By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK To the French people and its government, culture is not just another commercial object that can be bought or sold at market price, but it is a precious gift they inherited. So said the new French ambassador to Namibia, Philippe Bossiere, when he officially welcomed the new director of the Franco-Namibia Cultural Centre on Wednesday, Catherine Calothy. A number of invited artists and members of the diplomatic corps attended the formal function at the ambassador’s official residence in the capital. “Culture is a living creature we all must protect and nurture. It is what makes us all unique and important to the world. The French authorities are committed to cultural diversity, as was made explicitly clear at a UNESCO Convention last year in Paris. This diversity has manifested itself in the shape of a new museum in Paris, devoted to African and Asian art,” Philippe Brossiere told the audience. According to the Frenchman, the Franco-Namibia Cultural Centre is the extension of the diversity of culture. “On the one hand, the FNCC exposes the French language, and on the other hand, the francophone cultures. We teach French and we assist and support the Ministry of Education so that some schools in the country also teach French. We also help to train teachers in French at the University of Namibia and maintain cultural exchange programmes between Namibian and French artists,” said Brossiere, who announced that his government was involved in the process of establishing a bilingual section of French and German at the DHPS school for next year, said. The French is and has been supporting cultural development creation in Namibia for many years. “Our vision of culture is broad, ranging from hip hop to traditional or scientific knowledge. It encompasses arts, language and know-how. It further covers video production, museums and schools. In broad terms, culture is all about the past and the future. Thus, if you like movies, plays, art and music, the FNCC is the place to be,” the ambassador said in welcoming the new FNCC director and bidding farewell to the outgoing one, Sebastien Lanoye.