Armenia isn’t top of mind when one thinks of thriving French culture just like Ghana. But this week the Armenian capital of Yerevan has been transformed into a “Francophone Mecca”, a sign of the relaxed admission standards of the Francophonie organization representing the French-speaking world. Armenia is host of the two-day la Francophonie summit which opened this morning.
President Akufo Addo is leading the Ghanaian delegation to the Summit. Earlier on before the opening ceremony, leaders and some Foreign Affairs Ministers of all eighty four participating Countries took turns to exchange pleasantries with the host and Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and Mrs. Michaëlle Jean, the Secretary General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, OIF.
From the schedule of the two day Summit, President Akufo Addo will address the gathering during the second and final day and it is expected that he will set out the agenda of his administration on how it intends to whip up interest in the teaching and learning of the French language in Ghana. At the end of the summit, Ghana’s Status in the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie which currently stands at an “Associate Member”, will be upgraded to a “Full Membership State” of the OIF.
The La Francophonie Organization
The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), generally known as the Francophonie but also called International Oganisation of the Francophonie in the English language, is an international organization representing countries and regions where French is a lingua franca or customary language, where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers), or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture.
The organization comprises 84 member states and governments; of these, 54 states and governments are full members, four are associate members and twenty are observers. The term francophonie or francosphere (often capitalized in English) also refers to the global community of French-speaking peoples, comprising a network of private and public organizations promoting equal ties among countries where French people or France played a significant historical role, culturally, militarily, or politically.
The modern organisation was created in 1970. Its motto is “égalité, complémentarité, solidarité” (“equality, complementarity, and solidarity”), a deliberate allusion to France’s motto liberté, égalité, fraternité. Started as a small club of northern French-speaking countries, the Francophonie has since evolved into a global organization whose numerous branches cooperate with its member states in the fields of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.