H.E. Mr. Samir Arrour, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Japan and President of the Council for the promotion of La Francophonie in Japan.
TEXT: H.E. Mr. Samir Arrour
Over the past five years, the Council for the promotion of La Francophonie in Japan has made great efforts to reinforce the value of speaking French and promote the cultural diversity of La Francophonie in Japan. We are proud of the results accomplished and we remain committed to do more. For instance, we want to organize activities outside Tokyo.
There are several signs showing an increased interest for La Francophonie in Japan. This is a source of motivation for the Council’s members, who represents more than twenty countries and several French and Japanese organizations active in Francophonie. Each meeting of the Council provides an overview of the currents activities and future projects in support of La Francophonie.
Positive context for la Francophonie
We are witnessing new gestures of openness and cooperation towards La Francophonie from the Office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Indeed, there is a person assigned to promote La Francophonie within the communications team. Moreover, Japan’s commitment and proactive contribution to the African countries through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is a sign of openness to dialogue and solidarity.
There are several signs showing an increased interest for La Francophonie in Japan.
The City of Tokyo will host the Olympics Games in 2020. This is exciting news because French is an official Olympic language. Moreover, a third of all participating countries are part of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF). In this perspective, the Council wishes to work closely with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to facilitate intercultural relations with the Japanese and make the Games a success.
Visionary leaders from Japan
The Council for the promotion of La Francophonie in Japan was established on May 27th, 2010, following a general assembly attended by 23 countries and IOF member states represented in Japan.In setting up this initiative, the Council was one year ahead of a resolution adopted at the 13th Francophonie Summit in Montreux, requiring member countries of the IOF to unite their efforts in promoting La Francophonie abroad.
In Japan, the original idea to unite the French promotion efforts by creating a Council of La Francophonie was launched a few years earlier by the Japanese Society of French Didactics (SJDF), an organization with over 900 French teachers in Japan. Being a visionary leader, the SJDF has always been an invaluable contributor allowing us to carry out joint projects in various universities. We should also mention the French Institute in Japan, Franco-Japanese House and TV-5 Monde as prime collaborators with the Council.
Growing interest for la Francophonie
Through its various events and activities, the Council’s objective is to raise awareness of the Japanese public and reach out to students at various levels on the richness of cultural diversity, its sharing of common values and language. Our activities, for example, include the annual celebration of the International Francophonie Day that attracts nearly a thousand participants in Tokyo. This event is also held elsewhere in Japan–Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Sendai and Yokohama. The “Discovery Day of La Francophonie” is another popular annual event that is being produced in collaboration with the SJDF. Hundreds of students have joined and played an active role in there events that were held for the last six years in various universities in Tokyo. The Council is also supporting various competitions of excellence in French either by joining at the award ceremony or as jury members.
The year 2015 will be a memorable as for the first time; the Council has worked closely with the Office of the Global Communications at the Prime Minister’s Office to support the presence of a delegation of seven young Japanese to attend the 2nd French Language World Forum which took place in Liège, Belgium. The Japanese presence was the darling of the French media. This project provided a unique experience for a group of young Japanese to make various presentations about Japan in French and to fully participate in this Forum with over 1,200 French speaking participants from five continents. We can count on the support of these new young ambassadors of La Francophonie in Japan.
Finally, the Council for the promotion of La Francophonie in Japan maintains links with the Asia Pacific’s regional Office of the International Organization of La Francophonie which is located in Hanoi, Vietnam.