The Francophonie University Association or Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie is a global network of French-speaking higher-education institutes.
The AUF has more than 880 universities and research institutions in 115 countries. It has 10 regional branches, in addition to 50 other local establishments (branches, Francophonie institutes, digital Francophone campuses).
Its regional office in the Middle East, based in Beirut, supervises the projects and activities conducted by its 75 members in 15 Middle-Eastern countries, including three universities in Palestine.
The association aims to share the French language and promote cultural cooperation between nations, as well as enhancing multilingualism and diversity.
Mechanism of Work
AUF regularly collaborates with private companies and their foundations, states and governments, national development agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and academic, scientific, and cultural associations.
The association helps its members to identify problems facing higher education and research institutions, offering high-quality training courses, allowing for various openings, developmental projects, and support systems, especially in terms of training courses, research and governance. It promotes solidarity with universities and is committed to the economic, social, and cultural development of societies; helping them overcome the challenges they face, such as low quality of training, lack of research and academic governance, professional integration and conducting development projects.
The AUF’s teams, located throughout the world, provide follow-up and advice for the design and implementation of projects; facilitate the sharing of best practices, expertise, and innovations and offer support in finding new partners.
Relations with Birzeit University
Birzeit University has been a member of the AU, and part of its network in the Middle East since 2009. The university worked with the association in organizing different projects, including an international conference on foreign languages, workshops on the experiences of language centers and universities in the Arab region, cultural and literary activities, and training seminars on cross-cultural dialogues, as well as student and faculty motilities. The AUF has also assisted faculty members in publishing their scholarly work in various scientific journals, in addition to taking part in symposiums and conference.
More specifically, the association has been working closely with the Faculty of Law and Public Administration since 2012/2013, offering research grants in France and exchange opportunities between faculty, staff, and students from Birzeit University and French universities.