Piedmont, Michele CoppolaMonsieur le Préfet,Mr Ambassador, dear Jean-Marc de la Sablière,Madame Consule General of France, dear Véronique Vouland-AneiniMonsieur le Président de l'Alliance française, cher Alain Elkann,Members of the Board of Directors,Mr Secretary General of the Fondation Alliance française, Jean-Claude JacqMesdames and Gentlemen, dear friends,

I return with great pleasure to Turin, in this capital of Piedmont which has
born so many great artists and so many great cultural projects: Cesare
Pavese, Primo Levi, but also Arte Povera, Giuseppe Penone – which I have
had the pleasure of decorating a few weeks ago, Michelangelo Pistoletto,
and yourself Mr President, dear Alain Elkann, who published
in our language the delicate portraits of Piazza Carignano but also The
French father, a sensitive tribute to your father, who was at the origin of so many
cultural initiatives between Italy and France. Your beautiful region, the
Piedmont, and your city are a cultural laboratory, a home of creation and
of major experiments in Europe.
Turin is also the natural gateway to France. Once the Alps
many travelers found themselves in this Outre-mont
with the feeling of encountering a landscape that is not entirely theirs
the image of Stendhal in his Journey to Italy. The links
of France and Piedmont have, in
effect shaped a singular relationship, made of attraction and reciprocity. From
sovereign of the Court of Savoy, like Christine de France, daughter
from Henry IV – your Madama Cristina – to the Piedmontese emigrants
France at the beginning of the 20th century, as Aldo Platini came to settle
in Lorraine after the Great War, personal relationships and ties
of affection that unite France and Piedmont have never
Today the intensity of economic relations and major projects
linking France and Italy further mobilize this vision
open to Europe and the wider horizons. To maintain
this common perspective, language and culture are certainly
instruments of first order: this is the ambition of our diplomacy
and our work to spread the world, it has been
more than a century the mission of the Alliance Française with a global network
and proven experience in the dissemination of language and
the French culture.
I have no doubt that the Alliance Française de Turin, created at the beginning of
the year 2010, head of a network of 50 establishments
will be able to gather this heritage and pass it on,
in connection with the Cultural Service of the French Embassy and the future Institute
to which my Ministry intends to lend its support and expertise.
I welcome in this regard the triennial convention 2011-2013 signed
last Friday between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foundation
Alliance Française, which strengthens the sealed partnership between alliances
French Institutes - to be the unique name of the
former cultural centres and institutes around the world.
Windows on France, its language, its literature, its creation, the
Alliances Françaises play a key role in promoting
our language and culture in the world. They play a role of
as there is nothing like hearing the rustle of the
language” - to quote Roland Barthes – in order to become familiar with a
cultural landscape. They are also places of exchange and cooperation
with local institutions and cultural actors, many of whom are
present today.
With more than 100,000 students, Turin is home to the
headquarters of the Franco-Italian University, translation of the importance of the
bilateral relationship in the field of high-level training and
the field of research. Turin is also a place of excellence in the
with the Fiera del Libro directed by Ernesto Ferrero –
brilliant translator of Céline’s Voyage au Bout de la nuit – in the
in the field of contemporary art – with the presence of
high level in the Castello di Rivoli and in the Merz and Sandretto foundations
Rebaudengo, without forgetting the activity of gallery owners and actors
emerging. Who can forget the retrospectives devoted to the
last years to Philippe Pareno, Adel Abdessemed or the Luci
artista with the beautiful installation of Daniel Buren in front of the Palazzo di
Città? In recent years, Turin has welcomed with enthusiasm
and passion for the new French visual arts scene.
With the RAI auditorium and the Lingotto auditorium, the
symphonic repertoire is quite exceptional. Moreover, the
theatres and operators of live entertainment have always developed a
particular attention to French creation, the image of the festival
Torino Danza in the field of dance, Festival delle Colline in
the field of contemporary dramaturgy, Teatro a Corte festival
in the field of street arts. I would not want to forget the 7th art,
with the Museo nazionale del Cinema and its director, Alberto Barbera,
member of the jury of the last Cannes Film Festival.
I know there have been partnerships over the years.
with the Cultural Service of the French Embassy:
no doubt that the Alliance Française will also be a bridge and a stroke
meeting the “French demand”. In Piedmont more
that elsewhere in Italy, the French language is the language of the neighbour, the language
which offers other possibilities for young people in terms of jobs and leisure.
The cross-border cooperation which has developed in the course of the
years, with the support of the European Union, testify to this
strong link between France and Piedmont. Many
projects have been launched in the field of language cooperation – to
the image of «the School of the neighbor» between Piedmont and the rectorate of Grenoble
– but also in the area of cultural cooperation. I think
especially at the beautiful cross-border project Carta bianca between the Stage
National Malraux of Chambéry and the Festival dell'Colline torinesi: do
create networks, co-produce, these are the tools of a
stronger and more mature relationship in Europe, at the service of knowledge
mutual. You can count on the commitment of the expertise of
services of my Department, including ONDA [National Office of
artistic dissemination], to develop these European
our ambition for a Europe of culture. I am sure that
the new framework of the Euro-region Mediterranean Alps will contribute
to this strengthening of ties and cooperation in all the
areas, especially cultural.
Finally, I would like to mention the forthcoming
150th anniversary of the proclamation of Italian Unity in
Turin in 2011. I know that you attach great importance,
dear Alain Elkann, and I have no doubt that you will find the
events and events to celebrate friendship and
strong ties between our two peoples. Since military support and
diplomatic contribution by Napoleon III to the Cavourian project
Italian immigration to France, a unique relationship made of
proximity and complicity, was established between France and Italy. That
Yves Montand, François Cavanna, Sylvie Testud or
still to Michel Platini, the «part of Italy» that sleeps in many
our compatriots is strongly present: it is inseparable from a
unique relationship to language, aesthetic universe, memory of
I have no doubt that we will find ways to celebrate the
the vitality and timeliness of this relationship on the occasion of
events that will punctuate this year’s commemorations in Turin,
but also elsewhere. I am convinced that this relationship must be
nurture reciprocity: young Italian-language writers are
known and translated into French, playwrights – I think of Ascanio
Celestini, Emma Dante, Pippo del Bono – are represented,
important projects commit our two departments, in the image of the
European Digital Library Europeana. They are one of the elements
the relationship of trust and closeness between our cultures and
our artists.
This, of course, involves understanding and knowing the
language of the other. I therefore hope that the Alliance française de Turin will be
one of the links in this long chain. Strong of a Council
high-quality administration, supported by a global
recognized expertise, registered in a neighbourhood undergoing transformation and
in the making [San Salvario], it is today a «corner of France» in
Turin, it will tomorrow be a major cultural actor in the relationship between the
Piedmont and France.
In The Art of Living, the great Piedmontese writer Cesare Pavese,
wonderful storyteller of these landscapes of pre-alpine Piedmont where the
torrents and where trees are stripped once the harsh winter has passed,
“You don’t remember the days, you remember the moments.”
I am sure that Turinois who love France and the French language
will remember this moment that brings us together in the years to come.
Thank you.