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France To Fund Cultural Activities In Somaliland
Hargeysa, Somaliland, February 23, 2008 (SL Times) – French diplomats who visited Somaliland earlier this week had disclosed that they were interested in improving cultural ties with Somaliland through the French speaking community here.
Thierry Choinier, 1st Secretary at the French embassy in Djibouti, told the Somaliland Times that a number of projects including the development of the teaching and learning of French language in Somaliland will be implemented with French support.
Besides the Association for Franco-phone Somalilanders, assistance will also be given to institutions that have already shown interest in offering courses in the French language such as the Nuradin private school and the University of Hargeysa. The activity plan also includes provision of text books in French.
According to Mr. Choinier, the association for French speakers will be the focal point where those who are being trained in French can meet and learn from those who speak French and had already experienced French culture.
Choinier who was accompanied by the embassy’s Cultural Attaché, Dominique Mondoloni, and the Director of the French Cultural Center in Djibouti, Maurice Brouard, said that they were also interested in supporting local cultural activities.
“Our aim is not only to develop French language-based culture but our involvement is also a way for developing Somaliland’s local culture as well,” he said.
The only French connection with Somaliland has until recently been the involvement of a group of French archeologists in the Las Geel rock paintings.
During their visit, the French diplomats were asked by the Somaliland minister of Culture to transmit their need for further support in archeological digs to Paris.
Asked to comment on Somaliland French relations, the 1st secretary of the French embassy in Djibouti said “I think that there is a step by step improvement and as I told the [Somaliland] minister of Planning when we met this morning at the ministry of Foreign Affairs, our present visit is not the end but rather the beginning of a long term French engagement with Somaliland. Another new step worth-mentioning is the fact that Somaliland’s new representative to France Mr. Mohamoud Salah Nur [Fagadhe] was recently granted a visa by our embassy in Djibouti.”
The bulk of French speaking Somalilanders has traditionally been made up of veterans who returned to Somaliland after serving in the French army.
Mr Choinier pointed out that the French cultural center in Djibouti will serve as a bridge for cultural cooperation with Somaliland.
“The center may contribute by organizing French language courses for trainees or instructors from Somaliland. It may also provide resource persons or technical expertise to back up the Somaliland activities or help in the establishment of new schemes” he concluded.
During their visit, the French diplomats held discussions with various officials in the Somaliland government.
Source: Somaliland Times