On June 28, 2007, in Paris, France, the secretary general of La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, took part in the opening sessions of the national meeting of the Ligue de l’enseignement. The theme of the meeting was “Individualism, Community, Common Destiny: Building a Society.” In a speech written for the occasion, Mr. Diouf began by saying that he spoke “on behalf of the 68 States and governments comprising La Francophonie, on behalf of the 68 States and governments spread across all continents, on behalf of these 68 States and governments who, on a daily basis, accept the challenge of consulting, cooperating, and living together—different and yet united by the language and values they share.”
Mr. Diouf went on to say that “This is undoubtedly a major challenge, because living together can be difficult when we have different cultures, religions, and histories. Living together can be difficult when levels of development differ and opulence rubs shoulders with extreme poverty, when some have access to education, healthcare, and the most modern means of information and communication, and when some are assured of enjoying their rights and liberties and living in peace, while others are condemned to illiteracy, exposed to pandemics, humanitarian crisis and murderous conflicts as they struggle for the most basic right—the right to live.”
“I ask myself how we can build a society on an international scale. I don’t pretend to have the answer to this question—which is vital to our future and to that of our children,” added Mr. Diouf. Seeking to identify possible solutions, Mr. Diouf stated that “Lastly, we can and we must take strong measures to promote cultural diversity. This is the heart of the mission of La Francophonie, which mobilized en masse to back UNESCO’s, Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. As of now, we intend to play an active role in its implementation, because this is a major issue for the international society of the present and of the future.”
Click here for the full text of Mr. Diouf’s speech (available in French only).