The International Francophonie is Looking Towards New Brunswick
New Brunswick has been a member of La Francophonie (International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF)) for 40 years. This privileged status allows the province to sit with 83 other member states and governments on various discussion forums related to the economy, education, youth, culture, sport, etc.
The Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat has adopted a three-year action plan to take advantage of international opportunities offered by La Francophonie.
ONB spoke to Isabelle Doucet, Director, International and Multilateral Francophonie, to learn more.
ONB: What are the opportunities here for New Brunswick?
Our action plan focuses primarily on identifying economic opportunities (for New Brunswick businesses and attracting foreign investment), vocational and technical training (expertise developed by the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick), attracting international students and Francophone immigrants, promoting our culture, and hosting international events.
How will you share opportunities for New Brunswick businesses?
Our team works in close cooperation with Opportunities NB. Information on exploratory missions and events related to the international Francophonie is shared with businesses through ONB teams.
Tell us about events that are coming up in the province.
Since hosting the Francophonie Summit in Moncton in 1999, New Brunswick has gained a certain level of respect as a full member of the IOF. The province is preparing to host two major events in 2018 and 2021 related to the international Francophonie: the Conference of Ministers of Education in French-speaking Countries (CONFEMEN) and the Games of La Francophonie.
What is the CONFEMEN?
The CONFEMEN is an institution of Francophone Ministers of Education that will hold its next ministerial meeting in Bathurst in May 2018. Some 40 Ministers with their technical teams and officials from the IOF will meet in New Brunswick for four days. They will have the opportunity to visit the region and possibly some businesses as well. As we know, today they are Ministers of Education, but they may become Ministers of Economic Development in the future.
Will the Games of La Francophonie be the largest event ever held in New Brunswick?
The Games of La Francophonie will be held in Moncton and Dieppe in July 2021. It is indeed an event of great magnitude as we will welcome more than 3,000 athletes and artists, dignitaries from various countries of the Francophonie, journalists, volunteers, etc. In all, more than 5,000 people are expected! Twenty sports and cultural competitions will be organized.
In a recent press release, the Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Francine Landry, said, “In addition to concretely highlighting the benefits of bilingualism and diversity in our province, these international Games give us the opportunity to showcase a decidedly contemporary image of New Brunswick, an image that is dynamic, diverse, inclusive, and open to the world. And these Games will generate real spin-offs by attracting visitors to the area and creating business opportunities and jobs.”