Launch of France Alumni South Africa [fr]
On Wednesday 15 July 2015, the Ambassador of France to South Africa, HE Elisabeth Barbier, officially launched the France Alumni platform in South Africa.
France Alumni South Africa, the first local France Alumni website in Africa, was launched during a reception held at the Alliance Française of Pretoria, in the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr. Nathi Mthethwa, and of the French Senator Mr. Robert Hue.
70 guests, representatives of the South African government, of the diplomatic corps, former scholarship holders and friends of France attended the event.
In her speech, Ambassador Barbier emphasized how important it is for France to keep in touch with foreign students who pursued their studies in France, but also with researchers and professionals who stayed in France for work.
300 000 foreign students choose France for their higher education every year, including more than 100 000 from Africa. This makes France the world’s 3rd largest host country after the United States and the United Kingdom and therefore the first non-English-speaking one. Studying in France and learning French are an invaluable asset with regards to the students’ later career, in particular in English-speaking countries like South Africa.
The Ambassador encouraged the South African Alumni to join the website and companies to become partners of France Alumni.
Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa, CEO of the National Empowerment Fund, Sorbonne alumni, Knight of the Legion of Honour since November 2011, and Ms Monhla Hlahla, business woman, former ACSA (Airport Company of South Africa) Director, INSEAD graduate, Knight of the Legion of Honour since August 2014, gave enthusiastic testimonies of their studies in France and of the impact they have had on their careers in South Africa.
M. Christof van der Merwe, who studied at Strate École de Design on a French government scholarship in 2014 and is currently working for Alstom, and Ms Lucky Kunene, French government scholarship holder 2014-2015 who just came back from France, provided some insights into their “French experience”.
French and South African companies also attended the event, and some of them already expressed their wish to become partners of the France Alumni platform.