The state of Louisiana is now a member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF). Its application as an observer member was accepted on October 11 by the organization’s member states at their biannual summit in Armenia, along with Ireland, Gambia, and Malta.
The 54 full members of the OIF unanimously approved Louisiana’s application at the 17th summit of La Francophonie. According to Bertin Leblanc, spokesperson for the organization, “In La Francophonie, decisions are made by consensus.” Louisiana, home to nearly 250,000 francophones, has 5,000 students enrolled in French-English dual-language programs.
“Louisiana has taken a seat at the table of La Francophonie,” announced the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). “By being part of this organization comprised of Francophone and Francophile countries and governments from all over the world, Louisiana is now officially recognized as a Francophone region on the global stage,” reads the CODOFIL statement. “Being a member of the IOF also offers a number of opportunities for collaborations between our state and the rest of the Francophone world. The future is bright for the French language in Louisiana!”
Membership will increase funding for Louisiana’s French immersion programs and improve access to and cooperation with the French-speaking economies of the 84 member countries, provinces, and governments which promote the use of French and celebrate their ties to the language.
CODOFIL was instrumental in the membership process, producing an 80-page argument in support.