With nearly two million French speakers, Switzerland has been a full member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie since 1996. It takes part in the Summit of la Francophonie and other events. Switzerland's underlying foreign policy principles align with la Francophonie's values: human rights and the protection of the French language. Switzerland is represented in all four of the IOF's bodies.
Switzerland in the International organization of La Francophonie
Switzerland's main lines of action within la Francophonie concern democracy, youth participation and inclusion, peace and human rights, as well as the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity.
The Swiss Federal Assembly and la Francophonie
Ten Swiss parliamentarians and twelve cantonal representatives take part in the French-speaking Parliamentary Assembly (FPA).
Summit of la Francophonie
The summit is the highest authority in la Francophonie. It brings together high-level representatives of French-speaking countries. Summits take place every two years in an IOF member state and are dedicated to a specific theme.
The last summit took place in Yerevan, Armenia, on 11 and 12 October 2018. The next summit will be organised in 2020 in Tunis. Switzerland hosted the 13th Summit of la Francophonie in 2010 in Montreux on the topic of challenges and future visions for French-speaking countries.
2018: Yerevan summit
On 11 and 12 October 2018, the Armenian capital Yerevan welcomed the 17th Summit of la Francophonie on the theme of: living together in solidarity, sharing humanist values and respect for diversity – a source of peace and prosperity for la Francophonie.
The member states adopted the Yerevan declaration, a call to French-speaking countries on living together, a gender equality strategy and other resolutions. A new secretary general was also elected: Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda's foreign minister.
La Francophonie events
Switzerland takes part in various events such as the International Day of La Francophonie and La Francophonie Games.
A number of events are organised every year under the auspices of la Francophonie, involving both Switzerland and its representations abroad.
International Day of La Francophonie
The French-speaking world celebrates the International Day of La Francophonie on 20 March every year. In Switzerland, the event is celebrated as part of the Week of the French Language and La Francophonie (SLFF) in which several governmental and non-governmental institutions take part. The Conference of Cantonal Education Directors of Western Switzerland and Ticino takes the lead in the management of the SLFF. The 2019 edition will put on a variety of cultural and scientific events between 14 and 23 March on the subject of French-speaking Africa, where the focus will be on the richness and cultural diversity of francophone regions in Africa.
More than one hundred Swiss embassies and representations abroad supported by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs take part in the 20 March events, during which they work together with the diplomatic representations of other French-speaking countries and with local partners.
La Francophonie Games: a cultural and sporting competition
La Francophonie Games are targeted at young people and are organised every four years in a country in either the North or South. This cultural and sporting competition is an occasion for young French-speaking people from all over the world to meet. The games are a symbol of solidarity, diversity and personal excellence.
In July 2017 more than three and a half thousand participants from 53 countries met in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, to compete in the 8th edition of the games. Switzerland won 14 medals including one gold. The competition was televised on 21 channels and TV5MONDE.
The 2021 games will take place in New Brunswick, Canada, and will also be attended by young Swiss people.
La Francophonie Games (Fr only)