Meet the Alumni
A Christmas reunion at the Embassy of France in India celebrates illustrious Indian professionals from the France Alumni network.
New Delhi, 20 December 2018
The Embassy of France in India organised its first Christmas get-together for members of the France Alumni India network at the Residence of France in India. The French Institute in India, the Cultural, Scientific and Educational Department of the Embassy, inviteded around twenty Indian alumni who have pursued higher education in France in recent years. The invitees come from a variety of institutions like NEOMA Business School, Sciences Po Paris, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Institut Français du Petrole (IFP), ICN Business School, INSEAD and several other schools of excellence.
The event was hosted by Mrs Claire Thuaudet, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of France, on Thursday, 20th December 2018 at the Residence of France.
Bringing the alumni together in an informal setting and over Christmas celebrations was an occasion for the Embassy to interact more closely with its illustrious members. Having benefited from the French experience, the diverse alumni, who comprise a wide gamut of professions including scientists, professors, researchers, entrepreneurs - are now pursuing successful careers in their respective fields.
The Embassy’s goal is to create a vast, active and strongly-knit network of alumni in India, who would be ambassadors of French educational excellence, culture and lifestyle. The Embassy is, thus, promoting people-to-people ties and university exchanges. 7,500 Indians chose France in 2018. This number is expected to increase to 10,000 students annually by 2020. The network will also ensure that more job opportunities are available to its members by associating itself to the nexus of over 600 French companies active in India.
The Embassy of France in India launched France Alumni, an international network, in India two years ago in New Delhi. Since then, it has been working very closely with the network and together, they have created more opportunities to expand the network and make it a dynamic, efficient platform of opportunities.
Speech by Ms Claire Thuaudet, Deputy Head of Mission
I am delighted to welcome you all to the Residence of France. For most of you, I believe, this is the first time that you have come to the reception rooms of our Embassy. As you can see, this Embassy represents our country, which is also in some measure yours.
You and I have one commonality. We have studied in France and we now live in India. You chose France. Having read your CVS, I think that this was an apt choice.
I am delighted to be able to further discuss this in detail with you.
2018 was marked by the State visit of the President of the French Republic to India. On this occasion, President Macron and Prime Minister Modi had decided to bolster student exchange between our two countries through the Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications agreement, which provides for courses pursued in France and India to be recognised by both countries.
Why has this objective been prioritised? Very simply because you embody the future of the relations between France and India. Our relations have long been viewed as a strategic relationship, most probably because France has always been by India’s side on all strategic field, be in security, space or counter-terrorism, in good times and bad. I have been here in India for two and a half years, and I can tell you, each person with whom I have interacted knows that France is a reliable and trusted partner.
For this relationship to be enduring, it must be personified in you, in us, in the people who know each other, and have lived the experience of each other’s countries.
This year, 7,500 Indian students have chosen to study in France. It represents a 50% increase from last year. And it will continue to go up. President Macron has set us a goal : we must and will reach 10,000 students annually by 2020.
You are our best mouthpiece to achieve this goal because you have studied in French institutions and through our country you have found success. So do not hesitate – go ahead and tell this to your friends and family. And, no, there is no need to speak French to study in France – though studying in France is an opportunity to learn one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world. Apart from other European countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monaco, French is also spoken in Canada and many countries of Africa, which is the continent of our future where many international companies are investing.
Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who is currently in France to celebrate Christmas with his family, often states that there are few countries in the world with which France shares the same deep understanding, based on our shared values of democracy, liberty and the rule of law. This is no mean commonality, and people-to-people interactions and university exchanges strengthen our ties, and, therefore, these values.
Among the values that we have in common, sharing is one. This includes sharing meals. And Christmas, like Diwali, is always an occasion to gather around a meal with friends and family. And that’s how we have envisioned this evening: a celebration with a special menu planned by our Residence Manager and his team, whom I warmly acknowledge. For a few hours, you will be transported back to France as you rediscover the flavours of our country.
As you would have understood, there will be more and more events like this because we are in the process of structuring the alumni network, to make it lively, useful and efficient, because that’s what young professionals like you need.
The next big event that will bring us together is the Job Fair, which will be held on 9th February 2019. The Job Fair is part of our actions to promote studies in France. Your education in France has enabled you, as alumni, to gain a French experience that can be valuable for the 600 French companies established in India. The Job Fair day, which is dedicated to France’s alumni, enables all alumni to meet French companies looking for talented people like you.
Feel free to make suggestions and proposals. We are listening to you. The IFI, in the first place, obviously, will always be open to you, but I would like you to know that so will the Embassy of France.
Thank you for having chosen France, thank you for being here tonight, and, now, let’s share a warm moment of conviviality.
French higher education system
The French higher education system, long recognised for its quality, has placed France among the top three most popular destinations in the world among international students. With its famous ‘Grandes Ecoles’ and reputed universities, its renowned management and business schools, France is at the educational heart of Europe. With 14 Fields Medals, France is a research, innovation and industrial powerhouse.
The number of Indian students going to France has risen significantly over recent years. Most of these students attend the over 1,300 courses taught in English in France, a number that is increasing every year.
An agreement between India and France allows Indian students to stay in France for two years after the completion of their academic programme to enable them to acquire professional experience. It also provides for a reciprocal arrangement for French students in India.
India and France signed and ratified an Agreement on the “Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications”, the first such agreement between India and another country. This is a great opportunity for students from both countries since both Governments will recognise their degrees.
The Embassy of France in India offered 500 scholarships to Indian students in 2017. These were granted under the flagship ‘Charpak’ programme for Master’s degrees and also via exchange semesters and research internships. French companies also offer scholarships to Indian students, including tuition fee waivers and a monthly stipend. The newly-established Franco-Indian Education Trust now provides scholarships in a variety of fields.