International Organization of la Francophonie (IOF): humanist values against globalization

ADV_logo_small
Call for Applications: Deputy Editor-in-Chief of A Different View
November 24, 2017
Show all

International Organization of la Francophonie (IOF): humanist values against globalization

OIF

In a time where globalization has sadly become commonplace, standardization has inevitably become a main part of our societal, political and economic models. With this phenomenon comes a global mindset and uniformed vision of the world that is inherently erroneous.

According to Philippe Séguin, the term “globalization” entails “(…) simplified and standardized notions centered around a dominant model[1] the dominant model being the United States. As such, we might say that the American model imposed itself on the rest of the world, and everyone – or at least the major part of occidental countries – appears to be in line with it. But they should not be. According to the main focus of the International Oganization of la Francophonie (IOF[2]), through Philippe Séguin’s words, we should “refuse unifying molds, and on the contrary, (welcome) the will to cultivate cultural differences through dialogue and cooperation.[3]” We see this in the main political and societal ideas put forward by the IOF:

  • Dialogue and equality between all cultures
  • Promotion the French language
  • Encouragement of the interaction between French and other languages present in the francophone geographical area
  • General agreement with European values of liberty, democracy, of gender equality –more precisely women’s status in society – and on the universality of human rights[4]

As said by Philippe Séguin, members of the IOF are opposed to ideals ensuing from globalization: “We are against globalization, because we believe that the world is diverse and complex. We defend pluralism, respect for each and everyone’s history and culture, (as well as) brotherhood. [5]” In that sense, institutional Francophonie defies the concept of uniformity that is inherent to globalization, since it calls upon freedom and heterogeneous cohesion of all the people. In contrast, globalization sets the global market on a pedestal to the detriment of populations and their diversity.

The IOF thus offers to cultivate our differences on a global scale instead of forcing standardization upon the populations. Liberty is crucial here: we are at a liberty to say no to globalization. We are at liberty to ask for a more humane world structure. The IOF invites us to do so by opening our minds to the idea that differences are not a threat. On the contrary, sharing, understanding and using our differences will help the world shift towards a safer place.

Therefore, education is key in the matter, since populations have to be educated to the world’s diversity. Education will also help spreading key Francophone values such as the preservation of one’s voice which is a right that can – and should — transcend itself on a global level. In an interview, former head of the IOF Boutros Boutros-Ghali explains that to reach such a point, intercultural dialogue is crucial: “If diversity entails a respect for identities, it also induces that fundamental notion of dialogue and acknowledgement of the Other, which is the foundation of democracy and peace.[6]” Here, Boutros-Ghali puts out the importance of tolerance and acceptance of cultural differences. Understanding the “other” helps annihilate the doubts and fears one may feel towards the unknown.

For some, the aim of the organization is seen as unrealistic. It is certainly idealistic, but it does not mean it cannot be met. In a contemporary world where extreme interpretations of religion is used to divide people, where cultures are bound to meet as a result of massive immigration waves, a world where occidental culture is the target of extremists, is it possible to close our eyes on cultural differences? It is. But is it responsible? Let us be the generation that decides to open our eyes. Let us be the generation to build “a culture of peace.[7]

[1] « La Francophonie est une réponse à la globalisation », interview with Philippe Séguin by EL TIBI Zeina in La Francophonie et le dialogue des cultures, L’Age d’Homme, Paris, 2001, pp.149-153. P.150.

[2] https://www.francophonie.org/Welcome-to-the-International.html

[3] Op. cit., SEGUIN Philippe, « La francophonie est une réponse à la globalisation », p.150.

[4] GUILLOU Michel, Francophonie-Puissance, Ellipses, Paris, 2005.

[5] Op. cit., SEGUIN Philippe, « La francophonie est une réponse à la globalisation », p.150.

[6] BOUTROS Boutros-Ghali, « La Francophonie défend une vision humaniste du monde », in EL TIBI Zeina, La Francophonie et le dialogue des cultures, Editions L’Age d’Homme- Dar Al Moùalef, Liban, 2001. P.41.

[7] Ibidem.

Featured image: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/images/i/int-frp.gif 

Marion Valentin
Marion Valentin is a cum laude graduate from La Sorbonne, where she received her master’s degree in English. She also graduated cum laude with a master’s degree in political science from the Catholic Institute of Higher Studies. Her research interests include the role of culture in the Cold War and use of French culture to combat ideological extremism within the francophone world. A lifelong traveler, she has lived in nine countries and four continents. She currently works as a teaching and pedagogical intern at the Alliance française de Canberra in Australia.

Comments are closed.