A Brief History of the Alliance française de Singapour


The Alliance française de Singapour is founded by a group of French-speaking residents headed by Paul Clerc. There are only 20 students and 50 members. Conversation classes are held twice a week in the evening and there is only one French language class and no teaching material. The Alliance is considered more of a social club than a language school.

The first Director of Courses, Jacques Le Mercier arrives from Paris. Three years later, 100 Singaporean and European students register.

The Alliance is located at 23 Chatsworth Road – a colonial bungalow with a large garden, reception hall for cinema, an office, a library and 2 – 3 classrooms.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visits the school and meet the 350 registered students.

Tan Sri Runme Shaw visits the Alliance. The Alliance acquires its first modern cinema projector to replace the one borrowed from the Alliance in Paris.

Alliance française moves to 34 Scotts Road to a well-situated, spacious building located in the center of town.

The Alliance receives the full support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tan Sri Runme Shaw becomes President of the Alliance française de Singapour. 650 students are registered.

The Runme Shaw Challenge Cup is created by Tan Sri Runme Shaw to reward the best student in French language.

The ‘Lien’ is published for the first time and has a circulation of 1,000 copies. 2,300 students register this year, almost double the amount from the previous year. The library has more than 8,500 books. The Alliance opens a branch at the Golden Mile Shopping Centre in the presence of French Minister of Foreign Trade, Norbert Segard.

For the first time, a total of 1,000 registrations is recorded in the first trimester. The Alliance has more than 350 members and the library contains more than 10,000 volumes.

The Alliance moves to 4 Draycott Park. There is a large reception area and administrative offices, 16 classrooms, a teacher’s room, a language lab, a darkroom, an audio-visual room, a printing room and a small bookshop.

The Alliance introduces intensive French courses and classes for children. 700 people are members. 12 exhibitions are organised and Ciné-Club presents 46 films at the RELC.

2 new types of memberships are introduced: life membership and corporate membership. The Alliance opens a new library in a separate building with 12,000 books.

The Alliance française is now known as Alliance française de Singapour.

Dr Shaw Vee Meng becomes President of the Alliance française. Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and his wife visit the Alliance. The 100th edition of the Lien is published with a circulation of 3,000 copies.

The Alliance organizes its first French Film Festival.

The Alliance moves to 1 Sarkies Road to a much larger, well-equipped, modern building with four floors. The official opening takes place on 17 October 1995.

4,000 students are registered at the Alliance.

The Singapore French Film Festival celebrates its 20 years.

The Alliance is completely transformed with new transparent coloured panels on its façade, a larger library, a more visible open-concept gallery.

The Singapore French Film Festival celebrates its silver jubilee.

Alliance française celebrates its 60th anniversary. More than 5000 students are registered for courses at the Alliance.

The Singapore French Film Festival takes on a new name: Société Générale Private Banking 1st Rendezvous with French Cinema. 10 French celebrities – actors, actresses and directors grace the opening night of the festival at the Grand Cathay.

The 1st French Animation Film Festival is organised.

The Alliance organises its first Cine-Kid screening in September and the first French Friday gathering in December. Online services are largely developed. The first electronic newsletter is sent out in September.

The Alliance organises for the first-time ever an Open-House day for children and an International Women’s Day celebration.

The first Ciné-Plus is organised. The theatre is renovated with new seats and carpet.

The Alliance celebrates its 20 years of fruitful partnership with Singapore Airlines.