Historic agreement to strengthen education in the Francophonie

Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
Contracts and agreements
International and francophonie

By Renée Bélec

Director of marketing and development, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute

Renee Belec
Catherine Buchanan signing a document surrounded by 4 other people.
FIPF and OLBI sign unprecedented partnership to promote the teaching of French

May 14, 2024, marked a memorable occasion in the history of education in the Francophonie. On that day, the Fédération internationale des professeurs de français (FIPF) and the University of Ottawa’s Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) ratified a historic memorandum of understanding. The agreement, designed to promote the teaching of French around the world, is the very first collaborative initiative between the FIPF and a Canadian university. It also testifies to the two organizations’ unwavering commitment to Francophone linguistic and cultural diversity.

Mutual commitment to promoting French

The ratification ceremony took place in a joyful atmosphere in the company of Associate Vice-President, Francophonie Yves Pelletier; Faculty of Arts Dean Marc Charron; OLBI Director Elena Valenzuela; and FIPF President Cynthia Eid. Many other key players involved in the promotion of French in Canada and around the world were also present for the occasion.

The memorandum of understanding between the FIPF and OLBI sets out the objectives of their collaboration, which include promoting the teaching of French by sharing information on language instruction, values in education, and practical and theoretical research. Additionally, it aims to explore and implement opportunities for collaborating on major projects and activities that support and further the teaching and learning of French around the world.

Fundamental principles

The partnership is based on guiding principles that aim to:

  • promote excellence in instruction, learning and research in French;
  • acknowledge the importance of languages, different cultures and the ability to communicate in French;
  • showcase cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity as a fundamental component of our global identity;
  • maximize opportunities for learning French.

Specific actions and future commitments

FIPF President Cynthia Eid said that the partnership is more than just a one-off endeavour. Commitments will translate into specific actions, including:

  • International visibility The FIPF will provide the OLBI with international visibility at major events, such as the 11th international conference of the Commission Afrique et Océan indien (CAOI), the 4th European conference of the FIPF and the 16th international conference of the FIPF, to be held in July 2025.
  • Sharing resources and knowledge The two organizations will work closely on developing high-quality, research-based educational resources to promote innovation and competency in the teaching of French.
  • Publication of a White Paper An international survey on the profession of teaching French will shed light on the diversity and breadth of our education community.
  • Summer university in 2025 A summer university will be held in 2025 to provide a platform to share ideas, to encourage professional development, and to create new and innovative collaborative projects.

Cynthia Eid also warmly thanked the OLBI colleagues who had an impact on her professional career. They included Aline Germain-Rutherford Richard Clément, Jérémie Séror and Catherine Buchanan, with whom she laid the foundation for this initiative at a recent convention in Brazil. Their passion for the teaching of French and their collaborative mindset have forged a kinship that extends far beyond the boundaries of their respective institutions.

Stakeholder testimonials and perspectives

The speeches at the ceremony highlighted the scope of the historic agreement.

Faculty of Arts Dean Marc Charron underscored the importance of the partnership in promoting best practices in the teaching of French. He also talked about related opportunities for strengthening professional networks and enriching research.

OLBI Director Elena Valenzuela said she was proud of the partnership and grateful to the teachers who instil a love of French and Francophone culture in their students. She also noted the benefits of French as a language of global communication, strengthening cultural and professional ties around the world.

Looking to a thriving Francophone future

By ratifying the memorandum of understanding, the FIPF and OLBI are opening up new avenues for the teaching and learning of French around the world. Together, they are committed to

promoting professional excellence, cultural diversity and Francophone solidarity, marking the start of a fruitful and promising collaboration for the future of education in the Francophonie.

Yves Pelletier, Associate Vice-President, Francophonie.
Yves Pelletier, Associate Vice-President, Francophonie.

 “By ratifying this memorandum of understanding with the Fédération internationale des professeurs de français, we are celebrating not only our commitment to promoting the French language, but also our commitment to Francophone linguistic diversity, which enriches our campuses and our communities. Together, we are opening up new avenues for cultural exchange and multilingual education, shaping a future in which the Francophonie will shine in all its glory.”

Yves Pelletier, Associate Vice-President, Francophonie.