|Type||Cultural institution, EPIC|
|Product||French cultural and language education|
|President: Pierre Buhler (since 2017)|
The Institut Français (French capitalization, Institut français; "French institute") is a French public industrial and commercial organization (EPIC). Started in 1907 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for promoting French, francophone as well as local cultures around the world, in 2011 it replaced the CulturesFrance project as the umbrella for all French cultural outreach projects, with an expanded scope of work and increased resources (Decree No. 2010-1695 of 30 December 2010, in response to the law relating to the external scope of the State adopted on 12 July 2010).
Chaired by Bruno Foucher, who is assisted by Anne Tallineau, Deputy General manager, and Clément Bodeur-Cremieux, Secretary General, the French Institute works closely with the French cultural network abroad consisting of more than 150 branches and nearly 1000 branches of the Alliance française around the world. The process of incorporating the cultural networks of a dozen diplomatic missions has been conducted from January 2011 to 2014 as an experiment: Cambodia, Chile, Denmark, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Georgia, Ghana, India, Kuwait, UK, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore and Syria (suspended due to the political situation in Syria.)
The government has entrusted the Institut Français with promoting French culture abroad through artistic exchanges: performing arts, visual arts, architecture, the worldwide diffusion of French books, film, technology and ideas. Accordingly, the institute has developed a new scientific program for the dissemination of culture.
The Institut Français welcomes foreign cultural missions through the organization of "seasons" or festivals and cooperation with the countries of the south, including ensuring the management of the funds of "Fonds Sud Cinema" in partnership with the National Center of Cinematography and the moving image.
It also provides training for newly formed missions and professionalization of staff of the international French cultural network.
The first French institute, the Institut français de Florence, was established in 1907 in Florence by Julien Luchaire, with the help of the Faculty of Arts of Grenoble, followed by others would play an important role in the creation of deep cultural ties between France and other country.
Historically the French institutions established in the first half of the 20th century were committed to academic institutions, while the French cultural centers, usually created later in the second half of the 20th century or the beginning of the 21st century, were created by the French government. This difference does not exist anymore and cultural centers are now adopting the name of Institut Français.
Some institutions have a bi-national status, governed by a bilateral agreement between the governments, particularly in Guinea (Conakry), Guinea Bissau ( Bissau), Mozambique ( Maputo), Namibia ( Windhoek) and Niger (Jean Rouch Franco-Nigerien Cultural Centre of Niamey ).
The 143 French institutions and French cultural centers are institutions located outside France under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and charged with promoting intellectual and cultural audiovisual cooperation between professionals, to present the French, Francophone as well as local traditional and contemporary art for all audiences (to begin with, with the young audience), to promote French higher education to foreign students and teachers and offer a complete range of courses and international examinations for the French language.
They usually have, in the embassies of France which they depend on, a financially (but not legally) autonomous status. This also gives its director the status of authorising and being accountable for the budget devoted to the establishment (which is a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from its own resources) and a reserve fund not limited to the year, which enables the creation of multi-year programs.
They are funded fully or partially by their own revenues raised by teaching French as official language or as a foreign language (depending on the countries) and sponsorship (for those with a genuine ambition in terms of cultural engineering).
Today, French institutions and French cultural centers (RTCs) are essential levers for the development of cooperation between network professionals culture and education as well as for the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity.