Oct. 10, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Premier Shawn Graham will lead a delegation of about 20 New Brunswickers to the 12th Francophonie Summit, to be held Oct. 17 - 19 in Quebec City.
"Quebec City will be my first Francophonie Summit, and I am very pleased to lead the New Brunswick delegation," Graham said. "Our government and our Acadian and francophone communities are very proud of their membership in the international Francophonie, and we are excited about taking part in this summit."
The summit is a conference of heads of state and government of countries that have French as a common language and are members of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF). The priorities of the Francophonie are established at the summit, which is held every two years.
The four issues on the agenda for the Quebec City summit are democracy and rule of law; economic governance and solidarity; environment (water management and forest management); and the French language.
These issues will be discussed during thematic sessions and round tables in which the members of the New Brunswick delegation will participate. Provincial experts have been consulted to prepare New Brunswick's positions on these issues.
In addition to the official deliberations, New Brunswick will take part in bilateral meetings with developing countries. On Sunday, Oct. 19, Graham will host the Secretary-General of the OIF, Abdou Diouf, and the heads of state for a breakfast at which New Brunswick products will be served.
The province is also organizing some activities associated with the summit. On Thursday, Oct. 16, a show entitled Passion Francophonie will be presented at the Palais Montcalm theatre in Quebec City. This major cultural event is being organized by New Brunswick in co-operation with the OIF and the Government of Canada. It will feature artists from members of the Francophonie such as Madagascar, France, and Vietnam, Canada, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
The New Brunswick performers will be Pascal Lejeune, Dominique Dupuis, Mélanie LeBlanc, Denis Hachey, Christian Boulay, Isabelle Pelletier, Jac Gautreau, and Emmanuelle Chapados.
One of New Brunswick's three priority areas of involvement in the Francophonie is youth, and in keeping with that priority, New Brunswick is supporting the Forum sur la participation citoyenne des jeunes en Francophonie (youth forum on citizen participation), whose theme is Pour la pérennité de nos idéaux (keeping our ideals alive).
A joint initiative of the Fédération des jeunes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick; the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française; the youth unit in Moncton; and the Conseil international des jeunes francophones, this forum will give young people from Canada and around the world a chance to discuss summit issues.
"New Brunswick is an important partner in the initiatives and activities of the Francophonie," the Premier added. "Our participation in this summit and in the OIF in general gives us some excellent opportunities to promote our expertise, share our knowledge, and build a better world."
The summit will be preceded by the 24th Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie, scheduled for Oct. 15 - 16. Hédard Albert, minister of wellness, culture and sport as well as minister responsible for the Francophonie, will lead the New Brunswick delegation.
Education Minister Kelly Lamrock will present the outcomes of the Conference of Ministers of Education that took place in Caraquet in June.
The first Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Francophonie was held in Paris in 1986. New Brunswick hosted the eighth summit in Moncton in 1999. This 12th summit will be attended by representatives of the 55 member states and governments of the OIF and the 13 observer states.
MEDIA CONTACT: Gisèle Regimbal, communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, 506-444-4594.