President Mohamed Nasheed has welcomed a series of events in the Maldives designed to try and forge closer cultural and development partnerships with France, claiming they are indicative of a country that is looking to become “more democratic, more liberal” and ultimately, freer.
Speaking last night during a reception at the National Art Gallery in Male’, Nasheed joined Christine Robichon, French ambassador to the Maldives, in playing up the latest developments in what he claimed was a long relationship that dated back to the 1700’s and was continuing to benefit the nation in a variety of different ways.
This week in particular has seen a number of developments relating to French culture and expertise in the Maldives, including the naval ship FS Mistral docked in the country’s waters as part of a long-term training deployment and the more scaled back establishment of the Alliance Francaise in the recently opened National Library in Male’.
The Alliance Francaise is an organisation that works to promote French cultural language programmes across the world, and is running a Film Festival of productions from French speaking nations. The group was first officially recognised in the Maldives in 2009 and estimates that the number of students now learning French at public schools has increased to 400 people from just four during the last two years.
Historically the Maldives has seen significant interest from French tourists in visiting its waters and resorts. While conceding that the strength of this interest had fallen behind other markets like China, Ambassador Robichon told guests at the gallery that the option for a growing number of students in the country to learn French may not make as much business sense locally, but still offered the “variety” of speaking a major international language for Maldivian students.
President Nasheed said that he hoped a growing number of Maldivian children and the wider population were looking to embrace different history, culture and languages through education.
“We want to welcome everyone to the country, we want to become multicultural and we are moving along these lines and with our new found friendship I am sure we will be able to achieve that,” he said.
Along with the potential cultural pursuits being offered to Maldivians, President Nasheed also announced that work was beginning on French-sponsored development assistance projects to provide sewerage and water systems to islands in the country.
Whilst thanking the French ambassador for her country’s assistance with these developments, Nasheed claimed that with its recent ascension from being designated as a UN ‘least developed country’ (LDC) to a middle income nation, the Maldives was having to learn to try and stand on its own two feet.
“Recently we have been promoted from a least developed country and we want to stand up to that. We want to be able to fend for ourselves and live within our means,” he said. “We do not want aid, we want understanding and friendship and I am sure we will find that in France.”
20 thoughts on “France helping Maldives realise development and multicultural ambitions: President”
Gayoom (while under his rule)once said the democracy in Maldives is second to none. We know he was lying then, and today he confirmed that he lied to us once again. We have had enough of this old man, the only thing left is to bring justice to him.
Is there any chance of asking France if they could clean up our filthy "Fish Market".
I call the President not to promote ant-Islamic activities in this country.
i want to retain our unique maldivian culture, while respecting other cultures, anni wants us to be like hawaii....or other places....why does it have to be aboout HIS vision? bo halaaku, he wants to give residency to foreigners, all very well, BUT we should have equal opportunities in other countries...ethaneh naadhey....bo halaaku, miverinnah ithubaarukoh verikan havaalu kurevunu kamun
im sick of this "democracy"..this government has proven to be worse than gayoom, creating systems wich create corruption, and no respect for the wishes of maldivians or securing their interests....its not democracy, even if you scream at the top of your lungs
@ma: By Maldivian culture do you mean real Maldivian culture, mysticism, sufism, Fanditha, or do you mean fundamentalist Islam which is much more aggressively opposed to real Dhivehi culture than French culture could ever be?
@ben..you don't know nothing about maldives culture, a foreigner if you ever were a one would not understand our culture as well as us...Balck magic practiced in maldives maybe prohibited in Islam..but it does not take our religion away, it does not make us christian..Last three year we haven't seen a single deportation of Christian missionaries...not because they are not here but because it this corrupt MDP government's official policy to actively advocate Christianity and other religions in this country along with alcohol and prostitution...Now in a church sunday morning drinking a dead mans blood is foreign indeed..and we dont want that here.
@nars: Well if your attitude is a representation of Maldivian culture, then, the less I know about it, the happier I will be... cos it seems pretty NASTY coming from YOU!
@Nars, Are you ok Nars? I mean, you sound like a child who has had a toy taken from them… So whinging and bitter, the criticisms you make are so damned well PETTY…
no Nars, the toy truck is all MINE
What am I doing?
@ben...What ever the way Maldivians choose to behave that is Maldivian culture....that evolves over time..now suppose under this MDP government a church gets opened in the Maldives with freedom of religion and all,maybe you could lead the sunday mass....after a few decades that would also become a part of Maldivian culture...now when you take Fanditha, singing raivaru and drinking toddy that's not right..you can't take a certain historical age and claim that as Maldivian culture,as something static...800 years ago we were all karmic Buddhists stuck in a cycle of death and rebirth waiting for nirvana....then came Islam..i don't believe the story of about introduction of Islam in Maldives...but we can be pretty sure that the local Buddhists resisted the new religion, there probably was blood shed..they probably fought against the king and his new religion forced by rich foreign Arabs....now we are in a same situation..The "new" religion is Christianity and Atheism..yes i like to think of atheism as a religion..Our new yellow king does seems to favor freedom of religion in its fullest meaning...and being forced/bought by rich foreign governments/ppl...these things happen through small steps..like the office of french friendship opened by our yellow King.
Ben you sound like a hipocrite. You wrote a letter there showing how much you love this place and this culture and here you talk all this rubbish.
Have you ever been to our local islands to see the culture we have. The hospitality, food, men at work always, women minding their own things at home, the bond within the community, music, festivals, sports etc etc.. Have you relly seen them all? Maldivian culture is not just Boduberu and Fanditha Ben. There's a lot more which have been present since the era of Biddhism in this country. And I have never seen Sufism in this country, I think you are confusing Maldives with Sindh of Pakistan. Sufism and Bora Traders have long been gone from this country. And just because some of ushave a beard and follow the religion more sarefully in this country doesnt mean they are wahabbis or extremists. They are just the people who love their God and I think they should have the right to do so. As long as they are not harming any one physically or destrying other peoples properties we have no right to call them names, neither wahabbi or taliban. You have in you christianity too people who love there God more than the pthers, people who attend every church gathering and feel they have a means to serve their god rightly. None of you call them names.. so why here, for us?
Its strange you guys feel yourselves so superior of yourselves and make the rest of the world beg under your feet. Why don't you talk here about the inhuman crimes Australia did against their aborigines? Have you ever thought about that?
Maldives soes have problems, just like any other country in the world. But what is important to note is that we are working to improve things. And one thing we still have is our beautiful history and our culture. Its another story if some of them follow it and the pthers don't. But our beautiful culture still exhists and you won't fins our culture in any other country in this world. Its a solo,only ours.
This association is pain sucking the people's blood and money. They want free accommodation in the country in return for their cheese... Which also we have to buy... And we also pay to learn their culture and learn their language...?it's nonsense... ..? But this the new Maldivian elite likes and minivan is for them so what....
I am at a loss for words on the knee jerk reactions from my fellow country men/women.
For Heaven's sake, there is no need to turn around every single issue into some "yellow" fever and hang it around the President's neck.
Take a deep breath guys. France indeed has a very rich culture and language and we can learn a lot from them. This is all about sharing. Why does religion have to enter this argument at all?
By learning the French language, it opens up new avenues for our students to get educated as well. France is second to none when it comes to education; their top tier institutions are world leaders. Currently, we do not have access to that rich resource, due to the language barrier. Open your minds to the opportunities.
For your information, before accusing me of being an atheist, christian, secularist etc, I'll tell you that I am a devout Muslim despite having spent many years in foreign lands. Having been surrounded by people of all cultures, colours and creeds, I learnt a lot and I hope others will have the same opportunity and then contribute locally to society.
I'll take the point of the French education system once more. The Grand Ecoles and Polytechnics of France are at the top of their game when it comes to scientific research and education. There are very few UK/Australian/US/Canadian institutions that can compete with them.
On top of that, they are far cheaper too! I'd encourage young people to learn the French language and seek educational opporunities in that country. You'll be making a lifelong investment.
@Ziyan: I speak an aboriginal language man of course I have thought about it more than you could imagine... acted on it ALOT
@Ziyan: Some thing in Dhivehi Raaje , some cultural things and Dhivehi traits are so beautiful, some aspects are ugly.
I have a love hate relationship with Maldives and Maldivian culture, but over all i love IT.
wHAT i SAID TO nARS WAS, THE WAY HE WAS ACTING, if THAT WAS mALDIVES CULTURE IT IS HORRIBLE but I know it is not...
Sufism, is everywhere in Maldives, what do you think the tombstones near the old Mosques are? Have you listened to the words of Naifaru Dhohokko, the weather as feelings, how Allah decides etc...THAT is Sufism.. Bodu Beru chanting, certain aspects of the way the Dhivehin recite Dhikr...Sufism... Dhivehi poetry etc etc...
@Ziyan: The victim mentality you take with me, that I want to dominate your culture and you are being attacked etc... It is a selfish interpretation of what I said, you interpreted what I am about to justify your anger towards me because you know that your anger is selfishness. I don't want to force anything on anybody...
@Nars: Ok fair enough
@Ziyan, Nars: Please don't think I don't see the beautiful, hospitable side of the Dhivehin which I love immensely... I am sorry for coming across as racist, was not what I meant,
Maybe there is no dilemma involved. Anni is doing a great job!Well done Mr. President!I believe great things will happen to Maldives in the coming future!
We want a partnership relationship with our fellow human beings! no matter what religion or what country they are from.
Religion is a very personal matter, whether you are christian, Muslim or Jew.
every religion is superior to it's own followers! I wouldn't want my government to interfere with my personal life and beliefs or my spiritual matter!
I think it's time to stop the fighting and move towards a brighter future for everyone on planet earth and to my beautiful island kingdom.
May God bless you all.
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