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Organisation internationale de la Francophonie


Last modified: 2010-06-11 by
Keywords: organisation internationale de la francophonie | francophonie | assemblee parlementaire de la francophonie | agence de cooperation culturelle et technique |
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[Flag of OIF]

Flag of OIF - Image by Željko Heimer, 5 December 2003

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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 (Reclus' text is quoted only for the sake of completeness, and should not be considered as representative of the modern perception of francophonie):

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 shall consider 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.

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 not be written with 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 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 higher authority of the OIF is the Conférence au sommet des chefs d'État et de gouvernement des pays ayant le français en partage, better known as Sommet de la Francophonie. The Summit is organized every two-three years in a different country, as follows:

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 of the OIF

The current members of the OIF are (states and governments):
Albania | Andorra | Belgium (Wallonia) | Benin | Bulgaria | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cambodia | Cameroon | 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 | French Community (Belgium) | Gabon | Greece | Guinea | Guinea Bissau | Haiti | Laos | Lebanon | Luxembourg | Macedonia | Madagascar |Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Moldavia | Monaco Moldavia | Morocco | Morocco |Niger | Romania | Rwanda | Saint Lucia | Sao Tome e Principe | Senegal | Seychelles | Switzerland | Togo | Tunisia | Vanuatu | Viet Nam.

Cyprus and Ghana have the status of Associated Members.
Armenia, Austria; the Czech Republic, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Lituania, Mozambique, Poland, , Slovakia and Slovenia and Ukraine have the status of observers at the Summit.

Ivan Sache, 17 August 2008

Flag of the OIF

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

Erroneous flag assignment to the OIF

On 3 July 2008, Daniel Allard related in Commerce International the Rencontre internationale de la Francophonie Économique, held in Quebec on 16-19 May 2008, as a "forerunner" of the 12th Summit of the OIF, to be held in Quebec next October.
The article is illustrated with a colour photography entitled: "Does the francophone flag fly still high?" However, the flag shown on the photography is not the flag of the OIF but the flag of the town of New Orleans (white with three yellow fleurs-de-lis and thin stripes on the horizontal edges of the flag, respectively red on top and blue on bottom.

Ivan Sache & Jay Allen Villipando, 18 July 2008

Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF)

[Flag of APF]

Flag of the APF - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 January 2010

The Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) is the consultative and representative assembly of the OIF. It is made of 48 member sections, constituted by the parliaments or within the parliaments of states or communities where French is the official, administrative or current language, and of 17 associate sections, constituted by the parliaments or within the parliaments of states or communities that use the French language, especially during ionternational meetings, and that encourage the use, teaching and diffusion of the French language.
The official organs of the APF are the Plenary Assembly, the Board, the Permanent Delegation, the General Secretariate, Commissions, Regional Assemblies (Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe) and the Parliamentary Women's Network.

The flag of the APF, as can be seen on photos taken during different APF events, is white with the emblem of APF.
The emblem of APF is the symbolic representation of an assembly, made of five concentric semi-circles, from the center to the border, red, violet, green, blue and yellow (probably symbolizing the five continents, as on the flag of the OIF), bordered by 17 blue rectangles. The name of the assembly is written in blue letters below the emblem.

Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française (AIPLF)

[Flag of the AIPLF]

Flag of the AIPLF - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 March 2004

In February 1966, President of Senegal Léopold Sedar Senghor proposed to set up an association of the parliaments from all the French- speaking countries. The constitutive assembly of the Association internationale des parlementaires de langue française (AIPLF) took place in Luxembourg in February 1967. During its 17th meeting, held in Paris in July 1989, the AIPLF changed in its name "Association" for "Assemblée". The name of the assembly was shortened to APF in July 1998 during the ordinary session of the assembly held in Abidjan.

As shown in Album des Pavillons [pay00], the flag of the AIPLF is in proportions 2:3, blue with a representation of the Earth in white (a disc including three parallels and three meridians).

Ivan Sache, 24 January 2010

Agence de coopération culturelle et technique

[ACCT flag]

Flag of the ACCT - Image by Pierre Gay, 15 March 2004

The flag of the ACCT, as hoisted over the headquarters of the ACCT in Paris, is blue with the whiteemblem of the agency in the middle. The Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie, which superseded the ACCT, has an emblem similar to the emblem of the ACCT but with more colours.

Ivan Sache, 15 March 2004