French Embassy holds first-ever Alumni Day


Ambassador reiterates resolve to increase number of Pakistani students at French universities

Zubair Qureshi

The French embassy intends to continue efforts to significantly increase the number of the Pakistani students in France with more scholarships and through the strengthening of the Camps France Pakistan office whose mission is to promote studies in France.

Ambassador Nicolas Galey of France on Saturday shared a roadmap to enhance the bilateral relations particularly in higher education.

He was addressing as Chief Guest the Alumni Day organized for the first time in Pakistan. In fact, the day was being celebrated around the world to reconnect the hundreds and thousands of the people from all countries who got their higher education and professional training, or part of it, in French universities or other educational institutions, the ambassador noted with pleasure.

A large number of the French Alumni, French speaking Pakistani citizens particularly former and serving professors of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and staff of the French embassy and the Alliance Francaise had turned up to acknowledge the efforts of the Embassy’s Higher Education & Scientific Attache ,Sabine Vermillard, Cultural Attache Mounir Slimani, Campus France Officer Fabiha Aziz and their colleagues who had a day earlier held the day successfully in Karachi and were all set for Lahore.

In France, the ambassador said a special event is being hosted in Paris for three days to celebrate the Alumni Day. Thus all over the world in Paris, our embassies, cultural centres or schools, those who have studied in France recently or many years ago, will have the opportunity to meet and further to organize so they can remain in contact, between themselves and with the French diplomatic and educational networks, the ambassador further said.

He stressed that the French Alumni Pakistan was in fact Pakistanis’ platform who have attended the French universities and they can inspire the younger generation to choose those prestigious institutions to build a successful career. The relationship between Pakistan and France in higher education dates back to the early 1960s, he said, adding that recently the number of Pakistani students has declined but “we are determined to reverse this situation with the support of the Pakistani authorities.”

The efforts to enhance Pakistani students’ number at the French universities began in 2003 when the HEC launched a scholarship programme for PhDs in France. To date, 670 Pakistani alumni have benefited from this programme.

Moreover, the ambassador said the French government and the French universities fund 30 scholarships for the Pakistani students every year. In European countries, too, each year dozens of students get scholarships, he said. Only last year 170 students got scholarships to study in Europe among them 40 started Masters in France. Currently, more than 250 Pakistani students and researchers choose France on a yearly basis for a semester exchange, an internship, a short course, a full master/PhD degree, a professional training or a research study. The embassy has strengthened the Campus France Pakistan office to help students find the necessary help/information corresponding to their project among the very vast offer of higher education in France including many taught in English, he said. Towards the end, some members of Alumni shared their experience of living as well as studying in France.