Graduation Ceremony in Paris 2023
On Tuesday 18 July 2023, the University of London Institute in Paris held its annual graduation ceremony in the beautiful surroundings of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Paris.
The ceremony celebrated 5 graduands from the BA in French Studies, 6 graduands from the BA in French Studies with Business, 2 graduands from the BA in French Studies with History, 15 from the BA in French Studies with International Relations, 10 graduands from the BA in International Politics, 10 graduands from the BA in International Politics with French and 7 graduands from the MA in Urban History and Culture programmes. Eleven students achieved a Distinction in Spoken French, and the event was also an opportunity to celebrate the second recipient of the Engin Isin Prize recognising the highest achieving International Politics graduate. Members of the academic procession honouring the new graduates included Professor Mary Stiasny OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor International, Learning and Teaching of the University of London, and Dr Tim Gore OBE, CEO of the Institute in Paris.
The afternoon’s celebrations began with a welcome address from Theo Rycroft CMG, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy in Paris, who highlighted the strong links between the UK and France. Starting with his own experience working in France after graduating, he then acknowledged the graduands’ unique role as ambassadors of historic Franco-British relations, bridging the gap for the continuation of a strong collaboration between the two countries.
Pro-Vice Chancellor International, Learning and Teaching of the University of London, Professor Mary Stiasny OBE, welcomed the new graduates to the University of London’s global alumni community, encouraging them to take pride in their achievements, especially amidst a different background of the pandemic. Though the state of the world can feel bleak, Professor Staisny emphasised the capacity of the graduands to use their skills, knowledge and experience to “hold out the promise for a better future.” She ultimately urged graduands to call on “strong convictions” and the “principles and values [they] hold dear” to “remake the world as [they] see fit,” for there is no limit to what can be achieved.
The University of London Institute in Paris and the University of London were delighted to present an honorary Doctor of Science to French feminist advocate and author, Anne-Cécile Mailfert, whose activism and leadership continues to drive change in the pursuit of a society that dares to be feminist.
The University of London Institute in Paris’ Dr Charlotte Legg introduced Mailfert’s experience in various organisations tackling causes such as gender inequality and violence against women, alongside the development of her own public fundraising organisation, the Fondation des Femmes, and inclusive activist hub, the Cité audacieuse. This all led, Dr Legg explained, to Mailfert being described in a recent anthology of politically engaged women as one of a group of “badasses who […] make sure their voices are heard,” with Mailfert’s work providing a place of refuge and solidarity, but also of uprising.
After receiving the prestigious honorary degree from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Anne-Cécile Mailfert treated graduates and guests to an inspirational address, discussing the importance of adapting, rebelling, learning, and imagining in the face of the major crises that society is now facing. She recalled the University of London’s status as the first university to have admitted students regardless of their gender, race or religion, and the first to admit women to degree programmes. Calling the graduands to a similarly vital “collective adventure,” Mailfert invited her audience to be bold and curious, to challenge norms, and to never stop learning. Quoting Margaret Mead, Mailfert stressed that one should “‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’"
At the end of the ceremony, guests moved into the Residence's beautiful gardens. Colleagues from the University’s Marketing and Communications team were present to record testimonials and ask the graduands about their experience; whilst the Development Office were in attendance to encourage graduates to stay connected with the university, whether they were returning to the UK for graduate employment, embarking on further study or studying a master’s at the University of London Institute in Paris!
We look forward to keeping in touch with all our new alumni. For more information on how the University of London Institute in Paris and the University continues to support its graduates, visit our alumni page.