(No. 68 - February 15, 2010 - 4:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, today will participate in a ceremony at Place de la Francophonie in Vancouver to hand out development scholarships to young winning artists of the sixth Games of La Francophonie, which took place in Beirut, Lebanon, from September 27 to October 6, 2009. Pascal Couchepin, former president of Switzerland and Grand Témoin de la Francophonie for the Vancouver Olympic Games, as representative of the International Organization of La Francophonie, and Jean Côté, Executive Director of Place de la Francophonie, will also attend the ceremony.
"Canada has enthusiastically supported the Games of La Francophonie since they were first held in 1989," said Minister Verner. "The Games are meant to be a development tool for youth of member countries to fully realize their potential. The development scholarships offer winners concrete support to help them pursue their careers internationally."
The Games of La Francophonie are held every four years, bringing together almost 3,000 participants from about 40 countries of La Francophonie for both sport and artistic competitions. The artistic component distinguishes the Games from other major sport events around the world. The participants are mostly young people who are taking part in their first international competition, and many will one day compete in the Olympic Games.
The International Organization of La Francophonie and its member countries, including Canada, are committed to supporting the young winners, in particular those from developing countries, to help them use their success in the Games as a springboard for the future. A group of medallists were invited to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Games to participate in cultural activities staged at Place de la Francophonie and to experience the unique atmosphere of the Olympic Games. Their participation also encourages exchanges between the youth of Canada and youth from across the world, and promotes the ideals of peace, cooperation, personal achievement and healthy competition—driving ideals behind the Games of La Francophonie and the Olympic Games.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie