Alliance Française relies on a large network of more than a thousand associations, established in 136 countries and delivering courses to a total of 460 000 students. This important presence enables Alliance Française to fulfill its three main missions:
- Providing courses of French as a foreign language, both in France and abroad, which are accessible to everybody;
- Promoting the culture of France and of French-speaking peoples;
- Encouraging all forms of cultural interactions.
All Alliances are legally and intellectually tied to Fondation Alliance Française, established in July 2007. It replaced the original Alliance Française de Paris, which had spearheaded the continuing expansion of the network ever since its creation at the end of the 19th century. Most notably, this tie is expressed by the Alliances’ commitment to a set of common principles and values. These include strict political or religious neutrality. Yet they enjoy a statutory independence which assures them a large degree of freedom to run their activities. Their creation is often the result of local initiatives and they abide by the law of the country where they are located. Each Alliance is run by a committee, with a director at its head.
This original status allows Alliances to develop innovative solutions to find resources, particularly cofinancing. Thus, they can resort to sponsorships and gifts from local companies. At the same time, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also supports them by sending staff on secondment (240 in 2009) to help manage largest branches of the network and by granting subsidies. It also plays an important role in the training of Alliances’ teachers and other employees.