Apr 1, 2015

IR - One Definition A Day : Francophonie

IR - One Definition A Day: Francophonie (p. 182, Ref. 1)

A term used to describe common bonds among those states and communities that share the French language, culture and civilisation. 

Originally a nineteenth-century notion relating specifically to French North Africa it was revived by President Senghor of Senegal in 1960 and widely publicised in 1962 (Year of Algerian Independence) by a special issue of the journal Esprit. 

Its subsequent popularity in the French-speaking world led to the establishment of over two hundred private and public organisations, and to maintain ties with the thirty-five states which accord some official status to the French language. 

Four main institutions or areas of activity sustain the idea of francophonie: the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique (ACCT, 1966), the annual Franco-African summit conferences, regular meetings of the Francophile States and the French Secretariat of States for francophonie. 

The first occupant of this position, Madame Michaux-Chevy, defined it in this way 'Francophonie is a fight ... for a new international solidarity, for a new intricate and manifold cultural identity and for a common development'

Although  its aspirations are vague, it does represent a coherent, if somewhat loose, movement in world politics and serves to demarcate and defend the French-speaking world from possible encroachments from the more dominant Anglo-Saxon civilisation. 

In this sense it has often been described as an agency of French foreign policy or alternatively as an instrument of neo-colonialism.

(Source: Penguin Dictionary on IR)

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