IFS Education Leaders Honoured with Titles from French Government
Mr David Binan and Mr Christian Soulard Receive the Prestigious Titles from the French Government for Academic Excellence and French Language Promotion in Singapore and the Asia Pacific Region
Singapore, April 28, 2023 – On April 27, French Ambassador Her Excellency Ms Minh-di Tang conferred the titles of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques to Mr David Binan, Principal of the International French School (Singapore) and Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques to Mr Christian Soulard, former Principal of the International French School, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of French national education in the Asia-Pacific region and specifically in Singapore and Australia.
The ceremony at the French Residence was a testament to these two education leaders’ exceptional work and dedication to promoting academic excellence and French language proficiency in the region. The titles bestowed upon them are among the highest honours awarded by the French government to individuals who have made significant contributions to education, science, and culture.
Mr David Binan, who received the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, has led French international school’s abroad in Singapore and Australia towards academic excellence and providing a nurturing environment for students to learn and grow. Under his leadership, schools in Australia and Singapore have achieved numerous accolades, including being recognised as a leading international school in the region.
In his acceptance address to assembled colleagues, family and friends, Mr Binan reflected on his past, his youth, and the journey to Singapore and this award. He acknowledged in his address, “It is with a great deal of affection and a deep feeling of gratitude that I speak to you this evening. I am grateful to the people I have met, will meet and work with. I am grateful for the trust placed in me by the Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger, the cultural advisors and ambassadors… I am grateful to our French Republic, the values it has transmitted to me, those who have fought and are fighting for it, and the help I have received, without which I would not have arrived here.”
In closing, Mr Binan said, “The Palmes académiques are certainly an individual decoration, but nevertheless, I want to share it with all of you this evening, with the deserving, those who commit themselves to a cause. Because commitment marks a conviction, a will and respect for others, all of us here are committed to the service of knowledge and its transmission.”
Mr Christian Soulard, who was honoured with the title of Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, has played a pivotal role in establishing and expanding the International French School in Singapore. He has been a driving force in promoting the French language and culture in the region. His efforts have contributed to several schools’ success in producing globally-minded and culturally-sensitive graduates.
Mr Soulard spoke about the school’s reaction to the recent COVID pandemic and reflected, “In a crisis situation, institutions reveal their true nature. There is no doubt that we have demonstrated [IFS’s] robustness, coherence and effectiveness.” On a more personal note, Mr Soulard expressed his gratitude for the opportunities education and the AEFE has provided him, “allowed me an extraordinary personal and professional adventure. French-style international education has its place in the globalised world of education. I am proud to have made a modest contribution to it.”
In his closing remarks, Mr Soulard reflected on the challenges facing education in the 21st century and the impact technologies such as artificial intelligence have on the profession. “In this time of brainwashing, of too much knowledge, of slogans for simplistic solutions, the pedagogue Fernand Oury tells us: “it is time to give today’s children what they lack most: the unknown”. A paradox! The sensation of ‘the unknown’ is what motivates the desire to learn. It requires the art of questioning, the art of asking the right questions. And the master in this respect is the teacher.”
In her remarks, H.E. Ms Minh-di Tang commended the dedication and passion of Mr David Binan and Mr Christian Soulard in promoting French education and culture in the region. She emphasised the importance of their work in strengthening the ties between France and Singapore and expressed her gratitude for their contributions to France in Asia-Pacific.
Congratulations to Mr David Binan and Mr Christian Soulard on receiving these prestigious titles from the French government. Their remarkable contributions to education and French culture have significantly impacted the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
To read the speeches of Mr Binan and Mr Soulard, click here.
The l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques is a prestigious title awarded by the French government to individuals who have made significant contributions to education and culture. It was established in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte to honour outstanding members of the academic community. The award recognises the recipient’s achievements and contributions to the field of education and their promotion of the French language and culture. The title is part of the French National Order of the Palmes Académiques, which has three ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), and Commandeur (Commander). The award is highly respected and is often bestowed upon academics, researchers, and educators who have made exceptional contributions to the field of education in France and around the world.