Pascal Couchepin, the Grand Témoin de la Francophonie for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games and former President of the Swiss Confederation was in Québec City on November 24. The Grand Témoin has been tasked by the Secretary General of la Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, to observe the role and use of the French language during the Olympic Games in accordance with Article 24 of the Olympic Charter which gives French official language status.
During his visit to Québec City, Mr. Couchepin met with Premier Jean Charest and with the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for la Francophonie, Pierre Arcand.
Minister Arcand offered Mr. Couchepin Québec’s support in carrying out the initiatives of the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) to promote the use of French at the Vancouver Games. He also reaffirmed the importance Québec places on this mission.
Pierre Arcand noted as well the extensive schedule of cultural events that Québec has planned for the Games. The line-up will unfold in three parts: at the Maison du Québec; on Québec Day, set for February 15; and in partnership with the Olympics Organizing Committee during Québec’s participation in the Cultural Olympiad. The activities will showcase nearly one hundred groups and artists representing Québec at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Grand Témoin’s mission continued with a lunch-conference at SORIQ (Society of International Relations of Québec) and a meeting with key stakeholders working to ensure Québec’s visibility at the Vancouver Games.
In his capacity as Grand Témoin de la Francophonie, Mr. Couchepin succeeds Jean-Pierre Raffarin (Peking 2008), Lise Bissonnette from Québec (Turin 2006) and Hervé Bourges (Athens 2004).
International Organization of la Francophonie (in French)
2010 Vancouver Olympic Games