Islamabad -  A weeklong ‘Francophonie Festival’, with an array of cultural events, would starts on Monday at Pakistan National Council of the Arts to showcase the culture of French speaking countries.

French, Belgium, Canadian, Switzerland, Vietnamese, Lebanese and other French speaking countries’ embassies in the federal capital have come together to organize the gala event.

All the visitors coming to see the exhibition, films and documentaries being screened would get free access to all events.   

The term ‘francophonie’ refers to the world community of French speaking countries who believe in the unity and diversity of cultures, said Peter Claes while giving details of the festival.

Peter Claes said, out of 57 countries who were members of Francophonie Festival across the world, 16 were based in the federal capital were hosting the festival to represent what we stand for to the people of Pakistan.

He acknowledged this festival was not very well known in Pakistan, which was an English speaking country but these events would portray the values, education, rule of law and culture of French speaking nations. One of the objectives of the festival, he said, was to promote study of the French language, as language is a key ion the modern world in creating understanding among the countries. Some foreign missions in Karachi will also celebrate the festival, he added.

He said, next time he would ensure that some sports activities should also be included in this festival.

 Belgium envoy said all the films being shown on the occasion through the cooperation of French, Austrian, Canadian, Switzerland, Belgium, Tunisian, Canadian, Vietnamese and Czech Republic would be in their original languages but had been subtitled in English so that viewers can enjoy them.

In her brief remarks Canadian high commissioner to Islamabad Heather Cruden said any one could come to see exhibition and watch movies free of cost.     

Lebanese ambassador to Pakistan Mona Eltannir said her country had, organized 9th summit of French speaking countries in 2009 and its theme was dialogue of culture hence cultural links were very important to forge relations among states.

According to the schedule of the festival the exhibition ‘Seeing with your Ears-Hearing with yours Eyes’ along with other exhibits would be held at Pakistan Council of the Arts on Monday while the film festival will kick start on Wednesday by showing the first film  ‘The Outskirts of Hanoi’ and would conclude on Saturday by screening ‘Felix et Meira, Canada’.