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Fedactio Says No to Racism!

On Sunday 24 March, Fedactio took part to the national demonstration against racism. The march mobilized more than 4000 people and dozens of organizations. 

All together, they walked for a world without racism, without discrimination. Racism is a daily reality. We cannot minimize or deny what constitutes a breeding ground in which racism keeps prospering. That is why we need to keep talking about this issue. Start the conversation. Do not tacitly dismiss racism. Let your opinion be heard! 
In addition, the demonstration was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of the recent attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. Unfortunately, that was not an isolated case. Other overwhelming incidents are also expressions of racism, which is deeply rooted in our society. 
There is an urgent need to take effective action against racism and discrimination at all levels. We are all convinced that, as civil society, we must contribute to a fairer and more inclusive society where everyone feels at home.

On the occasion of World Poetry Day, Fedactio celebrates rhymes and verses, unexpected tools of social cohesion

Today, on the occasion of World Poetry Day, Fedactio wishes to highlight this universal art, studied from an early age, which combines both the delicacy of a language and the dramas of our society. 

In ancient Greece, the Greeks already considered the poet as a creator, capable of developing the language while suggesting strong emotions through verses. In Italy, in the Middle Ages, it was Dante Alighieri, the poet who was nicknamed "the father of the Italian language" who left his mark forever on world literature thanks to his Divine Comedy. Since then, poetry has occupied an important place in our society.

UNESCO launched World Poetry Day on 21 March 1999. The purpose of this day is to pay tribute to the benefits of poetry at different levels, namely linguistics, cohesion and interculturality, creativity and education. Poetry knows how to highlight the beauty of a language as well as the value and weight of words. Therefore, she combines power and delicacy and speaks to everyone. Indeed, no need for a universal language to feel the emotion of poetry. In addition, it makes it possible to preserve certain languages that are now endangered. In other words, it saves part of the world's cultural and linguistic heritage.

In Belgium, la Maison Internationale de la Poésie Arthur Haulot, a Brussels NGO that works in collaboration with the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, the Belgian Development Cooperation Department and UNESCO, is committed to the dissemination of poetry. The NGO wishes to illustrate and make poetry known to as many people as possible through her Journal des Poètes. This periodical appears every three months and contains several categories, including the one entitled "Voix Nouvelles", which promotes poets still unknown to the general public. If the promotion of new talent is important, education is also one of their priorities. The "Poètes en classe" action aims to raise awareness of poetry among teenagers and teachers in Brussels and Walloon schools. Students have the opportunity to talk with one or more poets and to learn about poetry and all its components.

Poetry not only helps to preserve the world's cultural and linguistic heritage, but also promotes international cohesion and interculturality. The fact that simple or engaged poetry is a universal art facilitates dialogue between cultures and thus diversity and openness of mind. Léopold Sédar Senghor is a perfect example. This Senegalese poet was the first President of the Republic of Senegal, the first African to take up residence at the Académie française and a disciple of Aimé Césaire and his famous concept of negritude. Léopold Sédar Senghor's engaged poetry cannot be dissociated from his political ideals, which wanted to restore Africa's splendour after long and hard years of colonization. Engaged poetry has a virtue: it has no borders. It can bring people together, work for peace, open minds and highlight the progress made by humanity.  

The educational and cultural approach of World Poetry Day goes hand in hand with the values promoted by Fedactio. Indeed, several of our platforms such as "Education" and "Social Cohesion and Dialogue" carry out actions that are perfectly in line with this approach. Fedactio is convinced that we can dream and shape a better world and that poetry is a way to achieve this. If this last one is so successful, it is because it exists in various forms. Whether written or oral, it is through this plurality that it transmits the creativity of individuals. Poetry, like other arts, allows human beings to share their creativity, their own perception of the world, but also their deepest feelings. Poets brighten our reality with their imagination, let us pay tribute to them.  

Today Is The International Day of Happiness: Are You Happy ?

On the occasion of the International Day of Happiness celebrated on March 20, Fedactio is looking at the question of the level of happiness, how it can be measured and what might increase or decrease it.

The pursuit of happiness, inherent in the human condition, has raised questions, passions, debates and struggles for thousands of years. Although everyone has their own conception of happiness, the desire to achieve it is common to all of us. The idea of establishing a happiness index as an instrument for measuring social progress comes from Bhutan, which, as early as 1972 introduced a gross national happiness index in order to replace the gross national product. Inspired by this idea, in 2012 the United Nations published the first edition of the World Happiness Report, an annual report introducing a ranking of more than 150 countries from the “happiest” to the “least happy”. To this end, citizens rate their life on a scale from 1 to 10, with "0" indicating the worst possible life and "10" indicating the best possible life. An average out of ten is calculated once their answers are collected. The institute collecting these data was able to determine that the majority of variations in well-being from one country to another can be explained by six variables, namely GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, level of social assistance, freedom of choice, generosity or the absence of corruption. The 2019 edition, published on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness, reveals that the Nordic countries remain the best performers. In fact, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands are occupying the top of the ranking while Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria are trying to compete in the top ten. Rwanda, Tanzania, Afghanistan, The Central African Republic and The Republic of South Sudan are occupying the bottom of the ranking. What about Belgium? Far from lagging behind in the ranking, Belgium is 18th, ahead of the United States (19th) or France (24rd).

How can we explain that the Nordic countries are the happiest countries over and over again?

While all the top-ranked countries have a thriving economy, wealth is far from being the main cause of their happiness. Indeed, they share some characteristics that contribute to making them happier, including a pollution-free environment, strong social relationships, good governance, a good balance between private and professional life, healthcare accessible to all and a remarkable level of freedom of speech and tolerance. Taking Iceland as an example, the country experienced an unprecedented economic recession in 2008 and its unemployment rate has been multiplied by eight. Despite this, its happiness index has not decreased thanks to the strengthening of social cohesion that this crisis caused. Thus, when it comes to happiness, the emotional takes precedence over the economic, which proves that "money cannot buy happiness".

Happiness and migration

The 2018 edition of the report also highlighted the parallels between the level of happiness of indigenous and immigrants. Actually, studies have shown that happiness lies less in cultural norms and attitudes than in the relationship to the environment and the quality of life that a country can offer. Thus, individuals migrating to a country with a higher level of happiness will tend to see their own personal happiness improve.

Happiness is a really complex concept which is hard to define. Through this article, Fedactio wanted to demonstrate that happiness can be a real measurement tool of social progress, often more relevant than a simple economic index. At this level, social cohesion is often underestimated even though it is one of the main causes of happiness. This approach is therefore part of our platform "Social Cohesion and Dialogue", which aims to stimulate dialogue and tolerance and to ensure peaceful coexistence throughout the world.

Are You Happy?
Knowing that the Belgian average is 69%, will you be the happiest Belgian citizen?

This day, March 20, let's celebrate the French language !

On the occasion of the French Language Day on March 20, Fedactio wanted to put in the spotlight our beautiful French language, a communication tool but also an incredible means of enhancing social cohesion.

On the occasion of this French Language Day dedicated to the promotion of the French language in the world, we wanted to share with you our passion for Molière's language. We often hear that English is the universal language, that Mandarin is the language of the future or that Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the world but French is far from being left behind. 5th world language in terms of the number of speakers and 4th world language on the Internet, French is the only language, other than English, to be present on each of the five continents. In addition to this, according to the 2018 report published by the IOF, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, French is an official language within 32 states and governments as well as in most international organisations. It is also taught as a mother tongue to more than 80 million people in 36 countries around the world and as a foreign language to more than 50 million people. Last but not least, French is gaining ground. Indeed, between 2014 and 2018, the number of French-speaking people had increased by 9.6% and French now numbered no less than 300 million speakers worldwide.

The IOF, ambassador of the French language in the world

The word “francophonie”, which first appeared in 1880, refers to all French-speaking people and countries where French is spoken. In 1970, the Francophonie started to be recognized at the institutional level with the creation of what we know today as the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF). Thus, French-speaking populations can rely on an institutional tool whose purpose is to promote the French language and the cooperative relations between the 88 states and governments of the IOF. On the occasion of the Hanoi Summit that took place in 1997, the organisation wrote a charter including its main goals, which are the establishment and development of democracy, the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, the intensification of the cultural dialogue between civilisations, a better living together thanks to mutual knowledge, the strengthening of solidarity through multilateral cooperation actions, and the promotion of education and training. To this end, the IOF focuses its actions on the following four main areas: promotion of the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity, promotion of peace, democracy and Human rights, support for education and development of cooperation in the service of sustainable development.

The French language, a tool to strengthen social cohesion

On the one hand, the strength of French lies in the large number of French-speakers, but on the other hand it also lies in its worldwide diffusion. Indeed, the presence of French in each of the world's continents makes it an incredible means of strengthening social cohesion. At the economic level, for example, the sharing of a common language greatly promotes trade. Thus, in 2016, the French-speaking area, i.e. all the countries in which the French language is an official language or at least is spoken by a significant number of people and is used in economic activities, produced 8.7% of the world's wealth. More generally speaking, the widespread nature of French is a major asset that makes it possible to use this common knowledge in order to promote educational, environmental and sustainable development projects, thus putting the sharing of the French language at the service of many current societal issues. For example, the 17th Summit of La Francophonie, held in Yerevan, Armenia, in 2018, brought together no fewer than 84 heads of state and government who established a 2019-2022 programme aimed at improving access to education for young girls, promoting the voluntary actions of French-speaking youth and forging partnerships with a view to sustainable development in the fight against climate change. So, the French language, which was originally only a means of communication becomes the starting point for innovative and ambitious projects that go beyond the linguistic framework and become a powerful tool for social progress and the strengthening of social relations.

As a Federation of culturally diversified associations and on the occasion of this French Language Day, Fedactio wanted to highlight the French language, but also the major role that languages can play in a more general way. Indeed, languages are not only synonym of multilingualism, but also of multiculturality, a value dear to the heart of Fedactio. We work on a daily basis to promote this multiculturality in the service of social cohesion, especially through our platform "Social Cohesion and Dialogue". We firmly believe that cultural diversity must be seen as a source of enrichment and openness to the world, a process in which the learning of foreign languages constitutes a key step. Today, we celebrate the French language, but we invite you to celebrate sign language on September 23, Arabic language on December 18, Chinese language on April 20, English and Spanish language on April 23, Russian language on June 6 as well as all the other languages spoken in the world. For today, however, Let's keep speaking French: En français... S'il vous plaît ! En français… S’il vous plaît !