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Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie


Last modified: 2005-07-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: organisation internationale de la francophonie | francophonie | agence de cooperation culturelle et technique |
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[Flag of OIF]by Željko Heimer

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External link:

Origin and meaning of the word Francophonie in French

The two words francophone and francophonie were coined by the geographer Onésime Reclus (1837-1916) in 1880. The relevant paragraph of Reclus' book France, Algérie et les Colonies is quoted by Maurice Piron in L'Ethnie française, April 1981, as follows:

Nous mettons aussi de côté quatre grands pays, le Sénégal, le Gabon, la Cochinchine, le Cambodge dont l'avenir du point de vue "francophone" est encore tres douteux, sauf peut-être pour le Sénégal. Par contre, nous acceptons comme francophones tous ceux qui sont ou semblent destinés à rester ou à devenir à participants de notre langue : Bretons et Basques de France, Arabes et Berbères du Tell dont nous sommes déjà les maitres. Toutefois nous n'englobons pas tous les Belges dans la "francophonie".

The text can be translated as follows:

We shall specifically consider four big countries, Senegal, Gabon, Cochinchina and Cambodia, whose future on the francophone point of view is still very uncertain, except maybe Senegal. Conversely, we shallconsider as francophones all those who are participating to our language or seem to be prepared to become participants : Bretons and Basques of France, Arabs and Berbers of the Tell, who we already rule. However, we shall not include all Belgians in the francophonie.

I quote Reclus' text only for the sake of completeness, and it shall not be considered as representative of the modern perception of francophonie.

Still according to Maurice Piron, the word francophonie was not immediatly accepted. In 1905, pastor Arnold Rey, from Liège (Belgium), called the French-speaking Belgians francologues. The word francophone really emerged around 1930, and the word francophonie in 1962.

The modern meanings of francophone are (Grand Robert de la Langue française):

  1. Concerning the French language in its whole geographical range of use.
    (Individuals). Someone who speaks French usually or frequently, at least in some circumstances of social communication, either as mother language or as a foreign language of institutional or common use. Ex.: Les Africains francophones. Antillais francophones et créolophones.
    (Group, Region). In which French is used as mother, official of common language (even if individual speakers do not all speak French). Ex.: Le Maghreb est francophone. L'Afrique francophone et l'Afrique anglophone. La partie francophone de Montréal.
  2. (Rare). Someone who speaks French (as a learned and occasionally used, foreign language).
  3. Relative to the francophonie and the use of the French language worldwide. Ex.: Centre international d'études francophones. Littératures francophones.

The modern meanings of francophonie are (ibid.):

  1. Francophone character. Ex.: La francophonie d'une groupe, d'une ville.
    (Rare) The ability to speak French.
  2. Group constituted by the francophone people (France, Belgium, Canada [Quebec, New-Brunswick, Ontario...], Switzerland, Africa, Caribbean islands, Levant...).

Note: The word francophonie, when used to confer a cohesion to the human group it defines, is often very controversial.

A long, critical analysis of the concept of francophonie can be read (in French) on the website of the University of Laval (Canada):

In all the uses listed above, the words francophone and francophonie should be written without a Capital f.

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004

Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie

History and organization of the OIF

The word Francophonie, with a Capital F, should be specifically reserved to the international organization called Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. The operating system of the OIF is the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie.

The origin of the organization is the so-called Niamey Convention, hold on 20 March 1970. Presidents Leopold Senghor (Senegal), Habib Bourguiba (Tunisia) and Hamani Diori (Niger) drafted the chart of the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique (ACCT), which was ratified by 21 heads of state and government. The ACCT was also known as the AGECOOP.

In 1997 in Hanoi (Viet Nam), the ACCT was officially renamed Agence de la Francophonie. In 1999 in Moncton (Canada), it took its current name of Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie.

The upper authority of the OIF is the Conférence au sommet des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement des pays ayant le français en partage, better known as Sommet de la Francophonie. The Summit is organized every 2-3 years in a different country, as follows:

  • 1986 Paris (France)
  • 1987 Quebec (Canada)
  • 1989 Dakar (Senegal)
  • 1991 Paris (France)
  • 1993 Port-Louis (Mauritius)
  • 1995 Cotonou (Benin)
  • 1997 Hanoi (Viet Nam)
  • 1999 Moncton (Canada)
  • 2002 Beirut (Lebanon)
  • 2004 Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

The second authority of the OIF is the Conférence ministérielle de la Francophonie, better known as Conférence generale.

The board of governors of the OIF is called the Conseil permanent de la Francophonie.

There is a Charte de la Francophonie

The headquarters of the OIF are located in Paris, with regional headquarters in Lomé (Togo), Libreville (Gabon) and Hanoi (Viet Nam).

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004

Member States

The current members of the OIF are (states and governments):

Albania | Belgium (Wallonia) | Benin | Bulgaria | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cambodia | Canada | Canada (New-Brunswick) | Canada (Quebec) | Cape Verde | Centrafrican Republic | Chad | Comoros | Congo | Congo (Rep. Dem.) | Côte d'Ivoire | Djibouti | Dominique | Egypt | Equatorial Guinea | France | Gabon | Guinea | Guinea Bissau | Haiti | Laos | Lebanon | Luxembourg | Macedonia | Madagascar | Moldavia | Morocco | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Niger | Romania | Rwanda | Saint Lucia | Sao Tome e Principe | Senegal | Seychelles | Switzerland | Togo | Tunisia | Vanuatu | Viet Nam.

Belgium is a member of the Summit but not of the OIF. The Czech Republic, Lituania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia have the status of observers at the Summit.

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004

Description of the flag

In 1987, during the Summit held in Quebec, the delegation from Niger proposed that the emblem of that Summit was adopted as the permanent emblem of the Organization.

The flag of the OIF is white with an emblem made of five segments of a circle, red, blue, yellow, green and violet, which symbolize the five continents.

Source: Union Internationale de la Presse Francophone

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004

Album des Pavillons [pay00] provides the official CMYK colours and Pantone approximations, as follows:

  • Yellow: 0-15-100-0; 116c
  • Green: 90-0-60-0; 3278c
  • Violet: 70-100-0-0; 2602c
  • Red: 0-100-90-0; 485c
  • Blue: 100-0-0-0; Process Cyan C

Željko Heimer, 5 December 2003

Flag of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie

[Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie]by Željko Heimer

The flag of the AIPLF is with a representation of the Earth in white (a disc including three parallels and three meridians).
Proportion 2:3.

Source: Album des Pavillons [pay00]

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004

Flag of the former Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique

[ACCT flag]by Pierre Gay

This flag was hoisted over the headquarters of the ACCT in Paris. The Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie, which superseded the ACCT, has a logotype similar to the logotype of the former ACCT but with more colours.

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004