Ambassador awards Palmes académiques to three British researchers in Oxford
Sylvie Bermann attends garden party at the Maison Française d’Oxford, praising its work to promote Franco-British scientific and cultural cooperation, and awarded Palmes académiques insignia to three British researchers
The Maison Française d’Oxford (MFO) held its traditional garden party on Saturday 20 June, attended by Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The Ambassador praised the MFO’s efforts to promote better understanding between the British and French people by boosting cooperation between academics and students from the two countries. Paying tribute to Michael Sheringham and his successor as head of the Oxford Committee of the Maison Française, Pro-Vice-Chancellor William James, she recalled that the MFO, traditionally focussed on human sciences, has been working to increase the potential for Franco-British cooperation in the humanities and sciences, while prioritising English and French cultural interests.
In the run-up to the referendum on the UK’s possible exit from the European Union, the Ambassador said: “We love the UK so much that we want it to continue being a part of Europe”. The MFO supports this goal as a founding member of the network The Oxford Debate of the UK in Europe (Euk@Ox) which has organised three public debates in Oxford bringing together decision makers and academics over the issue of "Brit-in".
Sylvie Bermann also awarded the insignia of the Ordre des Palmes académiques to three British professors from Oxford University. She first paid tribute to Christina Howells, a Sartre expert, praising her influence on Franco-British exchanges. She then awarded the insignia to Ann Jefferson, who has had a profound impact on the teaching of contemporary French literature in Oxford. Finally, she paid tribute to Richard Parish for being an untiring promoter of classical French culture (and wine-making) throughout his career. An expert in the Grand Siècle, he is also a connoisseur of French wines; a skill that the Ambassador was keen to point out.