Laval University celebrated the opening of the Francophone Demographic and Statistical Observatory (ODSEF) on April 9 at a ceremony attended by Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, and representatives of the Francophone University Agency (AUF) and the International Francophone Organization (OIF). In addition to housing the Observatory, Laval University will oversee the scientific management of the project, which aims to develop a linguistic atlas of the French-speaking world.
The ODSEF will be directed by Richard Marcoux, a professor in Laval University’s Department of Sociology (Faculty of Social Sciences). Various studies will be carried out to track changing patterns of language use throughout La Francophonie; the results will be submitted to the OIF’s French language branch (OLF) in order to produce a demographic and linguistic profile of French’s status around the world. According to Prof. Marcoux, a number of the ODSEF’s activities will involve Africa, which is playing an increasingly important role in the demographic makeup of La Francophonie. The Observatory will also undertake a variety of initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting the demographic and statistical heritage of La Francophonie’s members.
The creation of the ODSEF stems from a pledge made by Premier Jean Charest at the 12th Francophone Summit, held in Québec City in October 2008.
Over the next four years, the Observatory will be funded by contributions from the Ministère des Relations internationales (MRI) ($350,000), the AUF (€100,000 or $160,000) and the OIF (€80,000 or $130,000). In addition to funding the salary of the Observatory’s director, Laval University will provide access to its documentary resources, office space and equipment.
Press release (in French)