The United Nations(UN)’s French Language Day is annually observed across the globe on 20th March to create awareness among the international community about the history, culture and use of the French language. The UN annually celebrates the 6 language day for the 6 official languages of the UN, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
- The day is recognised by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) as the International Day of La Francophonie.
The theme of French Language Day 2021 is “Francophone Women, Resilient Women”.
The theme is a tribute to all the women of the 88 states and governments of La Francophonie who are struggling on a daily basis particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 21st February 2010, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) announced the launch of “UN Language Days”, an initiative that aims to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.
The dates of the 6 UN language days were chosen by the Department of Public Information based on their symbolic character.
Why March 20?
i.The 20th March marks the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT).
ii.ACCT was renamed as Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie in 1998 and later renamed as International Organization of La Francophonie (French: Organisation internationale de la francophonie – OIF) in 2005.
2020 Five Continents Prize:
i.On 19th March 2021, Louise Mushikiwabo, the Secretary General of La Francophonie awarded the 2020 Five Continents Prize to Béata Umubyeyi Mairesse, for her novel “Tous tes enfants dispersés”.
ii.The special mention was awarded to Paul Kawczak for his novel “Ténèbre”.
About five continents Prize:
The award was created by OIF in 2001 to highlight literary talents reflecting the expression of cultural and editorial diversity in the French language on the five continents.
Facts about French:
i.French is the 5th most spoken language in the world following Chinese, English, Spanish and Arabic.
ii.It is also the 4th language of the internet.
iii.Around 55% of the world daily speakers of French are found in the African continent.
iv.French is recognised as the official language in 32 states and governments and in most of the international organisations.
Other UN Language Days:
- Arabic Language Day – December 8
- English Language Day – April 23
- Russian Language Day – June 6
- Spanish Language Day – October 12
- Chinese Language Day – April 20
About the United Nations(UN):
Secretary-General– Antonio Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States of America