3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends
In addition to its priority of promoting French culture abroad, France is developing a new policy of international co-operation aimed at promoting cultural pluralism and diversity. Several government departments and local authorities share responsibility for initiatives in this area.
Promoting French culture outside of France
The promotion of French culture abroad is one of the oldest components of French foreign policy. Mainly the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it involves a wide range of activities including the promotion of the French language, education and academic exchanges, scientific and technical co-operation, exchanges in the arts, books, and the promotion of French films, radio and television. The policies laid down by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are implemented abroad by an external cultural co-operation network comprised of the cultural departments of French embassies and consulates, French cultural centres and institutions (approximately 150), 25 human and social science research centres, and the Alliances Françaises (approximately 1 000 of varying size).
The Ministry of Culture and Communication plays a key role in the field of cultural industry exports via organisations partly co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the different fields of culture industries. These include: Unifrance for cinema, France Edition for books, Bureau export de la musique française, and Culture France (formerly Association française d'action artistique - AFAA). Established in 1922, this structure implements the cultural exchange policies defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Culture France also works in partnership with numerous local and regional authorities in France (municipalities, départements, régions). It carries out diffusion initiatives and implements co-operation, co-direction, training and residential projects around the world. It is also the co-ordinator of foreign cultural seasons organised in France.
The promotion of foreign cultures in France
In order to foster the expression of other cultures in France, the Ministry of Culture and Communication encourages culture operators to expose French audiences to foreign productions. In collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry actively participates in the organisation of foreign cultural "seasons" and supports a large number of initiatives that place particular emphasis on foreign cultures in their programming, festivals and institutions (Maison des cultures du monde) throughout France. As a result, hundreds of events are helping to extend foreign culture in France.
The vitality of France's cultural scene and its experience in cultural administration and management give rise to a significant demand for co-operation (in the form of expertise and training) with foreign governments and culture operators. In addition to the programmes "Courants" (Streams) and "Formation Internationale Culture" (International Cultural Training), a number of directorates and institutions of the Ministry of Culture and Communication provide training for foreign professionals, and numerous expert missions covering a wide range of fields are organised each year.