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University welcomes French Ambassador

The French Ambassador at the reception held in his honour at Royal Fort House

The French Ambassador at the reception held in his honour at Royal Fort House

16 March 2012

The French Ambassador to Great Britain, His Excellency, Monsieur Bernard EmiƩ, was a distinguished visitor to the University this week, meeting staff and students from across the faculties.

Hosted by the Department of French, the visit was a rare opportunity for academic colleagues, senior administrators and students to hear directly from the Ambassador about higher education projects and policies as these affect our two countries.

Following an official welcome by Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Lieven hosted in the elegant setting of Royal Fort House, the Ambassador met with colleagues from the Departments of French, Russian, Classics, the School of Mathematics, the Faculty of Engineering and the Medical School. There followed a lecture by the Ambassador which drew a capacity audience of students of French and Politics. Chaired by Professor Gino Raymond, Professor of Modern French Studies, the session was entitled 'France, Britain, the EU and the World. Conversation with Bernard Emié, French Ambasssador to the UK'. The Ambassador stressed the signal achievements and the relevance of co-operation between France and the UK, and encouraged 'Euro-optimism' (as a counter to constraining Euro-scepticism). In this context he highlighted the significance of the modern foreign languages taught at Bristol (French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian) as crucial to the participation of UK graduates in European affairs and to their potential influence in shaping the future. Following his lecture Ambassador Emié engaged in a lively question-and-answer session where the audience sought his views on the forthcoming Presidential election, nuclear energy, environmental policy, and European Union issues and global political questions.

A career diplomat and a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), Ambassador Emié presented his letters of credence to the Queen in April 2011, , having previously represented France as its Ambassador in Jordan, the Lebanon and Turkey.

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