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International Francophonie Day

International Francophonie Day

As every year since 2010, the UN celebrates the French Language Day on March 20ᵗʰ.

The United Nations celebrates multilingualism and cultural diversity by instituting six Days of Languages each year for Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The date of the French Language Day symbolically corresponds to the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT) inaugurated on March 20 at the Niamey Conference in Niger in 1970. It became the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) and is the first African francophone organization.

The Francophonie at a glance

The term Francophonie with a lowercase "f" refers to the people who share the French language to express themselves. At the same time, Francophonie with a capital "F" refers to the institutional mechanism that organizes relations between French-speaking states. France and its French-speaking partners, have a major role to play in keeping alive the founding link uniting the States grouped within this system. Indeed, the French language Observatory counts approximately 220 million speakers spread over the five continents. The Francophonie currently includes 77 States and governments for which French is either the official or co-official language, or for which the Francophone and Francophile tradition remains alive in practice and learning. All of these states and governments share common principles and objectives based on the construction of the multilateral Francophonie and value cultural diversity, peace, democratic governance, the consolidation of the rule of law and environmental protection.

Francophone cooperation takes the form of multiple actions: associations, unions, professional networks, and federations such as the French Teachers International Federation (FIPF). The French-speaking world also values multilingualism, an essential factor in harmonious communication between people, particularly in work relations. The report on the future of the Francophonie published in 2020 analyzes the place of the Francophone identity among young people and the emergence of a true plural culture. Indeed, the 10,000 young people consulted in 83 states and governments affirmed their feeling of sharing common values and belonging to an effective network in terms of economy, environment and education.  This network is particularly strong in West Africa.

Africa and The Francophonie

To use the expression dear to Kateb Yacine, one of the greatest Algerian poets and playwright, "the French language is a war booty". Beyond the heritage suffered, Africans have made the French language their own. This one belongs to all those who seize it. The French language, as long as it is respectful of the identity and cultural values of the African continent, remains an essential tool of communication between many countries. A common cultural heritage unites them through a shared language. It also allows, obviously, to maintain a privileged link with France. 

For the past few decades, the globalization of scientific activity and the use of Anglo-Saxon languages to the detriment of French have accelerated a form of disenchantment with the language of "Molière”. Beyond geopolitical considerations, Unesco notes in 2018 that African countries encounter difficulties in sustaining structuring funding for the benefit of their populations. It specifies that the necessary condition to overcome the imbalance between African and Western countries in research and development is to increase financial investment in science, take a share in international consortia. Nowadays, in an important part of the African scientific world, research, discoveries and training are done in French. Thus, Francophone solidarity offers a great opportunity to enlarge the Francophone space, including in the geosciences.  Indeed, nearly 60% of the 321 million French speakers reside in Africa and the Indian Ocean. Given the youth of this population, in 2050 more than 700 million people should be speaking French, 85% of them on the African continent. In this context, Africa exerts a real influence within major bodies such as the International Organization of the Francophonie. 

The Francophonie in the scientific field

The scientific community, of which Eliis is a part in the field of seismic interpretation, must seize this unique opportunity to practice and publish its scientific research in French. It already has partners in several West African countries and intends to intensify these collaborations.

The Francophonie is a way of respecting others in their diversity, in their multiple identities and languages. Today, it represents a pool of values and ideas that transcends differences and brings people together. An approach that is totally in line with Eliis corporate culture!


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