Non ducor, duco (I am not led; I lead): The motto of the Brazilian city of São Paulo is that of every academic; it also reflects the ambition of the francophone academic community and it is why the AUF has decided to hold its 16th General Assembly from May 7-10, 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil.
The choice of Brazil and São Paulo for this general assembly is fully justified. Brazil has established its position as an emerging country and academic centre: it’s the world’s sixth largest economy (ahead of the United Kingdom), with 6% of GDP in education and ranked 13th among knowledge-producing countries, surpassing Russia in 2009. With its 6.5 million students, Brazil launched the program "Science without Borders," whose goal is to send 100,000 Brazilian students from all disciplines to receive their training abroad by 2015.
La Francophonie has a strong presence here: the AUF has 14 member universities and one branch of its Americas office is located in São Paulo. This lively megalopolis of more than 20 million inhabitants, with forests of skyscrapers alongside classical architecture, is the country’s economic and cultural heart. Its long tradition of immigration has made it a multi-faceted city that resembles its diverse population, including Italians, Japanese, Lebanese and Spanish. A city of 90 museums marked by the Família Artística Paulista, it hosts a prestigious international art biennial and is home to one of the few museums in the world devoted to a language, the Museum of the Portuguese Language. The region boasts many historical and natural sites to visit, such as the coastal beaches and coffee fazendas (plantations), large 19th-century Brazilian landholdings. Eclectic São Paulo has a mix of culinary, musical and religious traditions typical of Brazil, combined with Paulist modernism.
The 16th General Assembly is intended for rectors, presidents and directors of the AUF’s 786 member institutions, member countries of institutions of La Francophonie from China, South Africa, India, Russia and of course Brazil. Only held every four years, it’s a must-see event for those who, to various extents, study, teach and do research in French.
For this edition, university officials from 98 countries will attend four days of discussions, debates, elections and cultural discoveries in Brazil’s largest city, in the unique setting of the Latin America Memorial designed by Oscar Niemeyer. This forum will feature round tables, plenary sessions, informal meetings and recreational activities.
The program includes discussions on the academic world’s key issues: commodification and massification of higher education, university funding, professionalization of training, exchange of good governance practices, and the role of digital education. The discussions will lead to a final declaration of recommendations; La Francophonie academia will be given a voice.
To make it easier to reach and increase cooperative agreements among universities, express academic meetings will be held to allow direct discussions among the many participants. Brazilian universities, as well as universities from Latin America where the AUF has members, will be showcased.
The General Assembly is the AUF’s supreme body; it’s a unique moment in the life of the association where, as the representative of a member institution, you will have the privilege to elect a new president among your peers and sit on the AUF’s committee and board of directors. Participation in the AUF’s governing bodies is a great opportunity to influence the priorities and actions of La Francophonie academic world for the next four years. Don’t let training and research in French get left behind; strive for excellence and international recognition.
You will receive an invitation to register for this general assembly by October 15, 2012. We hope that a large number of you will participate in this important event and we look forward to experiencing our francophone diversity together in Brazil.
Read the welcome text in its entirety
Bernard Cerquiglini, Rector of the Association of Francophone Universities
Yvon Fontaine, President
“L'Assemblée générale de l'AUF sera sans doute un événement exceptionnel dans la vie de la grande famille de la Francophonie. Le choix du continent américain et du Brésil en particulier pour tenir cette importante réunion prouve que l'adhésion aux valeurs et principes défendus par la Francophonie revêt, incontestablement, un caractère universel qui va au-delà des considérations géographiques ...”