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The French-Speaking World
From 6 to 15 September 2013, more than 3,000 participants from 57 countries and member governments of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) will come together in Nice for the 7th Jeux de la Francophonie. This year a record number of participating states and around 200,000 spectators are expected in Nice for a series of artistic (7) and sporting events (7), to be broadcast on 31 national television channels and TV5Monde.
Since the first francophone games in Morocco in 1989, the Jeux de la Francophonie have taken place every four years. They are hosted by a southern or a northern country in turn. This extraordinary experience provides an opportunity for young French-speakers to connect through sport and culture. The games seek to impart the values of friendship, solidarity, diversity and the pursuit of excellence to the candidates competing at an international level.
Switzerland will be represented in the following disciplines:
- Chanson (Junior Tshaka)
- Literature (Julien Burri)
- Photography (Elisa Larvego)
- Juggling (Urban Level)
- Women's basketball
- Cycling (Adrien Chenaux)
- Table tennis (Philip Merz and Rahel Aschwanden)
- Judo (Valentin Rota and Gabriel Désirée)
- Athletics (12 female and 8 male athletes selected by Swiss Athletics)
We wish the Swiss team every success
The Francophonie came into existence in the context of a co-operation project in 1970 in Niamey (Niger) through the foundation of the Agence de coopération culturelle et technique, [Agency for cultural and technical co-operation], which later became the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) [International Organisation of the Francophonie]. Nowadays, the OIF sees itself as a forum for successful co-operation between 57 member states and governments and 20 observer countries from five continents.
The missions of the Francophonie are defined in a 10-year strategic framework adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and of Government in 2004 in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) for the period 2005 – 2014, as follows:
- Promotion of the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity
- Promotion of peace, democracy and human rights
- Support for education, training, higher education and research
- Co-operation for sustainable development and solidarity
Special attention is given to young people and women and to access to information and communication technologies.
Switzerland has been a member of the Francophonie since 1996. Today, it is one of the OIF’s main sponsors and is appreciated for the active role it plays in the organisation,.It participates in all bodies of the Francophonie:
The Conference of Heads of State and of Government (Summit)
- The Conference of Heads of State and of Government (Summit)
- The Ministerial Conference (CMF)
- The Permanent Council (CPF)
- The specialised and permanent ministerial conferences, i.e. the Conférence des ministres de l’éducation (CONFEMEN) [Conference of education ministers] and the Conférence des ministres de la jeunesse et des sports (CONFEJES) [Conference of ministers of youth and sport].
Switzerland takes part in the work of the Francophonie’s four specialised operators:
- The Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) [Francophonie University Agency]: The universities of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), the Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale [University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland] and several other institutes are members of the (AUF). Since 1998, the Office of the State Secretary of Education and Research of Switzerland has contributed financially to the AUF, where Switzerland occupies a seat on the board.
- TV5Monde: In 1984, Switzerland was a co-founder of the French-language TV channel TV5Monde, which broadcasts 24 hours a day in more than 200 countries.
- L’Association internationale des maires francophones (AIMF): The cities of Lausanne, Geneva, Nyon, Montreux and Vernier are represented within the Association international des maires francophones (AIMF) [International Association of Mayors from French-speaking countries], a network of local authorities that shares the same values for carrying out projects of interest to the general public.
- L’Université Senghor: Switzerland sits on the administration council of the University of Senghor, an institution established in Alexandria to train development experts for work in Africa.
The Francophonie also has a consultative body, the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) [Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie] where Swiss federal and cantonal parliamentarians have been represented since 1989 and which forms the core of a wide international network of associations.
Switzerland’s presence within the Francophonie is most visible in its actions to promote democracy, peace and human rights, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity. These objectives are based on strategy axis 4 of Switzerland’s foreign policy for 2012-2015, which gives priority to improving global governance.
Every year on 20 March, Switzerland celebrates the Journée internationale de la Francophonie [international Day of the Francophonie]. In Switzerland, the event is celebrated within the framework of the Semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie (SLFF) [Week of the French language and Francophonie] in which several institutions and non-governmental organisations participate within a committee chaired by the Delegation on the French language and the Francophonie of the Conférence intercantonale de l’instruction publique de la Suisse romande et du Tessin (CIIP) [Intercantonal conference of state education authorities of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino]. Abroad, some 100 Swiss representations, with the support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, participate in the festivities on 20 March in co-operation with the diplomatic representations of the Francophonie member States.
Switzerland held the rotating presidency of the Francophonie Summit following the Montreux Summit. In this role, Switzerland’s objectives were to strengthen the Francophonie as an actor in international relations and as a forum for debate on the major issues of world governance. It launched the following three initiatives in this context:
- Mobilisation of Groups of Francophone Ambassadors in 55 cities around the world;
- Establishment of the Réseau d’excellence des sciences de l’ingénieur de la Francophonie (RESCIF) [Network of excellence in science and engineering of the Francophonie] in which 14 institutes of tertiary scientific education from the North and South participate, including the EPFL, dedicated in particular to the essential technologies in the fields of water, energy and health care. Within this network, Switzerland is supporting the external teaching programme for young people, Cours massifs en ligne (CMEL);
- Organisation of concertations francophones [French-language consultations] in the margins of large multilateral environment conferences, notably in Cancún, Bonn, Panama and Durban (climate), Changwon (desertification), and Rio de Janeiro (summit on sustainable development). Furthermore, Switzerland chaired a Francophone ministerial concertation on the countries in transition in the Francophone area in the margins of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011.
The Francophonie member countries and Switzerland are involved in the preparation of the 2nd Strategic Framework (2015-2022), which is intended to structure future Francophonie activities and to intensify its presence in the world.
Even after the end of the Swiss presidency of the Francophonie Summit, Switzerland will continue its active commitment within the Francophonie. For instance, it has been invited by the new presidency, the Democratic Republic of Congo, to assist the francophone concertations on climate change in the coming months.
Furthermore, Switzerland will become actively involved in actions to protect women’s rights against violence, discrimination and indifference within the framework of meetings of experts organised by the OIF and its partner, UN Women.
Finally, Switzerland will work to promote the RESCIF network, whose distance-learning programme, CMEL, is already operational.