La Francophonie (occasionally in English Francophony, formally l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie), a French language term coined in 1880 by French geographer Onésime Reclus to designate the community of people and countries using French, is an international organization of French-speaking countries and governments. Some 50 States and governments are members of the organization, 4 others (Albania, Andorra , Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ) are associate members and 10 additional states (Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia) are invited observers of its Summits. French is at least a minor language in all its member states, and is in fact the sole major language of only a few.
A good number of the member states have a bad record when it comes to the protection of human rights and the practice of democracy. A proposed measure to sanction such countries was debated at least twice, but was not approved.
The modern Francophonie was created in 1970. Its motto is égalité, complémentarité, solidarité (equality, complementarity, and solidarity). Started as a small club of Northern French-speaking countries, it has since evolved into an important international organization whose numerous branches cooperate with the organization's member states in the fields of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.
Today, La Francophonie is an important forum for discussions of world wide cultural and linguistic diversity. Together with other international organizations such as the UNESCO, La Francophonie is concerned with the evolution of linguistic and cultural diversity in an era of the globalization of trade. It is working closely with some other equivalent organizations in the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking world (see the Latin Union and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries).
L'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie has an observer status at the UN General Assembly.
Summits of La Francophonie are held every two years, at which time the leaders of the member states have an opportunity to meet and develop strategies and goals for the organization.
The Permanent Council of La Francophonie consists of the La Francophonie Ambassadors of the member countries, and, like the ministers conferences, its main task is to plan future summits and also to supervise the implementation of summit decisions on a day-to-day basis.
The Intergovernmental Agency of La Francophonie is the main operator of the cultural, scientific, technical, economic and legal cooperation programs decided at the Summits. The Agency's headquarters are in Paris and it has three regional branches in Libreville, Gabon; Lomé, Togo; and Hanoi, Vietnam.
Members by continent
North America and Caribbean
Last updated: 08-02-2005 08:48:41
Last updated: 08-25-2005 04:38:02