March 20 is an important date for both Francophones and Francophiles, as it marks the birth of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF)—originally the Agency of Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACTC)—at the Niamey Conference in Niger, in 1970.
Some 21 countries were involved in the founding of this institution, whose members include the federal government and the governments of Quebec and New Brunswick. In addition to its language-related activities, the intergovernmental organization also promotes cultural and technical cooperation among its members.
The 1987, 1999 and 2008 summits, the 2006 Ministerial Conference and the 2001 Games of La Francophonie*—all held in Canada—clearly demonstrate the importance our country places on La Francophonie and the IOF. A number of archival documents from the collection of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are further evidence of this support. For example:
• Several philatelic records highlight the significance of La Francophonie. The collection includes 14 commemorative postage stamps created in its honour, 9 of which can currently be viewed online. One of the stamps marks the 25th anniversary of the ACTC, the first international Francophonie organization;
• The Fonds Jean-Louis Roy at LAC contains several ACTC-related records, including speeches and media clippings, administrative records and administrative correspondence. These documents must be consulted on-site, at 395 Wellington St., Ottawa.
*These are available in French only.