On September 6, 2007, La Francophonie secretary general Abdou Diouf attended “Quand l’Afrique s’éveillera… an exhibition presented by Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie de la Villette, in Paris, France. In his remarks for the occasion, Mr. Diouf stressed the importance of Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie to the scientific and cultural scene of France and La Francophonie. “Its mission—to make scientific, technical, and industrial knowledge accessible to everyone while reaching out to the public in France and internationally—has made it an extraordinary place for discovery and learning, particularly for young people. The topical exhibition ‘Quand l’Afrique s’éveillera…,’ which I had the privilege of discovering today, is a case in point.”
Highlighting the central importance of Africa within La Francophonie, Mr. Diouf noted that Organisation internationale de la Francophonie directs a significant portion of its political and multilateral cooperative efforts toward the region, whether for education, culture, peace, human rights, democracy, or economic development. “To the extent possible given its limited means, La Francophonie has stood behind Africa and done its best to respond to the many needs manifested on that continent,” said the secretary general.
Mr. Diouf observed that the African continent’s problems and needs are very clearly presented in “When Africa Awakes.” “But,” he added, the exhibition “overturns the conventional wisdom of the continent as alien to any progressive perspectives. It refutes the popular—and mistaken—picture of Africa as static, mired in its traditions, and incapable of creation or innovation.” Noting the public interest and warm reception the exhibition received in France, Mr. Diouf expressed his wish that it might also be presented internationally, particularly in Africa.
In closing, Mr. Diouf emphasized the strong partnership that has developed between Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and La Francophonie as a whole. “It is true,” he stated, “that the activities of our respective institutions overlap in a number of key priorities, for example, in education, information technologies, the promotion of cultural diversity, and the promotion of the French language.” Pointing out that the Francophone Summits often constitute high points in this cooperation, Mr. Diouf concluded by declaring, “The upcoming Québec Summit in 2008 will undoubtedly provide us with the opportunity to continue and strengthen our partnership. This, in any case, is the wish that I want to leave you with today.”
We invite you to read the complete text (in French) of Mr. Diouf’s remarks.