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Pacific Inauguration du Pôle (16-17 mars 2011)

Discours de l'Ambassadeur de France, M. Michel Filhol (16 mars 2011)
 

Professor Ian Young, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University,
Professor Andrew MacIntyre, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific,
Professor Serge Tcherkezoff, on behalf of the President of the EHESS and in charge of the EHESS Canberra Branch,
Professors of university , Academics,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here we are today, the achievement of a year and half of strong will and the reward of what was an initiative of the Embassy. Victor Hugo said that nothing could have stopped an idea whose time has come. Well, it has to be said that the time of the opening of this EHESS branch at ANU had come. And this initiative has rapidly engaged interest from the ANU and the EHESS itself as well as from the French ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When the cooperation and cultural Councellor got the idea of the opening of a branch of EHESS here in Canberra, he discussed it with Professor Tcherkezoff. He was nicely surprised to see that the professor was not only interested but that he proposed himself to be the one to represent the branch of the EHESS. Professor Tcherkezoff has indeed matured and strong professional relationship but also friendship with lots of members from the College of Asia and the Pacific. To wit I wish to take this opportunity to salute one of them, Darrell Tryon, whose advice from the very start has been helpful and tremendously contributed to the success of this operation.

But this adventure which began with just one man, like most of them, could not be achieved without natural and potential partners adopting the idea. This is what happened : Soon as the idea has been given to the President of EHESS, he was fully convinced and he accepted to involve Professor Tcherkezoff. For his generosity, his faithfulness to this project, his forthcoming support, I thank him heartily.

The Fonds Pacifique has attributed a budget allowing this branch to work even though this one was not officially existing. As you can see, some administrators are able to take risks in the name of cooperation. I cordially thank my colleagues and friends, the Ambassador Hadelin de la Tour du Pin, Head of the Fonds Pacifique as well as Monsieur Jean-Louis Maurer, his Deputy. But nothing could not have happened without the interest, agreement and strong support form the professor Andrew Macintyre, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific. I would like to publically acknowledge my esteem and my appreciation . Without your unstinting support and your outstanding fairness, the presence of Professor Tcherkezoff would not have been possible at the ANU.

The opening of this branch should strengthen the relationship between our Anglophone and francophone researchers in regards to the Pacific region. Today, the attendance of the delegate of the French Institute for Research and development, located in Nouméa and responsible for the whole Pacific region, the attendance of our university friends from Vanuatu who gave yesterday their first seminar – this not a coincidence – and tomorrow the attendance of several diplomatic representations from the Pacific, the attendance of many members of several schools of the College of Asia and the Pacific, bear witness of the strong interest of this opening.

I said that this branch was two fold : if the first aspect is to research on the Pacific, bringing closeness between researchers, integration of French Territories in their environment, its other meaning is to participate in debates of ideas and through the latter, open up to a broad panorama. We know that in Social Sciences, the EHESS is at the top of the French intellectual landscape. I am certain that in this field, meetings with professors, researchers, students from the ANU, but also major Australian universities, will create a rich loam which will foster numerous exchanges.

Professor Young Vice-chancellor, Professor MacIntyre, Academics, ladies and gentlemen, today is for me pleasant day because it is a new step for the French-Australian cooperation concerned with the Pacific – and also because of its furthering of excellence.

I thank you


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