Mr President of the Forum of Foreign Cultural Institutes in Paris (FICEP), dear Martin Bonhardt,Distinguished Directors of Institutes and Foreign Cultural Centres in Paris,Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

“Does Paris shine?” By welcoming you today, I am not resisting the
temptation to take the title of one of the round tables organized
by the Canadian Cultural Centre on the occasion of the Week
cultures, which the FICEP now organizes for the
ninth consecutive time. If Paris shines, it is also thanks to you and to this
the unique network of your 46 institutes and representations
in the capital. Like the characters of The Electricity Fairy
Raoul Dufy, you help shape the cultural picture of the
capital.
Host city for artists and intellectuals from all over the world, Paris has
rise to the challenge of living up to one’s own history. There is no need
today to live on the only memory of the Montmartre years,
Montparnasse or Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Paris has fully kept
its attraction potential, cosmopolitan and plural. Today Paris is, between
one of the capitals of African music, and one of the
of the Arab world. From this capacity of attraction, the density of your network
is a sign. I would like to greet the City of Paris, which will
your Week of Foreign Cultures with that of
the Sleepless Night.
You have chosen this year to honour material heritage
and intangible: an initiative to which I am all the more aware that
I attach great importance to the preservation and the valorization
and the multilateral commitments that this entails. I have
signed in this capacity with my colleague the Secretary of State for Ecology, the
day after the European Heritage Days, a Charter
commitment on the management of French cultural property included in the List
World Heritage Week. The Week of Foreign Cultures will therefore be
also a great opportunity for Paris audiences to discover your
specific approaches to heritage issues.
I would like to commend the density and quality of the events that you
propose, who: the round tables on digital at the Italian Institute y
the Institute of the Arab World. These events encourage
also visitors to push, sometimes for the first time, the doors
of your institutes; in other cases, you propose them outside the walls, in
partnership with French cultural institutions: I think by
example at the Greek exhibition on Ulysses of Tennyson in Borges at
Gustave Moreau Museum, the Korean shamanic ritual at Quai Branly, or
the exhibition on the art of Slovakia in the 15th century at the
Cluny, which I had the great pleasure of inaugurating recently with my
slovak counterpart.
Daring to cross the doors of your institutes is also for everyone
give the opportunity to cross the most beautiful and intimate portals:
I want to talk about language. Again this year, Xavier North and
General Delegation of the French Language and the Languages of
my department partnered with you, with L'Express as
partner, to propose on the occasion of the European
languages, a “language passport” that will allow, during the
Week of Foreign Cultures, enjoy introductory courses at more
of thirty languages. To learn the language of the other is to open oneself to the
grammar of his imagination. This week, exoticism or strangeness
will be more excuses, because the doors are open.
The chance to have you in Paris is of course to benefit from the
programming of your cultural institutions and services, which represent
points of outreach. But in network with the FICEP, you
beyond your representational functions. Your institutes do not
are not only showcases of public diplomacy: they are also, well
tools to promote artists' mobility and encourage
for example, crossed residences.
Your Forum also gives us the opportunity to cross knowledge
I am particularly sensitive to the idea that a better
sharing our approaches, ideas and practices
in the field of cultural action is a necessity if we want to
be better equipped to meet the new challenges of cultural action
public sector. Whether it be foreign outreach strategies, assistance to
the creation, the chance of the digital, the valorization of our
assets, your Forum provides a unique platform
joint reflection.
This spirit that animates you will certainly inspire me in the next
meeting of the Ministers of Culture of the European Union. It is also
of course in this spirit that I will go to Avignon in November to
open the international meetings of culture, economy and
media, alongside my German counterpart Bernd Neumann. In the
management, we must never lose sight of the fact that the horizon is
broader, and that closed approaches on their own no longer
meaning: the challenges we face, the issues we face
in terms of the effectiveness of our actions are often
Your presence is here to remind us of this. This sharing of
approaches is, I believe, one of the most important dimensions and
more operational of the promotion of cultural diversity and
linguistic: you are, with the Forum of Foreign Cultural Institutes
in Paris, both lawyers and practitioners.
For all these reasons, I want to tell you again the price that the
Ministry of Culture and Communication attaches to its partnership
with the Forum of Foreign Cultural Institutes in Paris. Passeurs and
mediators, you are, with your teams, the artisans of this
decentralisation. I can only congratulate you and thank you for that.