Alliance Française Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit language school, known for offering a full range of French classes, both online, and at its two centers, in Roswell and at a new Intown location at Peachtree Center. Its dynamic classes are taught by native or native-level French speakers and follow a method certified by the French Ministry of Education, making it Atlanta’s premier source for French language instruction.
A second, but equally important, aspect of AFATL’s mission is to promote the knowledge of French-speaking cultures in Metro Atlanta. Alliance Française organizes educational and cultural programming that fosters cross-cultural understanding and enriches the cultural life of the great Atlanta Metro area. Alliance Française Atlanta was founded in 1912 and has been teaching French formally for over fifty years, and has always had a cultural function, hosting film screenings, book presentations, musical recitals, wine tastings, gourmet events, fashion shows, debates and discussions and leading educational trips to locations throughout the French-speaking world. It is perhaps best known for its annual Bastille Day Celebration, which brings Atlantans together to celebrate the founding of the French Republic and the historical relationship between the United States and its oldest ally.
“These are all areas that have been seriously hit by the pandemic,” says Executive Director, Dr.Richard Keatley. “We are hoping, rather, we need to reactivate our cultural programming as quickly as possible. Atlanta is a dynamic regional and, arguably, world capital, with an extremely diverse population, so it is our job to contribute to that diversity by helping Atlantans understand the role the French language has played in American and world culture, and to do so in an engaging way that builds community and breaks down barriers. Working with partner organizations is an essential part of all that.”
Alliance Française Atlanta has active partnerships and collaborative agreements for cultural and educational programs with many of Atlanta’s universities. It also works with the French teachers and programs of local schools, working in close partnership with the Georgia Chapter of the Association of French Teachers (AATF) and with cultural organizations whose missions align with its own. Théâtre du Rêve is a prime example of Atlanta’s vibrant cultural scene. A professional theatre company that brings French language and Francophone culture to life on the American stage, Théâtre du Rêve has been an active Alliance Française partner since its founding in 1995 and has hosted children’s workshops, special classes, and joint events with Alliance Française Atlanta. African Film and Arts Foundation is another active AFATL partner, with a mission to promote the understanding of African Film through events such as their Cinema for the Culture screening series and annual African Film Festival Atlanta.
Alliance Française is part of an important French and French-speaking presence in Atlanta, which, as a commercial center for the Southeastern United States is home to a French-American Chamber of Commerce, and consulates for France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada, as well as delegations from the province of Québec and the Federation of Wallonie-Bruxelles. These French-speaking organizations join forces once a year, during the month of March, to celebrate La Francophonie, a multi-cultural collaboration promoting awareness of the richness and diversity of francophone cultures throughout the world.
One of Alliance Française’s most important partnerships is with the Atlanta Goethe Zentrum, Atlanta’s center for German culture and language teaching. Goethe Zentrum and AFATL have collaborated in shared spaces since 2008, making it one of the first Franco-German collaborations of its kind in the world. Since 2020, they have increased their collaboration by launching joint Franco-German Cultural Programming, inaugurated in 2021 with a series of lectures, debates, and events on the role that culture plays in addressing our planet’s climate crisis. Climate Crisis and Contemporary Culture received an award of $21,000 from the Franco-
German Cultural Fund, a joint program of the French and German governments run by the Institut Français. The program launched this summer with a virtual round table featuring French, German, and American artists and experts whose work focuses on culture and climate change and will continue with virtual and in-person events this Fall.
By launching the AFATL BLOG, Alliance Française hopes to provide a forum for better understanding Atlanta’s French-speaking communities and events, as well as the role of French-speaking cultures in the world in a way that highlights our city’s diversity and what’s happening today. Guest contributors will be invited to share insights and perspectives that deepen readers’ understanding of the various manifestations of French and Francophone culture in our city, as well as the role our international city plays in our great global village.
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