Remarks by the Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on the occasion of International Day of La Francophonie

20 March, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of diplomatic corps,

Ladies and gentlemen, members of parliament,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Francophone friends,

I am very glad for this opportunity to host you at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today and celebrate together the International Day of Francophone. I am grateful for being here on the occasion of celebrating this day that unites all those who share the francophone culture and communicate in French, all those who represent the heart and the spirit of this francophone community.

Every year since 1990, on March 20, the Francophones of the five continents have been celebrating the International Francophone Day. On this day in 1970, a document was signed in Niger on establishing Agency for Cultural and Technical Partnership, which is known today as the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).

Armenia couldn’t stay aside and have been organizing Francophonie season in March and April, which unites francophiles and francophone people from all the regions and the capital within the framework of hundreds of cultural, educating and theatrical events, which attest to the Armenia’s dedication to the French and Francophone culture.

Today’s celebration is happening after Armenia hosted the 17th Summit of La Francophonie, the event of extraordinary importance, which ensured the full visibility of La Francophonie. Armenia is proud of ensuring the full scope and inclusiveness of the meetings at the highest bodies of the Organization uniting the heads of dozens of states and governments, the members of La Francophonie. Yerevan Summit was marked by the election of Louise Mushikiwabo as the Secretary-General of La Francophonie and gave a new impetus to the Organisation ahead of celebrating the 50th anniversary since its establishment at the Tunisia Summit in 2020.

The summit of La Francophone was a success both in terms of its organization and substance.

We are happy to expand the great family of La Francophonie, which includes 88 countries and governments.

The summit gave an opportunity to boost historical ties, to create and strengthen new relations, especially for the Francophone countries of Africa.

During its presidency in La Francophonie Summit Armenia will present a number of joint initiatives with the OIF in the spheres of cultural diversity and human rights, also in collaboration with international and regional organizations such as the UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

Armenia will also organize an Economic Forum to coordinate the processes of francophonie and regional economic integration, which is aimed at promoting the cooperation with regional and infrastructural economic zones in line with La Francophonie economic strategy.

It is also important to use all available opportunities to develop cooperation in digital sphere within La Francophone region. As noted by Louise Mushikiwabo, the Secretary General of La Francophonie, it is necessary to create job opportunities especially for young people in the Francophonie region, building a better future for next generations.

As an example of effective collaboration I would like to highlight the effective partnership between Paris, Beirut and the TUMO Center for innovative Technologies.

I would also like to emphasize the role of the Armenian universities which train French language professionals. We are also proud to have the French University in Armenia, which, in collaborating with its founder and partner - Jean-Moulin University of Lyon, is training specialists in the spheres of finance, management, law and marketing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While speaking about the two months of La Francophonie, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the studying and entrenching the French language in Armenia. I also thank the international Organization of La Francophonie which has supported the French language trainings for the Armenian officials for ten years. And I am glad that the 2019-2022 Program for National Francophone Initiatives presented by Armenia has been approved by La Francophonie.

This program for state officials provides an opportunity to continue teaching French language and training francophone officials in Armenia. We also thank the Alliance Francaise of Armenia, I welcome the Director Susan Gharamyan for cooperation within this program. Finally I want to express my gratitude to young francophones, schoolchildren as well as teachers and directors of educational institutions. Due to their daily work, the Armenian children discover French, Francophone literature and culture as well as ways leading to the Francophone values.

I would also like to thank all the organizers and participants of the Francophonie Season in Armenia, youth, as well as all those who are interested in Francophonie events.

I wish you wonderful Francophone celebration.

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