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International Francophonie Day 2014

Publication Date

Thursday, March 20, 2014 (All day)

Message from the Chair

On March 20, 2014 we celebrate International Francophonie Day and UN French Language Day.

International Francophonie Day strives to create a space of solidarity, one based on the principles of humanity, democracy and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity of all. This day was first initiated by the International Organization of La Francophonie and celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on March 20, 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, a precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie. This is an organization comprised of countries and/or regions where French is the first language, where there is a significant association with the culture of France and where a large section of the population comprises of French speakers or francophones.

UN French Language Day celebrates the cultural diversity of France in a similar way. French is one of the six official languages of the United Nations with the others being: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and English. Moreover, the working languages of the UN Secretariat are English and French. In 2010, UNESCO declared that all six official languages should have its own special day. March 20 is UN French Language Day because it coincides with the celebration of International Day of Francophonie. This day (UN French Language Day) was chosen in 2010 because it coincided with the celebration of the 40th year of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Now is a good time to celebrate our cultural diversity. It is a great opportunity to break down the barriers of communication in order to ensure that we can come together as a team. Our large francophone group is an integral part of our identity and contributes to our unique character.

Some additional interesting facts:

  • There are an estimated 220 million French speakers worldwide.
  • French is the 9th most widely spoken language on the planet. (Together with English, it is spoken on all five continents)
  • French is the 3rd most widely used language on the Web. (English with 45%, German with 7% and Spanish with 4.5%)
  • There are 96.2 million French-speakers in Africa. (the most of all five continents where French is spoken)
  • The International Organization of La Francophonie comprises of 75 member states and governments (including 19 observers). In 2008, this organization represented a total of 890 million people, or 13% of the world’s population.
  • The International Organization of La Francophonie’s 75 member states and governments represent over one-third of the United Nation’s member states.
  • French is the 2nd most widely spoken foreign language in the European Union with 19%. (English is at 41%, German is at 10% and Spanish is at 7%)

I would like to wish you, your family and friends the best during this day.

In solidarity,

André Savoie, Chair
Provincial Francophone Committee

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