By Tabora Bojang
Alliance Française de Banjul in partnership with the French Embassy opens a new Campus France office in Banjul. The campus will present a rare opportunity to Gambian students who wish to study in France. It will also foster access to French higher institutions, scholarships, assist candidates in their application processes, visa processes, choice of field of study and programs and housing among others. The European country has over 3000 public and private institutions and welcomes thousands of international students at different levels each year.
The campus is inaugurated as part of celebrations marking the International Francophonie Day observed every 20th March to celebrate the French language, francophone culture and its contribution to world development.
The celebration attended by French Ambassador to Senegal overseeing Banjul, Philippe Lalliot, Minister of Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez and a host of other dignitaries, diplomats, intellectuals, artists and students also witnessed the inauguration of a new Artistic Residency for Gambian artists.
The residency is named after legendary and famous Gambian musician Musa Afia Ngum who died in 2015 aged 62.
“This is to pay tribute to his work, legacy, and importance of Gambian culture. Mr Ngum’s commitment to the development of Gambian music and to strengthen the links between Senegal and The Gambia make him a figure both of humanity, and of artistic creation, which perfectly corresponds to the ideal we are aiming for this artist residency,” Minister Gomez who doubles as the board chairman of Alliance Française said.
The minister commended Ngum’s family who were in attendance for accepting the attribution of his name to the centre, adding that the Campus France office will encourage the opening of Gambian higher education and research to France and promote French higher education within Gambian educational institutions.
Justine Guschlbauer, Alliance Française director disclosed that the new artist’s residence which comprises of 3 bedrooms, bathrooms, a common space will avail one to four weeks of accommodation to Gambian artists engage in singing, painting, drawing dancing and cinema to work and prepare their cultural projects in a hitch-free environment.
She averred that the opening of the two new centres will go a long way in promoting Franco-Gambian cooperation on language, studies and artistic empowerment.
“Alliance is an open space and we are here to host artists, schools, institutions, our partners and sponsors. The idea is to strengthen the links between France and The Gambia and as a cultural and linguistic centre our doors are open to all projects geared towards promoting language and culture,” Ms Justine added.
She hailed CMA/CGM, Photo Express, CFAO, Muhammed Jah, Air France, French Embassy and the French Institute for cordially partnering with her institution to attain its objectives.
The French Ambassador, Philippe Lalliot, described the inauguration of the centres as a symbol of increased partnership between Paris and Banjul since the change of government in 2017.
“We are trying to help Gambia in many sectors from agriculture, environment, education, health and many issues of common interest. These are elements of the close partnership we are building together” said Ambassador Lalliot.
Musa Ngum’s son, Fallou Ngum expressed profound gratitude to the Alliance Française for honouring the legacy of his father who is best remembered as a Senegambia hero.