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French Institute in Slovenia marking 50th anniversary

Ljubljana, 22 February - The French Institute in Slovenia will host a reception on Wednesday evening where it will present the institute's history and its main events this year. In a new project called Utopia Nights, the institute will explore alternative ideas for a better future with French, German, Serbian and Slovenian philosophers and artists.

Ljubljana
French Ambassador to Slovenia Marion Paradas (left) and President Borut Pahor.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

Apart from an address by French Ambassador to Slovenia Marion Paradas, tonight's reception will feature a video with notable Slovenian public figures speaking about their experience with the French Institute.

According to the institute, the reception will also be attended by Culture Minister Tone Peršak.

The institute traces its roots back to 1921 when a French centre was set up in cooperation with the French government on the initiative of Slovenian intellectuals and Francophiles.

After its activities were discontinued during WWII, it was re-established as the French Cultural Centre Charles Nodier in 1967, cultural attache Mathias Rambaud told the STA ahead of the reception.

Starting out as an institute for promoting the French language and culture in Slovenia, the institute has since expanded its scope of activities to education and science.

Another new project marking the anniversary that Rambaud highlighted is the Goncourt List, which the institute is preparing in cooperation with the University of Ljubljana.

As part of the project, students are encouraged to read four novels from the latest list of nominees for the Prix Goncourt - the most prestigious accolade for French literature - and choose their own winner, which will then be translated and published in Slovenian.

The French Institute has been an initiator of numerous cultural events, particularly during Ljubljana's one-year stint as World Book Capital from April 2010 and when Maribor was the European Capital of Culture in 2012.

It has been hosting the Festival of Francophone Film every March for five years, and helped organise an exhibition of Slovenian impressionist painters in Paris in 2013. France was also the first country to be featured at the Slovenian Book Fair in 2015.

Moreover, Rambaud said the institute also worked with different ministries and has, for example, presented France's experience with managing the tourism and commercial potential of cultural heritage to the Culture Ministry.

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© STA, 2017