Laos becomes the 47th member of AIDEF

Following the official request of its president Khammany Inthirath, the members of the AIDEF Steering Committee unanimously expressed their support for the membership of the Lao Chess Federation in AIDEF.

The "Laos Chess Federation" therefore becomes our 47 ° member

We welcome the Laotian chess players whom we hope to participate in our activities.

Laos and La Francophonie

Laos bears the Lao People's Democratic Republic as its official name. It is a country in Southeast Asia bounded to the north by China and Vietnam, to the east by Vietnam, to the south by Cambodia, to the west by Thailand, and to the northwest by Burma. The total area of ​​the country is 236,800 km², which corresponds to almost half of France or to countries like Romania or Uganda; more than 1000 km separate the north and the south of the country. Laos is the only country of the Indochinese peninsula to have no outlet on the sea. Since 1975, the capital of the country is Vientiane which replaced Luang Prabang. Laos is nicknamed the "million elephant kingdom" because of the large number of elephants that once lived in the territory.

Laos has been part of the Francophonie since 1972 as an associate member and since 1991 as a full member.

The French language was introduced to Laos in the 19th century when French explorers arrived in Laos trying to make inroads into China after the colonization of Vietnam. The French did not pay much attention to the kingdom of Lan Xang, but did establish a consulate in present-day Luang Prabang.

The real catalysts for the establishment of a colonial protectorate over Lao cultural regions were French fears of economic and political competition from Great Britain. In the 1890s, border conflicts with Siam and France led to the Franco-Siamese war and the borders of Laos and Siam were established in favor of France. Laos then became a French protectorate. Unlike Vietnam, the French did not fully exercise their influence in Laos and it was not until the 1900s that French began to be introduced in schools in Laos; but it was mostly limited to Vientiane. However, French domination eventually gained ground and French quickly became the main language of government, education and the spread of the language in southern Laos after the founding of Pakse.

The French language peaked between 1910 and World War II and spread throughout the country, but, like Vietnam, was not widely spoken in most rural areas. French became the language of government officials and the elite. When Japan invaded Laos in World War II, French remained in the education system, unlike Vietnam where Vietnamese became the sole language of instruction, but the Lao language was briefly used in government . French returned as the only political language after France regained its dominance in Laos and was official in the same way as Lao when autonomy was granted to Laos in 1949. Lao became the only official language after l independence in 1953.

Although spoken by a large minority in Laos, the French have regressed a lot, even if it retains a certain role in the linguistic landscape, notably in display and teaching. According to the International Organization of La Francophonie, there are 60,000 real French speakers in Laos (1%) and their number is growing. For the French Embassy in Laos, the potential number of French speakers is around 190,000.

In any case, French remains the first second language after English. It is a compulsory subject with English in upper secondary schools. About 35% of all students in Laos receive their instruction in French. There is also a French Institute in Laos, whose main site is in Vientiane with a branch in Luang Prabang. In the form of a "Cultural and Linguistic Cooperation Center", the French Institute remains the main actor of French cultural and university cooperation in Laos. French is also used in public works in certain regions and remains a language of diplomacy and the elites, higher professions and the elderly.