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France in new push to sell culture abroad

Published on 26/03/2009

Paris -- France on Wednesday launched a drive to sell its culture abroad with a new French Institute modelled after Germany's Goethe Institute or the British Council.

The "Institut Francais" will showcase French cultural products and promote the French language in cities worldwide, replacing the myriad of cultural centres that have mushroomed over the years.

The Alliance Francaise, which offers language courses, will remain, but Culture France, which promotes cultural events, will be scrapped.

The new institute will have a budget of 40 million euros (54 million dollars) and a study group is to present a report in the coming months detailing its mission.

"This is a major development," said Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who presented France’s new "cultural diplomacy."

The minister said it would make France "stronger, more efficient and more audacious."