France and the Philippines sign agreement on academic cooperation

On the occasion of the first official visit by a French head of state to the Philippines, President François Hollande invited a delegation of ten French universities to facilitate the development of academic partnerships and joint programs between France and the Philippines.

26-27 February 2015

Manila, Philippines 

The two-day visit although short, was productive. The French delegation had the opportunity to visit some universities and institutions in Metro Manila where they spoke to researchers and learned about potential cooperation projects. At Malacañang Palace, they witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Franco-Philippine cooperation in the area of higher education and research by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius and the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto Del Rosario. The agreement aims to provide a framework that would increase student mobility between the two countries, specifically in identified priority fields of cooperation linked with climate change mitigation (sustainable development, environmental sciences, modelling natural hazards) and other disciplines such as biodiversity, biotechnology, renewable energy, humanities and social sciences, political sciences and public administration, and heritage conservation, among others. It also aspires to encourage other forms of academic cooperation such as the recognition of degrees and diplomas, joint international thesis supervision and scientific collaborations through exchanges of researchers, joint scientific seminars and research projects.

Another highlight was the participation in the first-ever Forum on Franco-Philippine Academic Cooperation by the French university delegation and representatives from several Filipino universities. Key speakers from both sides shared their knowledge and thoughts on the latest reforms in the two countries’ higher education systems, the progress of existing cooperations, as well as the exploration of new opportunities within the framework of the said agreement. Short bilateral meetings facilitated by the Embassy of France gave way to more focused discussions between the two university delegations.

Headed by Manuelle Franck, Chairperson of the delegation of French Universities and President of INALCO; the French institutions present were the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Université Catholique de Lille, Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse 3, Sciences Po Paris, IAE Montpellier, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, Université Blaise Pascal-Clermont 2, and the Association des IUT. Dr. Minella Alarcon, Commissioner on Higher Education, headed the Philippine participants which included representatives from the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, De La Salle University, the Development Academy of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines System, Diliman and Los Baños, Bicol University, the University of San Carlos, the University of Saint Louis Baguio, the University of Santo Tomas, and Xavier University.

Photograph with President François Hollande c/o Christelle Alix of the Élysée Palace