Canada and La Francophonie
La Francophonie is a group of institutions dedicated to promoting the French language, with the main one being the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF). The IOF brings together 84 member states and governments from five continents that represent approximately 1 billion inhabitants, including 274 million Francophones. La Francophonie is a community of solidarity and cooperation and plays a role in international politics.
The objectives of La Francophonie include the promotion of:
- French language, cultural and linguistic diversity
- peace, democracy and human rights
- education, training, higher education and research
- sustainable economic development and solidarity
Canada’s involvement in La Francophonie
Canada was a founding member of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation in 1970. In 2005, the Agency became the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF).
Canada has actively participated in the creation and development of other La Francophonie institutions, including:
- the University Agency of La Francophonie (AUF) in 1961 and
- the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) in 1979.
Canada supports the political, economic and cooperative mandates of La Francophonie. Its annual contributions of approximately $40 million to the institutions make it possible to implement their respective programs. Canada takes part in the meetings and decision-making of La Francophonie institutions and contributes to the development of strategic documents.
Canada has four seats on the IOF. Canada, Canada-New Brunswick and Canada-Quebec are full members and Canada-Ontario has observer status.
Since January 2015, Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, has been the Secretary General of the IOF.
Canada participates in the following Francophonie events:
- International Day of La Francophonie (French only): Every year on March 20, Francophones and Francophiles around the world celebrate the International Day of La Francophonie by taking part in various events highlighting the diversity and richness of the French language and Francophone culture. Canada’s diplomatic missions abroad organize numerous activities to mark the occasion.
- Games of La Francophonie (French only): Every 4 years, these international games bring together young people in La Francophonie between the ages of 18 and 35. These are the only games to feature athletic competitions, cultural contests, and digital creation and ecological events. The 2017 Games of La Francophonie will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and the 2021 Games will be held in Moncton-Dieppe, New Brunswick.
- Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (CMF) (French only): Every year, the CMF brings together the ministers of foreign or Francophone affairs of member and observer states and governments. The next CMF will be held November 21 and 22, 2017, in Lomé, Togo.
- Francophonie Summit (French only): The Summit is held every two years and is made up of heads of state and government of French-speaking countries. It is chaired by the head of state or government of the host country. The XVII Summit will be held in Armenia in 2018.
Canada takes parts in the meetings of various Francophonie institutions. It maintains and consolidates its network of partners, its ability to influence and the visibility of its Francophone communities, especially Francophone minority communities. Canada’s commitment within La Francophonie enables it to promote its values and advance its foreign policy and development priorities.
Canada’s guidance and financial support contribute to the advancement of La Francophonie’s four missions (French only) and objectives, as outlined in the 2015–2022 Strategic Framework (French only).
In recent years, Canada’s efforts within La Francophonie have contributed to:
- the widespread teaching of the French language (2nd most widely learned language in the world)
- the establishment of La Francophonie Institute for Education and Training (IFEF)
- the opening of a new regional IOF office for the Indian Ocean
- the strengthening of La Francophonie’s ties to other international organizations
- the organization’s significant contribution to major international gatherings, such as climate conferences
- the provision of additional means, notably business incubators, for young people and women in order to promote their economic integration
- innovative youth engagement initiatives, such as the “Libres ensemble” initiative
- the successful hosting of the XVI Francophonie Summit in Antananarivo
- the successful hosting of an international counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization conference
- the administrative and financial restructuring of the IOF in order to strengthen synergies and promote the tightening of programs
La Francophonie is comprised of a number of institutions and organizations, each with its own area of expertise and sector:
- La Francophonie institutions
- Summit of Heads of State and Government of La Francophonie (French only)
- Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie (CMF) (French only)
- Permanent Council of La Francophonie (CPF) (French only)
- International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF)
- Operating agencies of La Francophonie
- TV5MONDE (French only)
- University Agency of La Francophonie (AUF) (French only)
- International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) (French only)
- Senghor University, Alexandria (French only)
- Permanent ministerial conferences
- Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF) (French only)
- Subsidiary bodies
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