Let’s celebrate the Mois de la francophonie

International and Francophonie
Mois de la Francophonie
Gisèle Yasmeen, Yves Y. Pelletier
At the University of Ottawa, we speak French in the plural.

Proud of our history and our mission, the University of Ottawa shines like a cultural and linguistic beacon. There’s no doubt when it comes to our support for the vitality and growth of French in a minority setting.

We’re thrilled to  be known for having the most programs in French and the most francophone students in a minority setting in Canada. Let’s take advantage of this special moment to celebrate the long road taken by our university. After all, our francophone founders and their successors have enabled us to have a part in the survival of French-language education. Our francophone nature is of inestimable value and key to the identity of our extended family, in teaching and scholarly research as much as in our culture of co-existence.

Coming from every region of Canada as well as over 80 countries, our 15,000 students enrolled this year in French-language programs make up one of the most diverse French-speaking communities in the country.

Overall, the 69.9% of this community from Canada fully reflects our country’s diversity.

Our students from Ontario (44.4%) come mainly from Ottawa and the east of the province, but also from Toronto, Timmins, Sudbury, Fauquier, Windsor, Cornwall, Sturgeon Falls, Kingston, London, North Bay and neighbouring regions.

Those from Quebec (22.4%) come mostly from Gatineau and the Outaouais, but also from Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Rouyn-Noranda, Trois-Rivières, Granby, Drummondville, Val-d’Or and elsewhere in the province.

Several hundred francophones from the rest of Canada — including from Fredericton, Moncton, Edmundston and Campbellton ( New Brunswick), Winnipeg (Manitoba), Edmonton and Calgary (Alberta), and other regions of our beautiful country — add to our plural voices.

This diversity, rooted in the past that made us, is even richer thanks to our non-Canadian students (30.1%), of which 23.5% come from Africa, 2.8% from Europe, 1.8% from Asia, 1.3% from South America and the Caribbean and 0.5% from North America (excluding Canada).

French at uOttawa is also spoken in the plural because of its many voices, accents and cultures, and its rich variety of linguistic expressions.

This diversity makes for our collective strength, because it allows us to explore new perspectives, share different experiences and forge links across continents. It’s thus key to our university’s renewal, building on our basic values of supporting the growth of the French language and promoting a bilingualism that brings us together.

Embracing the plural in our French-speaking community and our University’s proud francophone legacy, we celebrate the creativity, local traditions and multiple ways to understand the French language. Each accent, each regional nuance, each colourful expression helps shape our common heritage. This linguistic wealth reflects our ability to evolve and adapt, while preserving our francophone identity.

Encouraging French in the plural, rooted in our values and our history, we also promote solidarity among nations. Together, we’re stronger as we face the challenges of the modern world, whether economic, social or environmental. We’re united by a language, but also by our commitment to the values of peace, diversity and intercultural dialogue.

This being the case, the provision of academic programs in French remains a priority for uOttawa, in keeping with the mission conferred upon us through our enabling statute. This mission remains key to all measures taken by our university, which over its 175 years, has always been there to educate the many members of this pluralistic community.

We wish our wonderful, diverse community a great Mois de la Francophonie!

Yves Y. Pelletier, Associate Vice-President, Francophonie

Gisèle Yasmeen, Associate Vice-President, International