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Gateway to the East and the World


Opened by Louis XIV, the "Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales" (Inalco, for "National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations", also informally called "Langues O'") gives access to the most diverse offer of language trainings in the world.


From the old regime to modern times

What do the founder of Egyptology Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832), writer and minister of culture André Malraux (1901-1976) and actress Isabelle Huppert (1953-) have in common? 
They all studied in the
Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (Inalco), a French public institution, the only one in the world, where no less than two hundred languages are taught, from Arabic to Japanese and Ossetic, Telugu and Amharic.

Initially called "École des jeunes de langues" (Language School for the Young), the Inalco was created in 1669 by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a minister of Louis XIV. Its goal was to train interpreters in Arabic, Armenian, Persian and Turkish. But over the centuries, the institute changed deeply. The name changed, the institution opened to other languages and other civilisations, to Africa, Oceania, the Americas and more. Professional outcomes included new occupations: international trade, communication, but also diplomacy. Today, about a third of all French diplomats currently active studied in the Inalco.


9.000 students, 120 nationalities represented

The ambition of Langues O'? "To discover the world as it is, in its full richness and diversity, with the determination to immerse in the way of thinking of others", says Manuelle Franck, president of the Institute. Since 1669, the Inalco maintains its role of researcher understanding the live heritage without any Western reference."

About 9.000 students and 220 research students in the school experiment this openness on the world every day. No less than 120 nationalities study together on the campus of the Grands-Moulins street of the Inalco, in the 13th district of Paris. "This dialogue between cultures is unbelievable", says Najib, a student in Master 1 in Japanese, in a article of the "L’Étudiant" gazette. This is not a pretty story or imagination, it's real and tangible, visible at every instant, in the corridors of the Institute, in the cafeteria, during the conferences or cultural parties. This is highly stimulating! "


An institution open to the Alumni

Do you master a rare language and want to share it in a multicultural environment? Every year, the Inalco recruits teachers under contract (Attachés Temporaires d'Enseignement et de Recherche -a limited-time and limited-renewal contract type-, lecturers, coach and more), researcher students and higher education teachers. Because it is never too late to step into another culture, you should know that the Institute offers among others dedicated trainings for professionals and intensive classes in Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Japanese.






Photos © Inalco