The International organization of la Francophonie (Fr. Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, OIF) was founded in March 1970 with its headquarters in Paris, France. The main goals of OIF are – promotion of the dialogue among different cultures and nations, development of democracy and , solidarity. However, foremost, the organization was founded for the purposes of fostering the French language and culture.
As for today, 84 states are participating in the OIF activities, 58of them are full members. 26 states have observer status
For more information: International Organization of the Francophonie.
Lithuania and the International Organization of la Francophonie
On 4 March 1999 in Monkton, Canada, at the Francophonie Summit, Lithuania was granted an observer status at the OIF. An observer state status is normally being granted to those states where the French language is not the first or the second language. By using this status, representatives of Lithuania has the right to participate in regular Francophonie meetings:
- Heads of State Summit
- Ministerial Conference (according to the rules of procedure, as observer Lithuania can make statments)
On 22 October 2012 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the OIF signed a cooperation agreement for the teaching of the French language in Lithuanian diplomatic and civil service. According to the agreement, every year the OIF is allocating recourses for the French courses for Lithuanian diplomats and civil servants working in the area of international relations.
Since 2015, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and OIF fhas a partnership, aimed at the continuation of the close cooperation between Lithuania and OIF. The leading intention is to develop the professional and technical competency of diplomats and civil servants working in the area of the international relations in the French language. The base of this partnership is the Partnership Memorandum on National Francophone Initiative (2015-2018) signed in Yerevan on 10 October 2015. According to this initiative, Lithuania is committed to form annual national plans of French language learning and incorporate them in the civil servants and diplomats French language learning programs.
Lithuania’s objectives at the OIF:
- Linguistic-cultural objectives. First, the OIF is a linguistic – cultural forum. Participation in the OIF activities create favorable conditions for cultural and scientific collaboration, youth exchange, strengthening of teaching of the French language, familiarization with cultures of French-speaking nations. This cooperation provides the opportunities to participate in the thematic seminars, to make connections with specialized structures such as France’s ENA or administration and diplomatic schools of Francophonie countries , which promote the French language.
- Political-economic objectives. The Government of Lithuania decision to become an observer state at the OIF expresses the country’s commitments to the universal principles of democracy and human rights.. Wide international space of the Francophonie opens up new possibilities for Lithuania in the frameworks of multi-cultural, political-economic and social cooperation, and for broadening up the knowledge of world’s values and traditions.
Francophonie Days in Lithuania
Since 2000 every year in March, the whole month, Lithuania celebrates the Francophonie days. During this month various events are being organized: French weeks and nights at schools, French Olympics for Lithuanian students, French song festivals, exhibitions, lectures, seminars and quizzes. As the Francophonie days provide an opportunity for people to get themselves more familiar with the culture of France and other French speaking countries, each year the Government of Lithuania organizes special events to present countries like Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Madagascar to Lithuanian people.