Speakers of the French language unite globally to celebrate Francophonie week March 17-25, and international Francophonie Day on March 20th. UN French Language Day is also observed annually on March 20, and was established by the UN’s Department of Public Information in 2010 “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.” The theme of International Francophonie Day this year will be “The French language, connecting for action.” French Language and Francophonie Week, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, will highlight the role and use of the spoken word in society. 500 bookstores, dozens of associations, libraries, schools, universities, museums, theaters as well as hospitals will host events. The French Ministry for National Education, the Instituts français, the Alliances françaises, French-language schools, and all French culture and education stakeholders will host events abroad during French Language and Francophonie Week.
President of France, Emmanuel Macron has made the promotion of the French language and culture a priority. The plan to promote the French language and multilingualism will be announced on March 20; the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs played an active role in drafting this plan, in close coordination with the Institut français and in collaboration with many stakeholders, including the International Organization of La Francophonie and all states and governments in the French-speaking world.
French, the second-most-studied language in the world, with some 125 million students and 900,000 teachers of French abroad, is shared by 274 million people worldwide, is the fifth-most-spoken language on the planet, and is along with English the only language spoken on all five continents.
The term “Francophonie” refers to all the states and governments worldwide who share the French language. The International Organization of La Francophonie, created in 1970, represents one of the biggest linguistic zones in the world. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity among its 88-member states and governments (54 full members, 7 associates and 27 observers), which together represent over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and account for a population of over 890 million people, including 274 million French speakers.
IOF organises political activities alongside the four main objectives which it has been assigned:
- To promote the French language, cultural and linguistic diversity,
- To promote peace, democracy and human rights
- To support education, training, higher education institutions and research
- To foster cooperation in favour of sustainable development.