The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie in Belgium: the Artists are the Real Winners

In addition to promoting exchanges between participants from different French speaking communities around the world, the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie’s  “Pairing Francophone Communities” mission helps build economic, social, educational, tourism and cultural bridges.

The most recent mission sent representatives from the city of Gatineau and the Acadian community of New Brunswick to the province of Luxembourg, Belgium. The trip which took place at the end of October of this year was culturally oriented. Thus, the Canadian group met with Belgian cultural representatives and discussed common points of interest which will help in promoting the work of artists on the worldwide stage.

Having already developed close ties over the course of the past two years, the members of the two Canadian delegations (Gatineau and Acadian), seized the opportunity while in Europe to share the dynamism of our own Francophone communities with Belgian representatives.

Competing Similarities

Even though the delegations represent localities separated by thousands of miles, Belgian and Canadian representatives agree that they’re facing the same challenge, that of competition from large urban centers in the organization of cultural events. Gatineau has to compete with Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa and the Acadians must distinguish themselves from the Anglophone community in New Brunswick. Being far from Brussels, the Belgium province of Luxembourg also has to find ways to attract attention. To meet this challenge, the three communities have agreed to find other avenues for cultural development.

Good news! Cultural partnerships may soon be created, specifically in regards to reading and books as well as networking between French European, Acadian and Quebecois communities. Even though we can’t reveal any details one thing we can say with certainty is that Canadian artists will be the real winners of the "Pairing Francophone Communities” mission!

The next “Pairing French Communities” mission will take place from the 19th to the 26th of November 2011, at which time delegations from Alberta, the Northwest Territories and St-Jérôme and Ste-Therese-de-Gaspé in Quebec will travel to Montbeliard France to discuss economic development.

Here are some photographs of the mission which featured Stefan Psenak municipal counsellor and president of the Arts, Culture, Letters and Heritage Commission of the City of Gatineau, Louis Cabral director of the Arts, Culture and Letters Services of the City of Gatineau and Carmen Gibbs and Louise Lemieux respectively, director and president of the New Brunswick Acadian Professional Artists Association. They were accompanied by Laurent Vandeputte from Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

Philippe Daoust