Visit of the French Ambassador to Mumbai
H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India was on a visit to Mumbai to strengthen Indo-French cooperation.
French honours for actor Kalki Koechlin and CEO of Business Services - CapGemini Group, Aruna Jayanthi.
Mumbai, 22 - 23 June 2018
The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, undertook a two-day trip in Mumbai on 22-23 June 2018 to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the sustainable urban mobility, cultural, academic and corporate sectors.
On Friday, 22 June, Ambassador Ziegler started his day with a visit of the Mumbai Metro One office for an overview of the train management system as well as a hands-on experience of driving a train in the simulator room. The Mumbai Metro One Line was built with French expertise in sustainable Mass Rapid Transport Systems, involving French companies SYSTRA and Veolia Transport.
Ambassador Ziegler met Mr Saurabh Gupta, founder of Earth5R, a global social enterprise working on guiding citizens towards sustainable livelihood models. Mr Gupta was selected for the India-France Young Leaders Club, which is aimed at creating partnerships between young movers and shakers of the two countries for establishing an influential advisory network to promote bilateral action. Thereafter, Ambassador Ziegler jointly laid the foundation stone of an ultra-modern video game development studio being built under an industry-academic partnership between France’s Ubisoft, known for its interactive videogames, and India’s prestigious IIT Bombay.
In the evening, Ambassador Ziegler conferred the French distinction of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on versatile actor Kalki Koechlin, who has contributed to enhancing Indo-French ties in cinema. The honour comes in recognition of an actor engagé who has interpreted striking roles in the Indian film industry, experimented with various forms of films as well as shown an abiding commitment to important social issues.
On Saturday, 23 June, the French ambassador laid the foundation stone for a new building of the French International School of Bombay. One of the strongest entities of the French presence in India, the school offers a bilingual French-English curriculum right from kindergarten to its students who are from almost a dozen different countries. The school is open to everyone who would like to take admission there and looks forward to more Indian students joining France’s renowned education system.
Ambassador Ziegler concluded his Mumbai trip with the conferral of the prestigious French award of Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur) on Ms Aruna Jayanthi, CEO of Business Services - CapGemini Group. The award comes in acknowledgement of her vision transforming CapGemini India into a leading IT company.
The Young Leaders programme was launched during the State visit of President Emmanuel Macron in March 2018. Under this programme, an Indo-French jury selects French and Indian individuals between 30 and 40 years capable of holding a leadership position in their field and playing an important role in strengthening the relationship between France and India. They attend conferences and seminars alternately held in India and France for discussing issues of common concern and, more importantly, creating durable bonds between the people of the two countries.
Ubisoft, a leading French company producing, publishing and distributing interactive entertainment products and services worldwide, opened its first India studio in Pune in 2008. The year 2018 thus marks the 10th anniversary of Ubisoft’s presence in India. Ubisoft’s India workforce of over 800 people reflects the company’s faith in the high potential of Indian human resources. Ubisoft is working to bring talents together to contribute to the development of the Indian video gaming ecosystem.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is a French government award conferred on “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.” Some noted Indian recipients of this honour in the past include Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Shahrukh Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai, Raghu Rai, Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, Upamanyu Chatterjee, and Wendell Rodricks.
The Legion d’Honneur (the Legion of Honour), instituted in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honour.