Flinders visit boosts French ties

A delegation from the Conseil régional de Bretagne (Regional Council of Brittany) visited Flinders on 14 February 2019, as collaboration intensifies between the University and the economically significant French region.

The occasion marked the first official visit to South Australia for Mr Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Regional Council of Brittany, who was a guest of the South Australian government. During his visit he was signatory to two Memorandum of Understandings that will foster stronger cultural, academic and economic relationships between the SA Government and the Brittany region, with a focus on increasing cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training.

Mr Bernard Pouliquen, Vice President for Higher Education, Research and Digital Transition for the Brittany Council, attended a working lunch at Flinders during the visit to explore further opportunities to strengthen the SA-Brittany sister relationship under the new MoU. Discussions focused on further growing the opportunities for student and staff mobility, and exploring collaborative projects between Flinders and the region.

The delegation, hosted by Flinders’ Vice-President and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Sebastian Raneskold, was joined by Mr Pascal Pinot, who is President of ENSTA Bretagne; Professor Gilles Coppin, who is Director of Lab-STICC, IMT Atlantique; and Mr Nicolas Duhaut who is the Higher Education Attaché, Embassy of France in Australia. Mr Pinot was signatory to last week’s partnership agreement between Naval Group, ENSTA Bretagne and Flinders, and  ENSTA Bretagne is currently hosting three Flinders students as part of the Nicolas Baudin Internships in France Initiative (the students will undertake a six month internship with Naval Group and Thales and Lab-STICC).

Dr Christèle Maizonniaux of Flinders College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, shared an update to the guests on a collaborative research project supported by the South Australian government’s Bretagne Scholarships, which explores the historical and literary relationship between Australia and France during early European exploration of the Pacific.

A gift of an Indigenous artwork representing a Dreamtime story was presented to Mr Poullquen on the visit, and Flinders was grateful to receive a gift from the delegation of a steel artwork depicting Port-la-Forêt, a marina in Brittany.

Brittany is the fifth leading region in France for economic wealth, and home to organisations and institutions focused on new technologies, agriculture and marine science, including shipbuilding company Naval Group, the Australian government’s international partner on the $50 billion Future Submarine Program.

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