Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, concluded their official visit to Armenia where they participated in the 17th Francophonie Summit. Reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), the Prime Minister and Minister joined leaders of various member countries in discussions of issues related to the theme, “Living together in solidarity, shared humanistic values and respect for diversity: a source of peace and prosperity in La Francophonie.”
“The Francophonie Summit is an opportunity to work on what matters for French-speaking people around the world – and of course the priorities we’re working on here in Yerevan matter everywhere,” the Prime Minister said in a Tweet during the Summit. In a later Press Release, he asserted, “At this year’s Summit, we made significant progress to advance our shared values of peace, democracy, inclusion, diversity, gender equality, and respect for human rights.”
While highlighting priorities like the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls, green economic growth, and peace and security, Canada also underscored the importance of promoting the French language and culture in the digital sphere. As the Hon. Mélanie Joly put it:
“Canada's commitment to La Francophonie runs deep and is rooted in the French language and the values we share. An integral part of that means promoting peace, democracy, and human rights – and we will never stop defending those values. As Minister responsible for La Francophonie, my mandate is to defend, strengthen, and promote our official language communities, and the French language throughout the world. That is why, as part of the XVII Francophonie Summit, and with support from France and other partners, Canada is committed to support dynamic francophone culture and protect its place in the digital world in a meaningful way.”
Led by the Canadian Secretary General, Michaëlle Jean, the Summit brought together 84 member states and governments across five continents, with representatives from New Brunswick and Quebec also holding a prominent place at the table, and with Ontario acting as an observer.