Minister of State Valcourt Marks 50th Anniversary of Agence universitaire de la Francophonie [University Agency of La Francophonie]

(No. 273 - September 23, 2011 - 1:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), today in Montreal marked the 50th anniversary of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie [University Agency of La Francophonie] (AUF).

“The economy remains a priority for our government, and, as minister responsible for La Francophonie, I am eager to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself for Canada’s francophone communities,” said Minister of State Valcourt. “For example, La Francophonie can help them promote their region as a tourist destination or a place to invest, or help them promote their exports of goods and services to member countries.”

Before an audience of nearly 500, which included representatives of AUF member universities and institutions, AUF executives, professors, researchers, students and other La Francophonie supporters, the Minister of State congratulated the AUF on its excellent work and reaffirmed that the organization is an important partner of the Government of Canada.

“Today, universities are at the heart of economic development,” said Minister of State Valcourt. “They train future talent and support basic and applied research. Their work allows our businesses to innovate, be competitive and create jobs. The Government of Canada is proud of its partnership with the AUF, which offers our francophone universities a conduit to the whole world.”

The Minister of State recently returned from a visit to Paris, France, where he met with Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

The Association des universités partiellement ou entièrement de langue française [Association of Partially or Wholly French-language Universities] was founded in 1961 on the initiative of Canadians Jean-Marc Léger and André Bachand. Now called the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie [University Agency of La Francophonie], the organization is headquartered in Montreal and has 779 member institutions in 94 countries, including 32 in Canada.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Andréa Richer
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)
613-790-3637

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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