INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION OF THE FRANCOPHONIE
THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF FRANCOPHONIE
General information on the International Organization of La Francophonie
The International Organization of la Francophonie (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) was founded in 1970 and is an international institution responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the French language and universal values.
There are 54 full-fledged and 7 associate members, 27 states have a status of observer in the Organization. In 32 of these states, French is the official or the second official language. The general number of populations of the OIF states, is 1.4 billion, the 321 million of which are francophone. The OIF countries are spread through 5 continents. More than 1/3 of the UN member-states are members of this Organization.
The OIF considers its primary mission to promote peace, democracy, human rights, the French language and cultural-linguistic diversity, encourage education and training, cooperate with the Office for Sustainable Development, activate dialogue between cultures and civilizations, strengthen solidarity between member-states and their governments by multilateral cooperation with the purpose to reinforce their economic growth.
The OIF elaborates on cooperation projects to this end.
The political decision-making body of la Francophonie is the Summit - the meeting of heads of French-speaking states and governments, which is convened once in 2 years. The Secretary-General of the OIF plays a key role in the preservation of the institutional provisions of la Francophonie.
Notably, the Multilateral Cooperation of la Francophonie is carried out through the OIF and its 4 instruments - the Francophone University Agency (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie - AUF), TV5Monde international TV channel, Senghor University of Alexandria, (Université Senghor d'Alexandrie) and International Association of French-speaking Mayors (Association Internationale des Maires Francophones - AIMF).
The International Organization of la Francophonie has an advisory body - the Parliamentary Assembly of la Francophonie (APF). It represents the interests and expectations of the French- speaking peoples in the executive bodies of OIF, aimed at promoting democracy and the rule of law in these countries and protecting human rights within the Francophone society.
On October 7-12, 2018, the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie was held in Yerevan, which was unique for its high level and number of participation (about 100 delegations, 35 of them at the level of Presidents or Prime Ministers).
Living Together, Vivre ensemble, was the main theme for the Summit.
Following the Summit, the number of OIF members increased with 3 new associate members (Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Kosovo) and 4 observer members (Ireland, Malta, Gambia, US state of Louisiana).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo has assumed the position of the Secretary-General of OIF since January 1 2019, and was re-elected in November 2022, for a 4-year tenure.
On November 19-20, 2022, the 18th Summit of la Francophonie was held in Djerba, Tunisia. At the 43rd session of la Francophonie, held within the framework of the Summit on November 18, Ararat Mirzoyan, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia, concluded the process of implementation of the commitments undertaken by the member-states at the Summit in Yerevan in 2018, as well as Armenia's chairmanship over the past four years in the Organization. On November 19-20, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia participated in and delivered remarks at the 18th Francophonie Summit in the Tunisian city of Djerba, passing the chairmanship of the organization to Tunisia.
Armenia’s participation in Francophonie platforms
In 2003 at the Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) Summit, Armenia acquired observer status in the OIF, and then at the Quebec-Canada summit in October, 2008, Armenia became an associate member of the OIF.
After acquiring the status of an associate member, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia appointed a Special Adviser on Francophonie issues in order to coordinate Francophone initiatives in Armenia.
Through the efforts of Christian Ter-Stepanyan, Personal Representative of the Prime Minister of Armenia in the Permanent Council of the OIFArmenia continues its active engagement in the work of the Organization's platforms.
The official visit of Abdou Diouf, Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie, to Armenia in April 2010, was important in strengthening the relations between Armenia and the OIF.
In October 2010, during the 13th Francophonie Summit held in Montreux (Switzerland), the leaders of Francophonie member-states and governments, having adopted a resolution on the crisis situation in the Francophone region, its addressing and strengthening of peace, for the first time expressed their position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, namely: "We confirm our full support for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call on all parties to the conflict to refrain from any use of force or threat of use of force that could endanger the peace process, and we suggest continuing negotiations based on the principles proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs as the basis for a balanced and lasting resolution to this conflict." In October 2012, during the Francophonie Summit held in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Armenia acquired the status of a full member of the OIF, becoming the 54th member state.
It should be emphasized that in the framework of the resolution on the settlement of crisis situations and strengthening of peace adopted at the above-mentioned Summit, the leaders of Francophone member-states and governments reaffirm their position expressed at the Montreux Summit on supporting the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship in the direction of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
This position was reaffirmed in Dakar (Senegal) in 2014, Antananarivo (Madagascar) in 2016 and during the Yerevan Summit in 2018.
In 2022, in the Djerba Declaration of the 18th Summit of La Francophonie, as well as in the resolution of crisis situations in the Francophone area, their overcoming as well as strengthening of peace, in the paragraphs concerning Armenia, the member-states and governments of the OIF, expressing their solidarity with Armenia, expressed concern over the recent military escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. At the same time, they supported the implementation of the UNESCO fact-finding mission in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions.
Armenia is also a member of the Network of the national institutions and structures of Central and Eastern Europe dealing with Francophone issues (RESIFECO) established in September 2013, consisting of representatives of 6 countries of the region - full members of Institutional Francophonie (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Moldova and Romania).
On October 7, 2022, at the 7th Conference of the Network of Media Regulators of Francophone Countries (REFRAM) held in Paris, the Armenian Television and Radio Commission was elected a full member of REFRAM.
Cooperation between Armenia and IOF
Armenia has been developing close partnership with the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF), resulting in the implementation of a number of different projects.
The membership of Armenia to the Francophone Regional Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (CREFECO) in May 2009 provided an opportunity for more than 350 French language teachers from Armenia to participate in national or regional training, aimed to improve the teaching of French as well as non-linguistic subjects taught in French.
In June 2009, a Memorandum on French language training for Armenian civil servants was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, the OIF, the Governments of France and Luxembourg, as well as the authorities of the French-speaking community of Belgium.
In October 2015, as a continuation of the previous Memorandum, within the framework of the “French in International Relations” program, a Memorandum of Partnership on National Francophone Initiatives was signed between Armenia, the OIF, and 17 OIF member and observer states, aimed at strengthening French speaking skills of officials dealing with foreign relations within the Armenian government system.
Since 2012 Armenia has participated in the National Francophone Initiative. Within this framework more than 500 civil servants and diplomats from various departments participated in French language training and courses.
A number of steps are being taken to promote the teaching of French. Thus, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia approved French as an optional 3rd foreign language in schools. With the support of the French side, advanced French language courses started in 5 schools.
In June 2013, in line with the Memorandum of Cooperation on Education signed with the French Embassy in Armenia, an advanced study of French with bilingual curriculum was introduced in Yerevan high school N 119.
In the area of higher education, the francophone orientation of francophone universities has been strengthened: currently, five Armenian universities are members of the Francophone University Agency (AUF). The Francophone Digital Center of Yerevan is registered as an official representative office of the AUF in Armenia. With the support of the AUF, two Academic Success Centers are opening in Yerevan.
Thanks to the series of francophone events, the visibility of the French language has been improved in Armenia. Thus, two-month-long francophonie seasons in Armenia each year include hundreds of francophone cultural, educational and university events (600 events in 2017, 350 events in 2018, 435 events in 2019, 320 events in 2020, and more than 500 events in 2022) and promote the francophone cultural environment in the country.
The Francophone Book Corner program was launched in 2014 and includes several Armenian cities (Yerevan, Goris, Gyumri, etc.).
The Television and Radio Commission of Armenia undertook a commitment to ensure the access of TV 5 MONDE Channel to the country by including it in the main package of cable operators.
Armenia also represents a critical platform for important regional francophone initiatives.
In June 2015 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the OIF organized the first regional workshop on Gender Equality in Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe. Representatives of Governments and civil society organizations from six member countries of the OIF from the region (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania) participated in the workshop. Representatives of governments and civil society organizations from the region’s 6 francophone member states (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania) participated in the seminar.
Armenia's cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of la Francophonie and the officials of the OIF
On July 5, 2009, the National Assembly of Armenia became an associated member of the Parliamentary Assembly of la Francophonie (APF). Until 2014, Armenia was a beneficiary of the APF’s "NORIA" program, which, in particular, organized French language courses for Armenian MPs and parliament officials, made donations to documentation funds, and assisted in the translation of the National Assembly's official website into French.
In May 2010, the APF European Regional session was held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.
In 2014 the Parliament of Armenia became a full member of the APF.
From 12 to 16 December 2022 the 5th edition of the Leadership Workshop for Francophone Women Parliamentarians took place in Paris (France), in which the Armenian delegation of female deputies took part.
In October 2010, the Francophone University Agency (AUF) signed an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia on establishing a Francophone Digital Centre to be hosted at the Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov.
The AUF develops partner relations with Armenian universities, which are members of its network - French University in Armenia, Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov, Yerevan State University, National University of Architecture and Construction and Armenian State Pedagogical University.
In March 2011, the Armenian branch of the International Network of Senghor Chairs of la Francophonie was opened at the French University in Armenia, the goal of which is promoting the teaching of French and to make la Francophonie with its diverse institutional, political, cultural and economic aspects more visible.
In July 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Implementation of Joint Scientific and Academic Projects was signed between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the AUF.
Francophone Decentralized Partnership
In 1998 the city of Yerevan was the first to establish institutional relations with la Francophonie, becoming a member of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF).
In October, 2011, the General Assembly of the AIMF took place in Yerevan, with mayors of more than 150 member cities participating in it. During the meeting of the Assembly the Union of Communities of Armenia became a member of the Association.
The AIMF supports the cultural and educational institutions of Yerevan by providing language labs to a number of primary and high schools in Yerevan.
In 2011 the Lori region of Armenia became a member of the International Association of Francophone Regions.
Updated on 06.03.2023