International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art
(CIOFF) is an international non-governmental organization. This NGO maintains formal consultative relations with UNESCO
Founded in 1970, CIOFF is present in nearly 90 countries dispatched on the five continents. It is gathering almost 250 international festivals in the world and promotes, each year, the exchange of nearly 50,000 amateur artists.
CIOFF aims at defending the cultural diversity and promoting an intercultural dialogue to serve the cause of peace and non-violence. The traditional and folk culture is at heart of the matters. And through its large net of members, CIOFF is setting different programmes of activities in favour of the safeguarding and the promotion of this heritage through its various forms of expression such as dance, music, games, rituals, customs and other arts.
In 1998, spurred on by the Director general of UNESCO Federico Mayor and thanks to the financial support of UNESCO, CIOFF extended its regional activities and starts notably its programme in Africa.
West Africa and Central Africa were first at heart of the matters. In February 1999, during the Marché des Arts et du Spectacle Africain (MASA, African Market of the Performing Arts), CIOFF net in Africa was officially launched during the meeting of Bingerville (Ivory Coast).
Currently, the programme is extended to the others African regions: Austral Africa, East Africa and the Horn of Africa.