The Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion Jinga, was elected on Friday, January 26, 2018, by acclamation, President of the Francophone Ambassadors Group at the UN – New York. The event was held at the Permanent Mission of the International Organization of La Francophonie in New York.
It is for the first time that a Romanian Ambassador is elected in this honorable position within the UN francophone diplomatic community in New York, as a recognition of Romania’s remarkable contribution to the promotion of the Francophone values, as well as a sign of appreciation of the activity and visibility of the Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN.
The former President of the Group, the Permanent Representative of Madagascar to UN, Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo, congratulated the Permanent Representative of Romania by stating that: “this election shows the trust and the respect that Ambassador Ion Jinga enjoys among his Francophone colleagues”.
Ion Jinga thanked the Francophone Ambassadors for the trust that they granted him, evoking Romania’s long-standing attachment to the cultural space and values of La Francophonie.
Pointing out that the Francophone dimension of Romania was built for almost 250 years – French was introduced as a compulsory study discipline at the Upper School in Bucharest in 1776 and from 1830 the study of French was extended to schools in Bucharest and Iasi – Romania’s Ambassador to the UN, said: “To express yourself in French in the Romanian space has meant more than just mastering a linguistic instrument. It has been and remains the expression of adhesion to values, ideas and ideals specific to modern European nations. The intellectuals and the Romanian political elite chose French in the 19th century as a way of manifesting the freedom, modernity and belonging of the Romanian space to the Europe of the free nations. In the first half of the 20th century, Bucharest was called “Little Paris,” and a series of Romanian geniuses that belong today to universal culture, such as Constantin Brâncuşi, Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade, George Enescu or Emil Cioran, are part of the common Francophone patrimony”.
The International Organization of La Francophonie has 57 full member states, 3 associated states and 20 observer countries. Romania obtained the full membership status of OIF in 1993. In 2003, the Regional Antenna of the OIF for Central and Eastern European Countries (EEC) was established in Bucharest and was later transformed into the Regional Office of OIF for EEC in September 2014.
In 2006, Bucharest hosted the 11th La Francophonie Summit and it was for the first time that a country in Central and Eastern Europe hosted a high-level La Francophonie meeting. The theme of the event, that brought together 36 Heads of State and Government, 25 Foreign Ministers and 11 Ministers of Culture, was “Information Technologies in Education”. In 2007, the Secretary-General of the OIF nominated Romania as “beacon-state” of Francophonie in Central and Eastern Europe for its role in promoting French and francophone values in the region. There are over 10,000 French language teachers in Romania, and French is studied by almost 1.5 million Romanian students.
On 1-2 November 2017, under the auspices of the President of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized in Bucharest the Francophone Women’s Ministerial Conference, attended by more than 700 representatives from all over the world.
Romania’s affinities with the Francophone space are also reflected in the presence of Romanian military and police forces in some UN peacekeeping missions in Francophone States; also, the Romanian Gendarmerie School of Officers “Mihai Viteazul” is accredited by the UN to train police and gendarmerie officers in French. Up to now, 184 officers from 24 countries completed these courses.