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Grand Concert of la Francophonie in Geneva in honor of Armenia – the host of the 17th Summit of la Francophonie

13.03.2018

On March 13, the Grand Concert took place in the Assembly Hall of the Palace of Nations, the headquarters of the United Nations Office in Geneva, honoring Armenia - the host of the 17th Summit of La Francophonie.

With the joint efforts of the permanent missions of la Francophonie and the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, this francophone concert, which was associated with the International Day of la Francophonie, has been held with the exceptional participation of Charles Aznavour.

Tigran Hamasyan, world-famous jazz pianist, André Manoukian, French Armenian songwriter and pianist, Armelle Khourdoian, French Armenian opera singer, and Toumanian Mek quartet also performed at the concert.

Mr. Michael Møller, Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr. Dominique de Buman, President of the National Council of the Swiss Confederation, Ambassador Henri Monceau, Permanent Representative of la Francophonie to the UN Office in Geneva, and Mrs. Hasmik Tolmajyan, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the UN Office in Geneva, delivered welcoming speeches.

In his opening remarks Mr. Michael Møller, Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, specifically welcomed this initiative of the permanent missions of la Francophonie and Armenia.

Mr. Dominique de Buman, President of the National Council of the Swiss Confederation, quoting the lyrics from Charles Aznavour song “Take me to the wonderland”, mentioned in particular that “Aznavour’s songs are targeted at everyone without exception, and each of us has their own wonderland, which we cherish with tender. This wonderland sometimes is imaginary, sometimes real. The wonderland for Charles Aznavour is Armenia, which we welcomed in the francophone family.” Armenia is a country, continued Mr. de Buman, “where you step in once and then keep it in your heart forever.”

Hasmik Tolmajyan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN Office in Geneva, expressed in welcoming remarks her gratitude to the International Organization of la Francophonie for dedicating the grand event of la Francophonie to Armenia. She also pointed out that the decision adopted at the Antananarivo summit on holding the 17th Summit of la Francophonie in Yerevan was the reflection of the assessment of member-states of la Francophonie of Armenia's commitment to the Organization and its values. Deputy Permanent Representative underlined that the promotion of Francophonie in the Armenian society was greatly influenced by the Armenian-French centuries-old friendship, as well as warm relations established between the francophone countries, particularly those of Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.

It was also mentioned that la Francophonie is also an important platform for Armenia to strengthen cooperation with those countries with which there were no traditionally developed close relationships. At the same time, Mrs. Tolmajyan underlined that Armenia, in its turn, also contributes to the promotion of Francophonie in a region where the Organization has not been sufficiently represented. In this regard, it was recalled that Yerevan summit will be the second meeting of the Organization's supreme body to be convened in the Eastern European region.

Mr. Henri Monceau, Permanent Representative of la Francophonie to the UN Office in Geneva, when speaking about the role of Francophone in the UN, noted that la Francophonie united 84 countries on 5 continents, 54 of which were full-fledged member states. The idea at the heart of La Francophonie was to create a platform for multilateral relations, the basis of which would be French language and francophone cultural diversity.

Henri Monceau also spoke about the strategic importance of la Francophonie’s presence in Geneva, noting that the UN Office in Geneva was the only one located in a francophoe environment. The representative of la Francophonie also highlighted the mutual collaboration between the Francophonie and the UN Geneva Office in a number of programs and initiatives.

The evening provided an opportunity for holding the first award ceremony of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors. Mr. Henri Monseau noted that "the prize was aimed at rewarding a person or an institution which, through its activities, had contributed to the promotion of francophone values ​​in Geneva, namely, those ​​of democracy, the rule of law, multilingualism and cultural diversity in 2017." The first prize of Francophone Ambassadors was awarded to Mr. Michael Møller, Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Mr. Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The concert was attended by about 2000 guests, high-ranking representatives of the United Nations, Swiss Federal and Local Authorities, numerous ambassadors, as well as representatives of the Swiss Armenian community.

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Geneva City Municipality, as well as Boghossian, Philossian and Philippossian, Izmirlian Foundations, the AGBU-Switzerland Committee and other non-governmental organizations have contributed to the organization of the evening.

 

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