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French Minister launches Bengaluru chapter of France Alumni

Indians who have studied in France now have a chance to reconnect with their alma mater through the France Alumni-Bengaluru Chapter, which was launched on Sunday by Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development.

The Minister is on a four-day visit to the country to strengthen the bilateral ties between India and France, including in the field of education.

France Alumni, launched at Alliance Française de Bangalore, is an online platform that allows former students to network and stay in touch with their university and the French language and culture, and to know about internships and opportunities in France. The project, developed by Campus France, was launched in 2014 and has over 35,000 alumni spread across 70 countries.

France is looking to attract more students from India, said Mr. Ayrault. “In 2016, as many as 4,000 Indian students went to France. That is 50 times more than 20 years ago. But this is still insufficient. We need to do more,” he said. The Indian student community is currently just a fraction of the over three lakh students who pursue higher studies in France yearly.

“We are looking to have at least 10,000 Indian students annually by 2020,” Mr. Ayrault said.

A temple and market visit

Soaking in the centuries-old history of the Someshwara Temple in Ulsoor and then walking through the busy lanes of Russell Market, Mr. Ayrault started his India journey by exploring the traditional side of Bengaluru.

Speaking to reporters, he said Bengaluru represents what India is today. “On one hand, it showcases the cultural diversity and on the other, it maintains its capacity in terms of technology and innovation. I have ended my day here at Alliance Francaise, a place where again there is a confluence of cultures,” he said

Idrees Choudhary, who runs a dry fruits shop at Russell Market, said the Minister was fascinated by the history and variety of the market and even took with him dates imported from South Africa.

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