Burlington, VT – In the spirit of promoting Francophonie Month and the cultural, economic, and political ties between France, Canada, Québec, and the State of Vermont, international dignitaries will gather for a flag raising in downtown Burlington today, March 20, 2017. The flag raising is a collaborative effort of the City of Burlington, the State of Vermont, Canada, Québec, and France — and is supported by the Alliance Française of the Lake Champlain Region (AFLCR), whose mission is to promote French language and culture, and to encourage French-speaking tourism and business relations in Burlington.
“International Francophonie Month offers our City and community an opportunity to strengthen important cultural and economic relationships with our French friends overseas and in Canada,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The Alliance Française has been a key partner in fostering these relationships, creating important cultural exchanges and dialogue. I would like to extend a special welcome to our international guests – bienvenue!”
The City of Burlington expanded its international French relationships with the formation of the Honfleur Sister City on March 21, 2012 and has nurtured that relationship with travels to Honfleur in 2012, welcoming Mayor LaMarre and his delegation from Honfleur to Burlington in 2013, followed by the first youth exchange of Boy Scouts traveling to Honfleur in 2014. Most recently a Burlington delegation, including Mayor Weinberger and his wife Stacy, visited Honfleur in June 2015 to promote and understand our respective cultures and economic development opportunities in a global and mutually rewarding way.
Local and international dignitaries gathering for the annual flag raising ceremony to show their support include: Valèry Freland, Consul General of France in Boston; Rita De Santis, Québec Provincial Ministry; Marc Jacques, Senior Political and Economic Affairs Officer with the Canadian Consulate General in Boston; Vermont Governor Phil Scott; Mayor Miro Weinberger; Ernest Pomerleau, Honorary French Consul to Vermont and host of the event; Janice Fetsch, President of the AFLCR; and Lise Veronneau, President/Chair of the Honfleur Sister City.
The event will take place today, Wednesday, March 20 at 4:00 pm in Contois Auditorium, with live French-language chansons by trad music trioVa-et-Vient and brief remarks by the local and visiting dignitaries. Following the official remarks, the Burlington Police and Fire Color Guard will lead the assembled outside to the flagpole on the Church Street side of City Hall for the formal raising of the flag. After the ceremony, the guest dignitaries will be available for interviews.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF LA FRANCOPHONIE
The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) was so named in 2005, though its predecessor agency was established on March 20, 1970. Subsequently, March 20 became the annual Francophonie Day, though observances frequently extend throughout the month of March. The OIF claims 80 member states around the world. Since its founding, the OIF has sought to promote peace and justice among its members, and to support French-speaking regions of the world through cultural, intellectual and economic exchanges. Reflecting the diversity of the francophone world, the flag of the OIF features a multi-colored circle on a white field.