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ULIP Graduation Ceremony 2022 and Alumni Celebration


On Thursday 21 July 2022, the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) held its annual graduation ceremony in the sumptuous surroundings of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Paris.

The ceremony celebrated 22 graduands from the BA in French Studies, BA in French Studies with Business, BA in French Studies with History, BA in French Studies with International Relations and MA in Urban History and Culture programmes.  In addition, this year marked the first graduating cohorts of the BA in International Politics and BA in International Politics with French with nine graduands taking part in the ceremony. Nine students achieved a Distinction in Spoken French and the event was also an opportunity to celebrate the first recipient of the Engin Isin Prize recognising the highest achieving International Politics graduate. Members of the academic procession honouring the new graduates included Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Professor Mary Stiasny OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) of the University of London, and Dr Tim Gore OBE, CEO of ULIP.

The afternoon’s celebrations began with a welcome address from the British Ambassador to France, Dame Menna Rawlings, who acknowledged the students’ incredible strength amid the context of the pandemic these past two years: “This year, at this time, of all times, you should all feel extra proud of what you have achieved against a really difficult background”

Dame Menna Rawlings discussed the graduands’ unique experience in the heart of Paris emphasizing that: “as a result, in your own way, you are already ambassadors of Franco-British relations, both beneficiaries and representatives of the ties that have bound our two countries together for centuries and the shared values and interests that we promote along each other.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Professor Wendy Thomson CBE welcomed the new graduates to the University of London’s global alumni community, and encouraged them to become a source of change, saying: “It is graduates such as you who have the skills, knowledge and experience that hold out the promise for a better future. I know this because of the determination and confidence that you have demonstrated in the achievements that we are recognising today. […] There is no one right way, and no single answer to guide you. Find strength in your convictions, and principles and values you hold dear. Be critical, be kind and stay curious.”

ULIP and the University of London were delighted to present an Honorary Doctorate of Literature to distinguished French novelist and journalist Lilia Hassaine, whose sensitive and socially-engaged writing and reporting has earned her prestigious national awards and nominations at just 30 years old.

ULIP’s Dr Joanne Brueton delivered an oration in Lilia Hassaine’s honour, and described how Lilia’s talent and journalistic voice were quickly recognised whilst working as a journalist for major French dailies, leading to a broadcaster position as cultural editor for the major French network, TF1, and then working on international affairs at TMC. Joanne Brueton then talked about Lilia’s first novel L'Œil du paon published with Gallimard in 2019 and her second novel Soleil Amer, which was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt 2021 and the Prix Interallié 2021.

In the Autumn of 2021, the University of London Institute in Paris was delighted to welcome Lilia Hassaine to discuss Soleil Amer and how it explored the themes of postcoloniality, social dislocation, migration, family trauma, renewal and solidarity. Joanne Brueton concluded that with the perspicacity of the journalist and the imagination of the novelist, Lilia Hassaine offered us remarkable stories that invite us to reflect on the world and our place in it.

After receiving the prestigious honorary degree from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Lilia Hassaine treated graduates and guests to an inspirational address discussing her own journey which had led her through an unexpected and rich path. Lilia reflected on how failure had led to finding new opportunities, and how taking risks, leaving successful jobs in the media, had helped her to continue to challenge herself. Lilia encouraged graduates to embody today’s generation of change and to allow themselves to live many lives. In the words of Oscar Wilde, Lilia concluded that “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

At the end of the ceremony, guests moved into the Residence's beautiful gardens where they were joined by graduates from 2020 and 2021 to celebrate their successes during a sunlit reception. Colleagues from the University’s Development Office were in attendance to distribute yearbooks and alumni magazines and 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 Masters at ULIP!

We look forward to keeping in touch with all our new alumni. For more information on how ULIP and the University continues to support its graduates, visit the ULIP alumni page.