Québec was a stand out at the very first French Language Forum of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), which was held in Québec City July 2 to 6. The Forum brought together 1,300 participants from civil society from 104 countries for a week of activities, testimonials and debates on the French language, its current situation and its future. Quebecers also answered the call of the Forum and OIF, coming out in great numbers to take part in the cultural activities happening around the city that were open to the public.
Québec Premier Jean Charest participated in the opening ceremony with Francophonie Secretary-General Abdou Diouf, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Québec City Mayor Régis Labeaume and a group of youth representatives who had come to express their love for the French language.
Mr. Charest expressed his enthusiasm for the future of French around the world, underlining the role that Québec intends to play in this respect. He also invited participants to mobilize so that, together, we can meet the challenges facing the French language.
Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie Monique Gagnon-Tremblay also attended the opening ceremony.
Québec artists showcased
Close to 150 artists filled the city with the myriad accents of the French language. Several artists, including Bruno Pelletier, Lynda Thalie, Élage Diouf and Marie-Josée Lord showcased Québec’s homegrown talent at activities held in the Parc de la Francophonie and on various streets throughout the city.
Cultural evenings saw three stars of the Francophonie, Luc Plamondon, Antonine Maillet and Amadou Lamine Sall, deliver their expressions of love of French at cultural activities held in the Parc de la Francophonie.
Québec expertise front and centre
A number of Québec government departments and agencies participated in the Forum workshops and conferences. Players and stakeholders from Québec’s university, education, scientific research, government, union, and business communities and civil society were invited to share their linguistic expertise and demonstrated Québec’s dynamism in promoting French on the international stage.
Conclusion and message from young people from civil society
The French Language World Forum ended on a positive note and a message of hope for the future of French around the world. Discussions held throughout the event gave rise to the following realization: French is undeniably a major international language embodying multiple identities that coexist with national languages, notably African languages. This was the principle that led to the 15 priorities that came out of this major gathering, which will be held again three years from now in another region of the French-speaking world.
Lastly, a group of young Francophone and Francophile participants responded to the call put out by the Secretary-General of the Francophonie during his opening address by presenting him with a “world youth declaration” reflecting the interests of Francophone and Francophile youth the world over. This document could carry the message from young people to the next Francophonie Summit, which will be held in Kinshasa in October.
Forum mondial de la langue française (French only)
Wrap-up press release