Strengthening academia: PSF chief gets highest French award

Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro given honour for promoting science and learning.

Our Correspondent July 09, 2013
The Academic Palms is a distinction initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808 to reward scholars from the Universities of Paris. PHOTO:


In recognition of his efforts and contributions in the field of science and technology, Pakistan Science Foundation Chairman Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro was awarded Les Palmes Académiques (the Order of Academic Palms) by French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud on Tuesday.

A small gathering of colleagues, friends and family came to witness the proud moment at the French Embassy when Ambassador Thiebaud pinned the medal on Soomro’s jacket. The appointment of Soomro as an officer of the Order of Academic Palms recognised his dedication to the promotion of science and flourishing cooperation between the Pakistan Science Foundation and several French academic institutions through his work.

Soomro’s dedication and efforts for the French Pakistan Programme played a significant role in the award. The programme, which has been ongoing for the past three years, includes annual travelling expos across the country and the inquiry-based science programmes in schools in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. These projects have aimed at bringing state-of-the-art scientific knowledge to the Pakistani public and encouraging students to continue their studies and contribute to research and development.

Soomro said that the programme included teacher training and promoting science in 35 public and private schools in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. He said that with the success of the pilot, they hope to scale it up to other cities such as Karachi. “The best part of the programme was the partnership and the patronage that helped us to meet and learn from one another,” he added.

Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid said that the programme should be introduced in other cities.

“I was very impressed to see the will of the students, particularly girls who wanted to learn about science,” said Ambassador Thiebaud. Pakistan and France share a common objective in terms of promoting science he added.

The Academic Palms is a distinction initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808 to reward scholars from the Universities of Paris. It was subsequently extended to individuals who contributed to French culture and education. Since 1955, the French Ministry of Education has awarded it to personalities in the educational field who have shown outstanding devotion and accomplishments for the promotion of education.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.

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