March 31, 2017 | Friday

We Kosovars are francophones and Europeans!

By Kaltrina IBISHI

Secretary General of the Association of French Professors in Kosovo

Kaltrina IBISHI

Kosovo like the whole family of francophone countries, part of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), celebrated the Spring of Francophonie with a series of activities. Organisers, the Embassy of France in Kosovo, embassies and diplomatic missions of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, the OIF member states, the Alliance Française of Prishtina together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo and its excellent francophones, etc., proposed something extraordinary in such a short time. A large number of activities, not just in Prishtina, but also in other towns of the country, in schools, universities, as well as in the media, music clubs, in restaurants, etc., offered a taste of France, of francophone culture throughout Kosovo. The French Ambassador in Kosovo, His Excellency Mr. Didier Chabert, in the tradition of the great diplomats of this great country, took part in most activities, and contacted many people of different profiles. In his meeting at the EU Information and Cultural Centre in Prishtina – EUICC, together with the President of the Association of French Professors, Prof. Dr. Nerimane Kamberi, he noted that “274 million francophones in five continents celebrate the diversity of the Francophonie through contests of words, spectacles, film festivals, poetry meetings, gastronomy, art exhibitions, etc.”

Kosovo thus joined one of the two largest cultural and linguistic communities in the world and in the EU, the Francophone community, for over two weeks. The media reinforced the message of the activities in question, the message of coexistence in diversity by observing it in all Kosovar homes. In one of them, Prof. Dr. Murat Bejta said something in French that Ambassador Chabert will certainly not forget, as a sign of Kosovo’s commitment for France: le français est la langue la plus riche, la plus logique, la plus mathématique (French is the richest language, the most logical language, the most mathematical language).

All this is wonderful: a short circuit of France and united Europe with Kosovo. Short Circuit is a term from physics: when a large amount of electricity passes through contact of two wires which get closer for a small fraction of time. This short cultural circuit was certainly not left alone in the Weeks of Francophonie in 2017, but will be extended throughout the year, all the time.

Activities of this coming spring each year were of great importance for several reasons. Today thousands of students throughout Kosovo learn French. Tens of thousands of others have learned French in the history of Kosovar education. Many speak French and many will be speaking within the territory of Kosovo. This would not have been possible without the Department of French at the University of Prishtina, beginning with its first head, who has led it with full maturity over the years, Prof. Dr. Halit Halimi, who has completed his doctoral studies in linguistics at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. This department under his direction, as a source of light has radiated through generations of teachers and through them to all Kosovo. The Association of French Professors of Kosovo SHPFK/APFK, originating from this department acts to strengthen the demand to learn French, and spread the French language in Kosovo. The University of Prishtina last year was admitted to the University Agency of La Francophonie, giving some scholarships for Kosovar students with the support of French government. This membership of UP opens up new possibilities of international cooperation, especially with the francophone academic world. This world certainly lies within the European Union and beyond, everywhere where French is spoken.

Kosovo, always and increasingly being part of OIF, through this alignment, showed that it is part of Europe, which aspires to join. Kosovo’s European agenda is facilitated a lot from our accession to the vast world of francophone culture.

Other Springs of Francophony will increase the number of those Kosovars to be associated with France, the French-speaking world, the European culture and the European family of states.