Symposium – Making the French Connection
Thursday, 17th May 2007


Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission to Australia and New Zealand, Bruno Julien, launched the French Connections Day at RMIT University in Melbourne on Thursday, 17 May 2007.

Ambassador Julien spoke about cross-cultural exchange stating: “Cross cultural exchanges are fundamental to the growth not just of the EU but to the whole world.  This is particularly the case in a country like Australia so committed to multi-culturalism.

“The European Union is about diversity.  It is about promoting what is best in every nation and sharing this with others.  It is about reaching out to other continents to give and take with them.”

The French Connections event coordinated by RMIT University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University and La Trobe University, in conjunction with the Embassy of France and with the support of AFAS, was designed to highlight and strengthen existing relationships in the area of mobility of students, teachers and researchers between Australia and France.

Ambassador Julien spoke on France–Australia–Europe : Developing Partnerships in Higher Education.  He said “This year marks the start of the EU's Lifelong Learning Program which will run from 2007 to 2013, and its budget of nearly 7 billion euro will be used to fund projects and activities that support millions of individuals to study, train and teach abroad as well as foster interchange, cooperation and mobility between education and training institutions and systems.

“Education and training are the cement that binds societies together in the face of economic and demographic change.  Through our EU-Australia bilateral program, over 500 students have travelled across the world to undertake courses in Australian and European Universities.  Under this program, Australian universities have partnered with many institutions across Europe.  Research and education will remain a central pillar of our cooperation.  Not only do we see this as an economic imperative to ensure Europe's growth, but it is also a social imperative.”

On the France-Australia bilateral relations in education, Ambassador Julien said: “I know that France and Australia also have a wonderful co-tutelle program.  Co-tutelle students not only have their studies jointly supervised by academics from both French and Australian universities but, if successful, the students are awarded a joint or double-badge degree.”

An expanded text of the speech is available at: