By Ferry de Kerckhove
Nowadays, in a world where borders are increasingly disappearing, an education sector that does not take a global perspective would quickly suffer from its self-limiting mind set. The internationalization of knowledge as well as exchanges, reflections, publications and experiences of an international nature are no longer a choice for universities but rather are necessary to ensure their development and relevance, both locally and internationally.
On May 9, the University of Ottawa hosted a unique conference on the political dimension of La Francophonie and, more specifically, on possible interventions La Francophonie can take in the area of conflict prevention and human security. The goal of this conference, which follows from the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie held in St. Boniface, Manitoba, in 2006, was to revisit the lessons learned in St. Boniface within the profoundly different international context of our contemporary world.
The University of Ottawa was without question the location of choice for this event, not only because of its strength in the area of bilingualism and the number of students from all walks of life of La Francophonie but also because of the University’s vast number of collaborations and partnerships with members of this same community. The University’s credibility has been built on its international reputation, particularly in La Francophonie —whether in Africa, Asia, America or Europe— with partners who share its commitment to cultural diversity.
This conference complements the University’s many educational events and internationally focused activities and joint projects, such as a recent expert roundtable on Canada and the United Nations Security Council, among many others.
An initiative of University of Ottawa President Jacques Frémont, this event was held in collaboration with the International Organisation of La Francophonie, based in Paris, and with the support of Global Affairs Canada. At a time when the Francophone world must fight to maintain its influence, the University of Ottawa remains firmly committed to this shared assertion of our values. This conference is but one example of this declaration.
Francophonie, Conflict Prevention and Human Security
May 9,10 & 11 2018
A former personal representative of the Prime Minister of Canada for La Francophonie, Ferry de Kerckhove is an honorary senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He will host the opening ceremony of the conference and participate in discussions and reflections.