Ambassador hosts 2019 batch of Club Young Leaders India-France
H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, hosts 2019 batch of Club Young Leaders India-France - 13 talented young Indians embodying the future of the Indo-French relationship.
New Delhi, 6 March 2019
The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, today hosted the second batch of the Club Young Leaders India-France, launched by French President Emmanuel Macron during his State visit to India, exactly a year ago.
For the second year, the Club will bring together thirteen outstanding individuals aged between 20 and 40 years, from various parts of the country, who have proved themselves in their respective fields, such as digital affairs, business, cuisine, journalism, architecture, services industry, research.
The 2019 batch includes, among others: Sridevi Raghavan, founder of Amelio, a centre providing support to pregnant women who are professionally active; Rohan Ganapathy, who works on innovative solutions for rocket propulsion systems; Priyam Chatterjee, a France-trained chef known for his experimental cuisine restaurant in Delhi; Ananta Ganjoo, an architect who has worked on leading urbanization and community regeneration projects; Ritesh Agarwal, who launched the Oyo Rooms hotel aggregator network; Apar Gupta, a lawyer and co-founder of Internet Freedom Foundation.
Congratulating the new batch, H. E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, said, “They were chosen to be a part of this Club because they are the future of India – a country we love dearly – and the future of the Indo-French bilateral relationship. We believe France can be a partner in the development and spread of Indian talents. India and France are two pluralist, liberal democracies – which is also what lies behind our choice of India. Our countries share a number of common traits, which makes our peoples’ exchanges simple, natural and warm. I’m sure that the 2018 batch of Club Young Leaders India-France, which went to France last autumn, will be able to vouch for this!”
The 2019 batch will be invited to Paris for a week-long visit in October. Their programme, which will be drawn up by the Embassy of France in India along with Campus France, will not only include collective meetings, but also individual ones tailored according to the Young Leaders’ areas of interest.
Last October, the 2018 batch was invited to the Elysée Palace, where they were received by H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. They also held discussions with young French parliamentarians. The 2018 Young Leaders’ experience in Paris ranged from researchers from Institut Pasteur, designers at the iconic Hermès manufacturing workshops, to makers of FabLabs of Station F (the biggest startup campus in the world).
The personalised programme endeavours to concretely foster synergies and exchanges between the chosen thirteen Indian Young Leaders and leading French professionals, as our two countries stand to gain by increasing mutual understanding. The programme also aims to create a gateway to France and Europe.
The Club Young Leaders India-France programme is spearheaded by the Embassy of France in India. The Club’s study trip in France is organised by Campus France and financed by the following companies: EDF, SNCF, Total, Dassault, Naval Groupe, Thales, Vicat.
The Embassy and its Consulates General gives preferential treatment to Young Leaders in various matters, such as follow-up on their projects by the competent departments of Team France in India, such as Business France, the Institut Français, the Regional Economic Service, and the French Development Agency (AFD).
Dear Young Leaders,
It is such a delight to have you this evening at the Residence of France. This house is yours. You embody the future of France and India’s bilateral relations, and it’s a true pleasure to see you all gathered here.
About a year ago, the President of the French Republic was preparing for his trip to India. I won’t be revealing any sensational State secrets this evening, because I know that there are journalists in this room. What I can tell you, though, is that he asked us to focus on the youth. For him, this was as much a highlight of his visit as the strengthening our strategic partnership.
You already know the reason: India’s brilliant and dynamic youth.
Our two countries know about each other, but we could do better. And we have done better. Thanks to Claire – whom I wish to thank here – who took the initiative of forming this Club.
You are young. You are leaders in your respective domains. And you have been selected to be part of this Club because you are the future of India, a country that we love so much.
If you are here this evening, it’s because we feel that France can be a partner for you to develop and spread your talents.
There is no dearth of areas of specialization: from energy to gastronomy, space to e-mobility, women’s rights to social architecture and journalism, we believe that each one of you can find peers and partners in France, who would enrich your project and make this an ambassador of Indo-French friendship.
As a Young Leader, the Embassy and its Consulates General give you preferential treatment. Be it for visa issuance, or follow-up on your projects by the competent departments – Business France, the Institut Français, the Regional Economic Service or the French Development Agency (AFD) – all your contacts are here this evening. And Team France will always be there by your side.
I often speak of values that are common to us and which are the foundation of the Indo-French friendship. India and France are two pluralist, liberal democracies. In today’s world, this is quite rare, and this is also what lies behind our choice of India.
We expressed this choice quite unequivocally once again last week. If we call on Pakistan to act against terrorist groups operating from its soil, if we are sparing no effort to get the UN Security Council to punish the perpetrators of these terrible attacks on Indian soil, it is because we share this solidarity with India in adversity that only two longstanding partners, who ardently attach the same importance to strategic independence, can have.
Our bilateral strategic partnership, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is both the framework and the symbol of the fact that our two countries have always stood by each other. In good times (it’s relatively simpler) as well as in tougher times.
It was no coincidence that President Emmanuel Macron wished to conclude his official visit with a town hall with our Young Leaders at Bikaner House. It’s because the Indo-French relationship is geared to the future.
First, because we work together to resolve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. I’ll just offer two examples about which you are well aware:
- The 1st challenge is climate change: France and India, which spearheaded the success of the Paris Climate Conference, are today working hand in hand globally to make the International Solar Alliance a success. Right here in India, Team France (the Embassy and French companies) are proactively working alongside Indian authorities on models for a sustainable world tomorrow that is not on the road to ruin: to create smart cities, develop sustainable transport, invest in the energy sources of the future.
- The 2nd challenge is the digital world and artificial intelligence. These are crucial subjects that will be on the agenda of the G7 Summit in Biarritz in August, at which President Macron has decided to invite India.
The Indo-French partnership also draws on something that helps it unblinkingly contemplate the future: it’s the mutual attraction of our peoples, which has led so many great French artists and novelists to India, and so many Indian artists to France for decades.
In these characteristics that draw us together, some are more anecdotal, but they form the very essence of the deeply human fount of our relations: examples that come to mind are our love of cinema, our passion for gastronomy, and perhaps first and foremost, our shared taste for humour and satire. These common traits make exchanges between our peoples simple and natural. Those of you here who were in Paris last autumn must have felt it.
The numbers don’t lie either, and are a sign that the alchemy is working well: in 5 years, i.e. between 2013 and 2018, visa applications for France recorded a 180% jump, with a rise of 50% in student visas last year. We are on course to achieve our target of attracting 10,000 Indian students annually to France by 2020, a goal that was set by President Macron during his State visit.
Dear Young Leaders, thank you for your presence this evening.
Those who travelled to Paris last autumn can chat with the incoming batch on the people they met in France, offer advice for your trip and share their ambitions.
I am thrilled to meet those who will be leaving this autumn so that I may learn more about their expectations, ambitions and desires.
Before concluding, I would like to warmly thank our sponsors, who chose and continue choosing India and its youth: Naval Group, Dassault, Thalès, Total, EDF and SNCF. Sincere thanks to Vicat, which is the first company to have joined their ranks in 2019!