On 22 October, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Clément Duhaime, Administrator of the International Organization of la Francophonie, signed a cooperation agreement between the Government of Lithuania and the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) on the French language teaching in Lithuania’s diplomatic and civil service.
The Minister stressed that the first international agreement between the Government of Lithuania and OIF demonstrated that the ties between Lithuania and French-speaking countries were strengthening.
“Based on this cooperation agreement, the OIF will help Lithuanian diplomats and civil servants to get better prepared for Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” Ažubalis said.
Following this agreement, next year the OIF plans to allocate approximately 80 thousand euros for teaching the French language to Lithuanian diplomats and civil servants and for building other competencies.
These skills will be of great importance for Lithuania during its Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2013, because French is the European Union’s second most important working language after English.
After the signing ceremony, head of the Lithuanian diplomacy presented Duhaime a gift on behalf of the Government – a picture by painter Vidmantas Ilčiukas.
“We would wish not only to improve the French language skills and cultural awareness in Lithuania, but also to acquaint member states of the International Organization of la Francophonie with Lithuania,” Ažubalis said.
The International Organisation of La Francophonie brings together about 870 million French speakers and French culture lovers from 75 countries around the world. Lithuania has been an observer member of the organization since 1999.