Switzerland in the International organization of La Francophonie

Established in 1970, the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) is a multilateral body that brings together 88 states and governments that use French as a medium of cooperation. It is dedicated to promoting the French language, cultural and linguistic diversity, strengthening democracy and human rights, and fostering sustainable development, particularly through economic ties and increased use of digital technologies. Switzerland works within the IOF to share its experience as a multilingual French-speaking country, as well as its culture of promoting peace and democracy.

Switzerland has been a member of the IOF since 1996 and is now its third-largest contributor. Switzerland's main areas of action within la Francophonie concern democracy, peace and human rights, the promotion of International Geneva's digital ecosystem, and support for cultural and linguistic plurality. 

The Swiss Federal Assembly and la Francophonie

Ten Swiss parliamentarians and 33 cantonal representatives take part in the French-speaking Parliamentary Assembly (FPA). 

Summit of la Francophonie

The summit is the highest political forum in la Francophonie, and brings together high-level representatives of French-speaking countries. IOF summits take place every two years in a member state, with discussion centring on a specified topic. The summit sets the general political direction for la Francophonie as an institution. It adopts the general programming framework and appoints the IOF's secretary general for a four-year term.

Switzerland hosted the 13th Summit of la Francophonie in 2010 in Montreux.

The most recent IOF summit was held in Djerba, Tunisia, on 19 and 20 November 2022, focusing on the theme of digital connectivity. The organisation's secretary general, Louise Mushikiwabo, was confirmed for a second term as head of the OIF. Paris will host the 19th summit in October 2024. 

IOF events

Every year on 20 March, Switzerland and its representations abroad take part in activities organised as part of the International Day of La Francophonie. In Switzerland, this event takes place within the framework of the Week of the French Language and La Francophonie, in which several institutions take part. The Week of the French Language and La Francophonie is overseen by the Intercantonal Conference of Public Education of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino.

Switzerland participates in the Francophone Games, which bring together more than 3,000 athletes and artists from French-speaking countries. The Francophone Games, held every four years, take place alternately in countries located in the northern and southern hemispheres. This artistic and sporting event embodies the values of solidarity, diversity and personal excellence, and helps bring together young people from all over the French-speaking world.

The 2023 Francophone Games took place in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the participation of young competitors from Switzerland. 

Last update 21.11.2022


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