WEST WINDSOR – The nation of France is committed to globalization and international cooperation to address the challenges faced by the global community, according to the country’s newly-appointed Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Étienne. And he wants Mercer County Community College (MCCC) to be a part of it.
“The future of our world is in the nexus of strategies uniting local and global,” Étienne said during a visit to MCCC’s West Windsor Campus. “It’s the future of democracy, and the future of our capacity to face challenges. We know the global challenges, but they will not be met if there is not the contribution of local communities.”
Étienne, who was appointed ambassador of France in the U.S. in September, visited MCCC as part of a tour that included Rutgers and Princeton universities, and reflects a both a personal and professional commitment to higher education.
“I am personally very interested in education policy, and I want, as a priority, to visit higher education institutions,” Étienne said. “We are here (at Mercer) because community colleges are the kind of institutions that are very interesting, and make higher education more accessible.
“Your institution is in the best place, because you have the local communities coming to you and you train the young to understand global challenges and how to face it.”
In greeting the ambassador, MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang outlined Mercer’s commitment to global education, including a very robust MCCC Center for Global Opportunities, which offers study abroad opportunities, faculty-led study tours, and will be hosting a global education conference later this year. In addition, dozens of international students enroll at MCCC each year from more than 40 nations.
“You can tell we have a lot to do with globalization,” Wang said. “I know first-hand the importance of a global education.”
Étienne said the answer to solving major international challenges, such as global climate change and implementing innovative green technology, will be rooted in robust global cooperation that must begin with higher education. These institutions, he said, will train the minds best prepared to develop solutions.
“Practical common challenges, green innovation, technology issues...this is something we want to discuss with you and other community colleges, not only because we feel that your higher education institutions are very important to the society, but because we want to enlarge this cooperation to a larger part of the society in the United States and France,” Étienne said. “It is absolutely essential for the future, especially between the United States and France, its oldest ally.
“From our side, we would be ready, honored, and proud to develop cooperations from my country and your institution. I would love to have this conversation.”
Wang agreed, saying that she looks forward to developing a relationship with French institutions of higher education, providing opportunities for Mercer students to study abroad and for French students to see what MCCC has to offer.
“I would love to form a partnership and have an exchange program,” Wang said. “We are very committed to what we are doing, and we love what we are doing. Education is about passion. It is something we are very proud of.”