Égalité, Complémentarité, Solidarité!

The circular form of the flag of La Francophonie conveys the idea of coming together. The five interconnected segments represent the idea of cooperation across the five continents where the members of La Francophonie are located. The five colours represent the various colours found on the flags of the participating countries and governments.

What is La Francophie, and how was it created?

What is known now as the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), was initially chartered as the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique (ACCT) in 1970 by Léopold Sénar Senghor (President of Senegal), Habib Bourguiba (President of Tunisia), and Hamani Diori (President of Niger). Léopold Sénar Senghor always envisioned creating an international community of French speaking countries that uses French as their national language, official language or working language. The purpose of the OIF was and still is to organize cooperation between member nations on cultural, political and economic issues. The actions taken through the OIF promotes the French language, as well as democracy, peace, intercultural dialogue, and sustainable development.

Initially the OIF only sought after nations that used French as either their official language or main minority language, but now the OIF has expanded to countries with having little connecting to the French culture or language. Although this change has helped improve OIF as an international organization by encouraging dialogue among cultures, and teaming up with the Commonwealth and UNESCO, many questioned about their original justification for existing. Nevertheless, the OIF has been able to strengthen their ties with the European Union (EU), the African Union, and the United Nations (UN) by working on conflict prevention, political stability, and fighting against inequalities.

Canada and La Francophonie

Canada has associated itself with the OIF since its start in 1970, and holds the status as member of La Francophonie. This involvement demonstrates Canada's bilingualism and shared values of La Francophonie. Recently Former Governor General Michaëlle Jean has been appointed as secretary general of La Francophonie at the Dakar Summit in 2014. In addition, Canada's participation has given Canadians more opportunities on international influence such as language and culture, and new technologies. International influence also promotes the value of peace,  development of democracy, respect for human rights, sustainable development, and cultural and linguistic diversity to Canadians.

Canada's Contributions to the OIF

Canada has helped create and develop  institutions of La Francophonie. Jean-Marc Léger was a Canadian who lead the creation of the University Agency of La Francophonie (AUF) in 1961. In 1979, the International Association of Mayors and Officials of Partially or Wholly French-speaking Capitals and Cities (AIMF) was initiated by the mayors of Paris and Quebec City. Futhermore, Canada was  one of the founding members of the ACCT in 1970, which later became the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) in 2005. Canada is also the second biggest financial contributor to the OIF after France. 38 million dollars was given for the years 2013 and 2014 to OIF and its other institutions.

Canada has hosted the Francophone Summit in Quebec City (1987), in Moncton (1999) and in 2008 in Quebec City, for the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding. Conferences of La Francophonie have also been hosted in Canada, including the 24th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie, held in Quebec City (October 2008), the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie on Conflict Prevention and Human Security in Saint Boniface, Manitoba (May 2006), and the first Conference of Francophone Ministers responsible for the Information Highway held in Montreal (1997). Canada also hosted the Fourth Francophone Games in Ottawa/Hull in 2001.

Most recently at the Dakar Summit in November 2014, Canada was highly involved in the making of the 2015-2022 Strategic Framework for La Francophonie, which focuses on the organizations four objectives:

  1. Increase the international influence of French and develop the use of the language
  2. Strengthen the role and place of La Francophonie internationally to improve multilateralism and global governance
  3. Strengthen the role of women and youth as agents for peace and development
  4. Support innovation and creativity to serve the economy within a context of sustainable development

Participation of provinces and territories

Provinces Québec and New Brunswick joined La Francophonie in 1971 and 1977 with the status of participating governments. With this status they have different seats than Canada in various institutions associated with La Francophonie that are referred to as Canada-Québec and Canada-New Brunswick.

Representatives of Canada’s other provinces and territories are invited to join the Canadian delegation at summits. They are also regularly invited to take part in the activities of operators or agencies associated with La Francophonie.

Bibliography

Munro, A. (2014, July 20). Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) | international organization. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1930010...

International Democracy Watch. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.internationaldemocracywatch.org/index....

La Francophonie -- Canada and the Canadian Francophonie. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1378315155095

La Francophonie. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.international.gc.ca/franco/index.aspx?lang=eng

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