The new director of the OFE wants to make people dream in French

This text is part of the special Francophonie booklet

To make the next generation dream in French by promoting the mobility of young people, this is the mission that the new director of the Observatoire de la Francophonie économique (OFE) of the University of Montreal has given himself. Portrait of Hervé Agbodjan Prince, who took office on January 9th.

As part of his new duties within the organization founded in 2017, Mr. Prince will have the mandate to strengthen the positioning of the OFE in the economic Francophonie network. “The ambition of the Observatory is to become a world reference center”, he summarizes from Paris, where he is with the aim of expanding the organization’s partnerships. The Observatory was set up in partnership with the Government of Quebec, the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).

The new director also wishes to increase exchanges between the various academic and economic actors of the Francophonie, in addition to training the next generation and playing a role in public decisions. “Over the next two years, my mandate is to strengthen our achievements. My goal is also to develop other areas, such as working on mobility within the Francophonie and increasing the sense of belonging to the Francophonie,” he predicts.

Strengthen North-South exchanges

In the context of his mandate, Mr. Prince plans to strengthen exchanges between the university milieus of the various countries of the Francophonie. “There is a desire for north-south mobility. It’s good for a Quebecer to find out what’s going on in a research center in Togo, Benin or Cameroon,” he explains.

A way to increase the feeling of pride and belonging among researchers who speak the language of Molière, believes the director of the OFE. “The young people will meet, exchange. The great danger of our time is that we don’t know each other. And when you don’t know each other, there is mutual mistrust. It’s not normal that we have to strain our ears too much to understand each other when we speak the same language. All because we’re not used to hearing each other speak,” he notes.

The main obstacle remains the precariousness of certain countries of the Francophonie, he believes. “You can’t solve all the other problems we face today if you don’t solve this essential issue of poverty,” he says.

In order to fight against this scourge, Mr. Prince hopes that the Observatory will be able to provide data to organizations in positions of power. “It is very important that we continue to become a reference in terms of producing evidence to help governments make informed decisions,” he explains.

The new director aims in particular to improve trading conditions by creating an area for the free movement of goods and people. “There must be the possibility for people to circulate in the Francophonie in order to be able to share their experiences with more experienced economic actors. And then, to be able to return home and do something for their country,” he says.

Become a role model for young people

Mr. Prince holds the Chair in Governance and International Trade Law at the University of Montreal. He also holds a doctorate in law from Laval University, a doctorate in public law from the University of Bordeaux, France, and a postgraduate degree specializing in international affairs from the École des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Paris. With his expertise in international economic law, he also wishes to bring this discipline within the Observatory. “We cannot make savings without regulating. I would like us to be able to discuss with lawyers who work on issues of regulation of economic law, to try to establish a synergy between the different disciplines, ”he says.

With his background, Mr. Prince wishes to serve as a model for future generations and bring back the pride of succeeding professionally in French. “Our young people, they want to speak English because there are more opportunities in English than in French. And that is something we want to remedy, ”hopes the director of the OFE.

The one who describes himself as “the fruit of the Francophonie” believes that there are opportunities to achieve in the language of Molière. “What concerns me is to show young people that everything is possible in the Francophonie. We can dream in Francophonie. »

This special content was produced by the Special Publications team of the Duty, relating to marketing. The drafting of Duty did not take part.

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