French is the language of some of the most richly developed cultures in Europe. After the Norman Conquest it was the language of the rulers of England. Ever since, it has held pride of place as one of the most important modern foreign languages for English speakers. It was, and is, valued highly throughout the world as a vehicle for literature, thought, diplomacy, certain sciences and commerce.
A significant proportion of the delegates to the United Nations express themselves in French. The literature and cinema which originate from the francophone countries of the American, African and Asian continents are among the most fascinating being created today. Closer to home, European integration, with its developing opportunities for employment, makes a thorough knowledge of the language, institutions and culture of France and francophone countries particularly urgent and rewarding.