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16 Indian students receive new French scholarship

by Malini Sen


The Franco-Indian Education Trust, aimed at increasing student and expert exchanges between India and France, got a boost with a 25-lakh donation. The Trust is a joint initiative of the Embassy of France in India and Prshant K Lahoti, managing trustee of Krishnakriti Foundation and co-founder of Kalakriti India.

The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, felicitated the first batch of students who were awarded scholarships by the Trust, in Delhi last month (August 2018). The scholars are about to leave for France for the upcoming academic year, September-October 2018.

The donation from entrepreneur Gun Nidhi Dalmia was used to set up a special scholarship under the Trust and named after his deceased daughter, Amba Dalmia. The scholarship will be awarded to Indian women applicants pursuing their studies in music, theatre, sports, arts, cinema, ballet, opera, philosophy, painting or photography in France.

Out of 16 fellows, four have received scholarships under the Amba Dalmia programme. The scholars will pursue programmes at various institutions such as Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq (acting), Institut Paul Bocuse (gastronomy), Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (design), and so on.

Recipient Debarati Sikder said: “There was no way I could pay for my tuitions. The Trust and Amba Dalmia made my dream come true to pursue theatre and I am going to the Jacques Lecoq school, known for its methods in physical theatre and movement.”

The other 12 scholars were granted scholarships under French major Legrand Group’s CSR initiative to promote higher education in France among Indian students, particularly in management and engineering. The students were selected on the basis of social and economic criteria in addition to academic excellence.

The fellowship from the Legrand Group, global specialist for electrical and digital infrastructure, is the first corporate contribution to the Franco-Indian Education Trust, while Dr Gun Nidhi Dalmia’s funding is the first individual donation to it.

Ambassador Ziegler said, “During his India visit, French President Emmanuel Macron had reiterated France’s aim of having at least 10,000 Indian students pursuing their higher education in France’s globally renowned institutions by 2020. The first batch of 16 awardees going to France thanks to Dr Dalmia’s donation and the Legrand Group’s funding shows that private and corporate entities are stepping forward to enhance mobility between France and India.”

France ranks third   globally   among   countries   welcoming   the   highest number   of   foreign   students, yet has only 5,000 students from India. The French government currently invests 1 million euros (Rs 7 crores) in over 500 scholarships per year in India. The Trust aims to double the number of scholarships that France gives every year to students from India.

There is no   administrative   costs   to   ensure   that   the   full   benefit   of donations   go   to   the   scholarship   awardees,   who   will   be   selected   through   calls   for projects. The selection process is conducted by the Institut Français India (the French Embassy’s cultural and co-operation wing) based on academic excellence, as well   as   the   coherence   and   quality   of   the   projects.  The   final   candidates   will   be selected by the managing committee of the Trust. Candidates’ knowledge of French would be an asset but is not mandatory.

The Franco-Indian Education Trust is offering four other types of programmes apart from   the   Amba   Dalmia   scholarship; they include Masters,    PhD,   internship   and   short-term programmes (2-3 weeks) for scientists and young professionals.

Commending the sponsorship, founder-trustee Prshant Lahoti said, “I am delighted to see the Franco-Indian Education Trust coming alive with this first batch of students. Thanks to the first contributions from Dr Dalmia and the Legrand Group, the destiny of these 16 students will be changed. Helping Indian students aspiring to study in France’s excellent institutions has long been close to my heart. Through student scholarships and support of exchange of professors and researchers, the Trust will create ambassadors who will strengthen ties between both countries.”





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