More than 200 guests attended the National Arts Center in Ottawa to mark the 30th anniversary of the Journée internationale de la Francophonie on March 20, 2018. And that was not the only reason to celebrate!
The evening was also the culmination of the 20th edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (RVF); an edition that highlights the economic wealth, the promising future of education, and the cultural vitality of Francophone communities across the country.
In attendance were many representatives of the partner organizations that responded to the invitation of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue (Foundation for Dialogue) and the economic development and employability network, the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDÉE Canada). Ministers, deputy ministers, dignitaries, university presidents, members of the ACUFC and artists were also present.
The evening was launched by Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, who spoke about the government action plan for official languages that will be unveiled on March 28.
"Our plan will reflect the spirit of the Dion plan and it will strengthen all Francophone minority communities," she said. The minister confirmed that the budget of the $400 million plan represents dedicated funding and no cuts were planned. The plan appears to be gaining consensus before ministers; Ms. Joly has received several endorsements from her colleagues at the tabling of this document, eagerly awaited by Francophone socioeconomic stakeholders.
Minister Joly also took the opportunity to highlight the unifying work of Guy Matte, Executive Director of the Foundation for Dialogue, which has been overseeing RVF for several years. "We are now working together so that the government can understand the importance of official languages," she said.
RVF spokespersons Mariette Mulaire and Eddy King then continued the presentations, noting with pleasure that this festive day was also the International Day of Happiness! Everything was in place for the evening to unfold in a positive and festive spirit.
It was then that the achievements of various institutions in the world of Francophone education were presented, illustrating the continuum of education in French across the country, from early childhood to university. Among many highlights was the unveiling of the Originality award winners for their work on the Foundation for Dialogue’s Baldwin-Lafontaine Project: graduates of the TV Production program at La Cité College.
In addition, Francophone youth—who had a substantial and active presence at the celebration—were welcomed by Justin Johnson, President of the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française.
The Francophone economy: a global force
After highlighting the richness of Francophone education, the presenters reminded everyone of the importance of the Francophone economy on the international scene. A good example of this economic value was officially unveiled: the RDÉE Canada project, the Francophone Tourist and Heritage Corridor.
Visit CorridorCanada.ca to discover hundreds of tourist sites from across the country that offer services in French, and that help us discover or rediscover the treasures of the Canadian Francophonie.
Francophone culture featured!
The celebrations ended with a meal accompanied by official speeches on site or televised, including that of Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General of La Francophonie. Francophone cultural dynamism was featured between each course.
Then, the evening was officially closed with a cultural dessert presented by five inspiring Francophone women: Gabrielle Goulet, Kelly Bado, Elisapie, Caroline Savoie and Aminata Farmo.
This soiree has not only been another great showcase for all current projects of our Francophonie; it has allowed us to look ahead with the launching of bright ideas for the future of Francophone communities, regardless of their size or the scale of their aspirations.
To see more photos and read the messages sent during the event, Célébrons nos acquis (Celebrate our Achievements), follow the hashtag #JIF30 on Twitter!