Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc opens a workshop in Hanoi on November 16 to mark the 20th anniversary of the seventh Francophone Summit hosted by Vietnam in 1997. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A workshop took place in Hanoi on November 16 to mark the 20th anniversary of the seventh Francophone Summit hosted by Vietnam in 1997.

The event was jointly organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, the Department of International Organisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF) to talk about the event in memories and prospects.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc said the OIF has brought together 84 member states and governments over the past two decades, accounting for 20 percent of the global trade and 13 percent of the world’ GDP. It has made significant contribution to the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to addressing global and regional issues, such as poverty, education and healthcare, people’s standard of living, environment protection, gender equality and childcare, Ngoc noted.

The organisation has also proved its vital role in preventing and settling conflicts and political crises as well as encountering terrorism in the member states, helping maintain peace and stability in the world, he added.

The deputy minister moved on to say that cooperation within the Francophone community has given Vietnam opportunities to strengthen relations with other member states like France, Canada, Belgium and more in Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Eric-Normand Thibeault, OIF Director for Asia-Pacific, said the 1997 Francophone Summit taking place in Hanoi, Vietnam, marked an important milestone in the community’s development with the adoption of the Charter of La Francophonie and the election of the first OIF Secretary General.

He highly appreciated Vietnam’s effort to promote the Francophone activities over the past years, suggesting the country should further enhance the education of French language at universities and make policies to encourage people to use foreign languages, including French. He affirmed that the OIF will continue to accompany Vietnam in fostering language and cultural diversity and deepening economic cooperation.

Attendees discussed the growth of Francophone in Asia-Pacific after the summit in Hanoi in 1997 and its challenges in the future; Francophone and future of multilateral diplomacy; and studies of French language education and teaching in French in Asia.-VNA