“Address to Kasetsart University” – 18 octobre 2019
Dear Dr. Chongrak WACHRINRAT, Acting President of Kasetsart University,
Dear Assoc. Pr. Sornprach THANISAWANYANGURA, Vice President for planning & Director of DORAS Center,
Dear Laurent Vaysse and other representatives from CIRAD,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to be with you today, and I want first to thank Kasetsart University, the top-ranked agricultural and research university of Thailand, for offering me the opportunity to give these short opening remarks on your historical campus, established 76 years ago.
Looking back to history, France and Kasetsart University have a longstanding relationship, spanning across more than three decades.
A perfect illustration of this cooperation is certainly the DORAS Center (Development Oriented Research on Agricultural Sciences) which involves Thai institutions such as TICA (Thailand Cooperation Agency), the Ministry of Agriculture and other higher education institutions, as well as CIRAD, IRD, and INRA, to name but a few French research bodies pursuing collaborative research with DORAS in agriculture and veterinary sciences. As you know, those fields are high priorities for France, and you could even say that they are part of its identity. President Jacques Chirac, who passed away a few days ago, had this to say in this regard : “For us, agriculture is not and will never be an activity like any other. By its dynamism, its inventiveness, its deep roots in our history and in our terroirs, it is a keeper of a part of our identity »
DORAS indeed plays an important role in supporting sustainable academic and research cooperation as well as regional partnerships in life sciences, technologies (including architecture) and humanities. And I take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to Khun Ajan Sornprach, a perfect “francophone” who pursued his post-graduate studies at the Institut national agronomique Paris-Grignon (INA-PG) as well as at the University of Paris-Orsay, before being appointed as a VP for research and acting VP for planning at KU.
I am truly grateful for the time he gives to our cooperation by attending every year the selection committee for the Franco-Thai scholarships, and by actively supporting CIRAD through the development of multi-disciplinary projects and research platforms such as HRPP (the Hevea Research Program in Partnership), or GREASE (Management of Emerging diseases in Southeast Asia).
It is reflected today by the number of CIRAD researchers your university receives, KU being thus the first global partner of CIRAD.
Two weeks ago, at the French Residence, I had the pleasure to acknowledge this long story of collaborative works between KU and their French counterparts by awarding your colleagues Professors Sathaporn and Panomsak, with the insigna of Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit. A few years after Khun Ajan received the same medal…
France is also proud to be part of the cooperation in French language as well as in oriental languages and cultures with KU. One year ago, I witnessed the opening of the Center for franco-thai collaboration, by the French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations and the Rajanagarind Institute for Linguistic and Cultural Studies of Kasetsart,
with a view to developing the teaching of oriental languages and cultures, especially Thai.
My embassy also promotes different funding schemes for post graduates students and faculty staffs, in order to foster scientific partnerships between our countries. With more than 100 Master & PhD scholarships and 16 PHC projects, KU is one of our major partners. And I acknowledge your generous contribution to the success of these programs. Let me stress, by the way, that the longstanding relationship between our two countries also depends on alumni and their commitment to establish strong networks.
You see, scientific and higher education cooperation is really at the top of our agenda. And we are willing to explore new avenues of cooperation with the new Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, to reinforce potential synergies with both public and private French institutions.
I believe in particular that it is time to provide new opportunities for under-graduate and post-graduate students to acquire relevant professional skills in new disciplines such as engineering, aerospace, environmental pollution or the navy…, and eventually bring our cooperation efforts at a higher level.
In conclusion, I would like to address my warmest congratulations to Dr. Chongrak WACHRINRAT, on his recent election as the acting president of KU. And to inform you that, thanks to Campus France, twenty-four French higher educational establishments will participate to the international study fair to be held this year in Bangkok on the 2nd and 3rd of November.
Again, thank you for your warm welcome and I wish all the best to your university.