The International Education and Partnerships (IEP) Directorate at the Durban University of Technology in collaboration with the French Embassy hosted the French Day celebrations on Tuesday, 07 August 2018.
The event which aimed to strengthen the existing educational partnerships between the two countries, was held at the DUT Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus and had key discussions on possible partnerships, also providing students with information relating to scholarship opportunities available in France.
In his welcome address, the Director for DUT International Office and Partnerships, Dr Lavern Samuels highlighted the existing partnerships between the two countries and further classified Durban as the best city to partner with France due to its ranking status among other South African cities.
“French Day highlights our partnership with France, our academic inauguration with universities in France, our work with the Alliance Française de Durban, our sister cities project with France and other projects which I might have forgotten that we do with the French government,” said Dr Samuels.
“For the last four years, Durban has been ranked by the Mercer Quality Survey as the most liveable city in South Africa and for me that says a lot about this city, it says a lot about the quality of life in the city and the attraction that the city has,” he added.
The Head of International and Governance Relations at eThekwini Municipality, Eric Apelgren, encouraged students to learn the French language, saying it will make them competitive to whatever they do.
“French is spoken by over 200 million people worldwide and half of our continent speaks French. So it is very important that we at least make an effort to learn this language. In addition, the French government supports a number of exchange programmes here in Durban,” said Apelgren.
During the event, Kwanele Kunene, who will be jetting off to France this September for her PhD studies in Nanotechnology at the University of Montpellier, gave a testimony of her application.
“I began applying for the French Embassy Scholarship in November 2017. It was complicated, more than I had expected, but I had the support of Cécile Garçon (International Relations and Social Cohesion Project Officer; Existing Partnerships between France universities and DUT), who helped me during the application since most of the information which came through was written in French,” said Kunene.
In his address during the scientific delegation session, the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment Executive Dean, Professor Theo Andrew, spoke highly of France’s education system.
“The Education system in France is an example of what we strive for in South Africa. Education is essentially free in France; it is the kind of system that promotes higher education,” he said.
Throughout the celebrations, guests were entertained with music and dance performances from the Intercultural Studies students (IsiZulu traditional dance) and groups such as the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and DUT choir.
Pictured: Intercultural Studies students performing IsiZulu Traditional Dance at the French Day Celebrations held at DUT Fred Crookes Sports Centre.