Open House Day of Kyiv Institut Francais
Kyiv Institut Francais recently held an open house day celebrating french culture through a variety of activities. Among those present was France's new ambassador to Ukraine
Since its creation in 1994, the French Institute of Kyiv is committed to promoting French culture in Ukraine.
Every year in September, the institute – which is under the authority of the French embassy – celebrates the return from holidays and presents different activities to Ukrainians during a festive open house day.
This year, the institute also welcomed the new Ambassador of France, Emmanuel De Poncins who arrived in Kyiv at the end of August.
“I came to Ukraine just a few days ago by car because I wanted to change the diplomats’ habit of taking a plane. I also wanted to see this country in depth. To be perfectly honest, this is a country that I do not know well, but I know some of its neighbors like Poland pretty well, where I’ve been in office. I spent the main part of my career working in European affairs so I perfectly know how the European Union works. I know Central and Eastern Europe very well, I was also the ambassador to Bulgaria, and went to Romania, so I know this part of Europe but not Ukraine specifically,” De Poncins said.
Among the main roles of the institute is the promotion of the French language which remains very popular in Ukraine. Indeed, 250 000 citizens of Ukraine are learning French, 3000 of them learn French at the Institute of Kyiv and many others in the six “Alliances Francaises” located in different regions of the country.
“Our big projects are actually providing training for French language teachers in Ukraine, organizing contests like “Formidable” which is a contest of francophone songs, and so on. We are very active in this field,” Director of the Institut Francais of Kyiv Nathalie Beras said.
Throughout the years, many events related to French culture are organized by the institute, and the main one, Le Printemps Francais is a festival which aims to build bridges between France and Ukraine through literature, music, dance, and cinema.
For the open house day, the head of the audiovisual mission, Benjamin Orliange, set up a virtual reality session in the Institute with the help of New Cave Media a VR developer in Ukraine. For Orliange, the audiovisual sector is one of the fields where French and Ukrainians have a lot to do together.
“In 2020, we’d like to develop virtual reality beyond the walls of the French Institute and find ways to work with both Ukrainian professionals – because they have a huge knowledge of virtual reality here – and French professionals in an outreach program like today,” Orliange said.
According to the French Institute, each year, about 70,000 people attend the cultural events organized by it in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.