On Friday 12 July, the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) held its annual graduation ceremony in the sumptuous surroundings of the British Ambassador’s Residence to celebrate the achievements of its newest graduates.
The ceremony celebrated 25 graduands of the BA in French Studies, BA in French Studies with History and the MA in Urban History and Culture programmes, nine of whom achieved Distinction in Spoken French. They were cheered on by the procession of academic and senior staff from the Institute and the University, including Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London and Dr Tim Gore, CEO of ULIP.
The afternoon’s celebrations commenced with a welcome from the British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, Baron Llewellyn of Steep who remarked that ULIP’s “graduates are, all in their own way, representatives and ambassadors for the friendship and ties that exist between Britain and France”. This notion of strengthening ties was a clear theme of the day, as in her speech Marie-Christine Lemardeley, Deputy Mayor of Paris for Higher Education, Research and Student Life, commented on ULIP’s desire to reinforce ties between both academic and cultural worlds, to strengthen partnerships, and “not to be phased by the political turmoil outside”.
There was also news of ULIP’s recent collaboration agreements with both Jefferson University in Philadelphia and HESAM Université in Paris, which aim to expand the University of London’s global strategy by building long-term and strategic partnerships. These agreements will work to create new and innovative joint programmes, as well as, enrich student experience through student exchanges, research partnerships and academic engagements at events, seminars and conferences.
In her first formal engagement as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wendy Thomson CBE welcomed the new graduates to the University of London’s global alumni community, and commented on ULIP’s unique educational experience, saying:
“At the University of London Institute in Paris we recognise that the study of language, society and culture is of particular importance. Language is a key factor in cultural understanding and integration, and is vital to fostering economic growth. Those graduating today demonstrate many times over that the study of language need not be in decline, and can testify to the importance and rewards of an immersion within another European society.”
ULIP and the University of London were delighted to present the Honorary Doctorate of Literature to celebrated author, journalist and political commentator, Will Self, who then treated graduates and guests to a vibrant and humorous address.
In 2014 and 2015 Will Self joined ULIP faculty to instruct students in Urban History and Culture into the subtleties and insights of psycho-geographic method for exploring the city. These were special teaching and learning experiences, recollected warmly by Self during his speech in which he underscored his particular attachment to the unique situation that ULIP offers to students and faculty for bi-cultural exchange.
Self’s celebrated career includes eleven novels, five collections of shorter fiction, three novellas, and five collections of non-fiction writing. In 2012, his novel ‘Umbrella’ was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He is a regular contributor to publications including The Guardian, The New York Times and the London Review of Books. He currently writes a column for the New Statesman, and has previously been a columnist for the Observer, The Times, and the Evening Standard.
Following the ceremony, guests moved into the Residence's beautiful gardens where they enjoyed canapés and drinks in the Parisian sunshine. Colleagues from the University’s Development Office were in attendance to learn of the graduates’ next steps, which included returning to the UK for graduate employment, continuing to reside in Paris, and further study towards Masters and PhDs, with one graduate choosing to study with ULIP for a MA in International Studies.
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.