Preston University-French Embassy Cooperation in Higher Education
A high level meeting was held between representatives of the French Embassy in Pakistan and the top management and senior faculty members of Preston University yesterday, to tap avenues of collaboration and cooperation between French institutions and Preston University in areas of mutual interest and benefit. Eng. Ms. Sandie Favier, Attaché for Science and Technology and Dr. Olivier Bergossi, Higher Education and Scientific Attache, French Embassy, Pakistan represented the Embassy in the meeting. The meeting was presided by the Chancellor Preston University, Dr. Abdul Basit.

In her remarks on the occasion, Eng. Ms. Sandie Favier, Attache for Science and Technology, French Embassy Pakistan unfolded the possible avenues of cooperation between French institutions and Preston University, Pakistan. At the outset, she clarified that the French Embassy had no reservation whatsoever in interacting with private institutions of higher learning in Pakistan. In the area of faculty development, she said that the French Government will provide tuition fee for pursuing studies at Masters, M. Phil, and PhD level. Fellowships (covering travel and living expenses) in this area could be granted either by HEC or Preston University itself, she maintained. Ms. Sandie said that two PhD’s from Preston University could possibly be sponsored in 2011, and their tuition fee would be covered either by the French Government or the host university in France.

Talking about a six-month sandwich program, she said that the French Government could grant full fellowship in this area, depending on clearance and acceptance of the candidate by the French Government or the host university. She further clarified that knowledge of French language was not essential for qualifying for acceptance to this program that covers all fields like social sciences, management sciences and nanoscience and technology. Students currently pursuing their PhD at Preston University could also apply in this program, she said. Regarding the possibility of inviting a French Professor to Pakistan to set up the Nano Lab of Preston Institute of Nano Science and Technology (PINSAT), Ms. Sandie said initiative to identify this person, establishing contact with him and extending and invitation to him will have to be taken by Preston University; however the French Embassy would be glad to facilitate Preston, in this regard, in every possible manner.

For participation of Preston faculty in any conference on nanoscience being held in France, the Embassy would be happy make provision in this regard in the year 2011, and if a French Nano Scientist is invited to visit all nanoscience labs currently functioning in Pakistan, the Embassy would be happy to consider sponsoring such a visit.

Earlier, in his opening remarks on the occasion Dr. Abdul Basit, Chancellor Preston University extended a very warm welcome to the two distinguished guests from the French Embassy in Pakistan. On the occasion, he also highlighted the academic programs being offered by the university at the bachelors, masters and PhD level. He expressed his eagerness to seek cooperation with French educational institutions of repute in all fields’ of education, including nanoscience and technology. He profoundly appreciated the assistance offered by the French Embassy in this regard.

Later, as a token of appreciation, Dr. Abdul Basit presented the university shield to the visiting guests from the French Embassy in Pakistan.