March 2015 - n°8
The Père Aupiais class, the first graduate engineers

Last December, the undergraduate class Père Aupiais (CPPA) in Cotonou, Benin, celebrated the first graduate engineers from ESIGELEC and ESMT Dakar.

They were welcomed at the Benin Royal Hotel, in the presence of Mr François Abiola, the Minister of Further Education and Scientific Research in Benin, and Mrs Aline Kuster Ménager, France’s Ambassador in Benin and the class’s patron.

The 25 graduates and their families were greeted by the diocesan Director of Catholic Education, representing the Archbishop of Cotonou, the Chancellor of the Abomey-Calavi University, and representatives of partner engineering schools: Etienne Craye, Managing Director of ESIGELEC, together with Gay Tall, and members of EIGSI La Rochelle and ESMT Dakar.

Father Guillaume Chogolou, the CPPA Director, reminded us that the Scientific Undergraduate course was created on 10 November 2008 with Father Aimé, Claude Guillermet (the previous ESIGELEC Director), and ESMT (since joined by EIGSI La Rochelle). At the time the CCPA had some thirty pioneering students. Father Guillaume Chogolou concluded his speech with these words: “Dear graduates, young engineers, many congratulations for this fine achievement. You have worked relentlessly to merit today’s success. A stage has come to an end, and a new one is beginning. Put your talents and your expertise at the service of humanity. Become citizens of the world. But don’t forget that the companies in your country need your skills to take part in its development together! Good luck to you now and in the future!”.

Etienne Craye, ESIGELEC’s Director, made the following speech: “How far we have all travelled in six years! It is a great source of pride for us. ESIGELEC and ESMT were visionaries when they began this adventure, ten years ago. They were joined by EIGSI La Rochelle, and we are now going forwards together. This experience has benefitted from a lot of support, this ceremony is one of best signs of that. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the diocesan management, and in particular the Père Aupiais School, which are all doing a remarkable job and are giving the best preparation to these young people in this pioneering adventure, a difficult but extraordinary adventure. This is also possible thanks to the goodwill of the Beninese state, without which our graduates could not have succeeded. I would also like to thank the French authorities, represented here at the highest level by the presence of the Ambassador who has honoured us with her presence. The French authorities have been at our side and have financed a documentary resource to help launch the undergraduate classes. They have put at our disposal interns from Ecole Polytechnique, and have set up special relations with Campus France for a simplified admission process. Dear Graduates, in the name of the three schools, I will express this wish: you are deeply in debt for what you have become to your families, your schools and your country. Make the most of your talents, make them bear fruit in favour of a sustainable development of our world, including your state, your nation. Don’t forget where you come from: if you succeed it will also be thanks to this place where you were born, and so, in turn, give back what you have benefitted from. I wish you a long life, good luck, great success in your career and always be ready to give your help to those who ask for it.”

The French Ambassador to Benin added: “I am very flattered to have been chosen as patron of this class. The French Embassy is proud to have contributed to your success. I would particularly like to underline the investment of the teams from ESIGELEC, ESMT and the Père Aupiais School. /…./ Dear Graduates, you are Africa’s image of tomorrow, which you are going to help to build in a globalised world. The term ‘world citizen’ applies very well to you, and it is something that you will bring to your country. In a world marked by cultural and religious fractures of all kinds, talent has no border, no nationality, no religion and no gender. And I would like to conclude by saying that the young women graduates and young women student-engineers are also a reflection of the Africa of tomorrow; make room for them, above all as professionals, so that they can create value from the teaching they have received and take their responsibilities in Benin’s society of tomorrow.”

Mr François Abiola, Minister of Further Education and Scientific Research in Benin, concluded: “When education is of high quality and reflects market needs, it meets our objectives, in line with the 2nd National Education Forum that has just ended./…./ I congratulate you since some of you already have a job, and Benin’s entrepreneurs will support you, and I am also sure that among you there are some future entrepreneurs.”