Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Monday welcomed rector of the University Agency of la Francophonie (AUF) Slim Khalbous, at the ministry's headquarters, reconfirming Romania's attachment to the promotion of la Francophonie including by organising in Bucharest, September 21-24 in a hybrid format the 18th meeting of the General Assembly of AUF, amidst AUF's 60th anniversary this year.
According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE), Romania's Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu, president of AUF, also attended the meeting.
"The head of Romanian diplomacy voiced full support for the preparation of the AUF General Assembly meeting, saying that it represents a reconfirmation of the important role that Romania plays inside the International Organisation of La Francophonie. In the same context, he underscored the importance of promoting international university and scientific co-operation in an international francophone setting, underlining Romania's interest in expanding partnerships," the MAE statement reads, Agerpres informs.
Aurescu mentioned Romania's main contributions and activities inside La Francophonie, including a successful Eugen Ionescu programme of doctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships funded by MAE and organised together with AUF and Romanian universities.
He welcomed Romania's recent election, for a new four-year term, as a member of the AUF Board of Directors.
The rector of AUF thanked Romania for hosting the General Assembly meeting in Bucharest and voiced optimism about the outcome of the meeting.
"He emphasised the important role of Romania in the association and highlighted the desire to maximise the collaboration potential of AUF by expanding co-operation with Romania, unveiling the initiative of organising a workshop dedicated to Romania's multidimensional role on the Francophone segments. He pointed out that Romania's success in accessing the Board of Directors of AUF is the result of the consistency and the very good image that our Romania enjoys inside this body, voicing openness to further support Romania's bids for positions of representation in this forum," according to MAE.
Romania has hosted, since 1994, the headquarters of the University Agency of La Francophonie for Central and Eastern Europe (AUF-ECO) that covers 17 countries in the region. AUF-ECO collaborates closely with MAE, with other Romanian public institutions and with representatives of academia and civil society for the development of francophone projects of national and regional interest. Romania ranks third in the world (after France and Algeria) in terms of the number of AUF member universities.
The Francophone University Agency was founded in 1961 in Montreal, Canada, as a multilateral institution that supports co-operation and solidarity among French-speaking universities and promotes the development of higher education and research. It brings together universities, academic networks and scientific research centers that use the French language. With a network of 1,007 members in 119 countries, it is one of the largest associations of higher education and research bodies in the world.