UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit to Paris, France, is the first state visit outside the region after he assumed office. Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Dubai: French expats in the UAE say that they are very excited about UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit to France and that they feel very proud that he chose their home country for his first official overseas state trip.

Education a pillar of UAE-France relations

Stephane Brismontier, 47, chief executive officer and co-founder of Culture Emulsion, said he was very happy and honoured to see the UAE President visiting his home country. “The UAE and France are two special countries for me. I am so thrilled the heads of these states are meeting.”

He said: “The UAE and France have always been strongly linked through art, culture, history, economy and geopolitics.”

Stephane Brismontier

Brismontier said education has always been a pillar of relations between the UAE and France. “Ties of the two countries have been steadily growing thanks to decades of student exchange and cultural programmes, bilateral studies and engagement with authorities to bring French expertise into the UAE.

“As an example, with the help of the Ministry of Education, our French-speaking drama school was able to help develop local their very own drama academy locally. More recently, at the Expo 2020 Dubai, bilateral education between UAE and France was further enhanced.”

Brismontier added more ties and agreements in education, culture, social welfare will all bring the nations even closer.


Common interests in environment, global finance

Anne Richomme, marketing and communication director at a Dubai organisation and an expat for 13 years in the UAE, said she is excited with the UAE President’s visit to France. “I am so glad that the UAE President picked France as his first official state visit after assuming office. It shows the strong ties built between both the countries and the respect our leaders and population have for one another.”

Anne Richomme

Richomme said the ties became stronger a few years ago with common interests in environment, global finance. “I believe after the visit, more areas of common interest are likely to come up. The upcoming visit will shed light on several important topics.”

She added that as a parent, she was glad her children could kick start their education in the French system here in the UAE. “What is more, I am happy to see French children take advantage of some great universities here in the UAE. I am proud that my children get to learn about both cultures and languages from a young age. I believe the opening of La Sorbonne back then was a very strong message, but there is still room to welcome more “grandes écoles”.”

‘The two countries have embraced each other’s cultures wholeheartedly’

Stéphanie Bouvet, French-as-a-foreign-language teacher at Alliance Française, said: “I am proud and happy that the UAE President is travelling to France for his first official trip to meet our President Emmanuel Macron. The relations between both countries have been strong from a long time and the bilateral ties have shown that economically, politically and culturally, the two countries have many positive points.”

Bouvet said that on the cultural and educational part, the two countries have embraced each other’s cultures wholeheartedly. “Louvre Abu Dhabi and l’Université de la Sorbonne are good examples.”

Stéphanie Bouvet

She said more and more Emiratis are learning French through Alliance Française. “My students show a lot of interest in the language and the traditions of France,” said Bouvet.

“During the state visit, I have no doubt the two leaders will discuss common objectives to lead the way on major subjects such as renewable energy, petrol / diesel supply, ways to contain price increases around the world and how they can contribute to containing the current crisis. I also hope that both our countries will carry on the efforts to a more peaceful, safer and sustainable world,” added Bouvet.

‘I pray that UAE, France grow from strength to strength’

French expat, Olivier Dolz, a wedding planner and designer, said: “I pray that the two countries - UAE and France - grow from strength to strength.

Olivier Dolz

"The UAE is my second home. It is the best place to live in, raise your family and develop your business.

"It is a land of great values, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.”

Penelope Huignard

French expat Penelope Huignard, who works as a marketing manager for a private company in Dubai, said since Expo 2020 Dubai, relations between UAE and France have further strengthened. “I believe the UAE President travelling to France is a win-win situation, one that will greatly benefit both the nations. Besides cultural and educational benefits, it will be evident in terms of economic benefits as well.”

Berengere Roux

Digital information entrepreuner Berengere Roux said the two countries share a great history together. “Apart from the cultural and educational sectors, the two nations will benefit greatly in terms of economics. The UAE promises so many opportunities. I do believe that the two countries coming together spells stronger ties.”

Marie-Clemence Jacobs

Marie-Clemence Jacobs, secondary French teacher said she was elated with the UAE President’s visit to France. “I look forward to increased collaboration between the two nations. It is heartening to see the two leaders discussing issues facing the world today -- in particular, the discussions around developing energy technology around hydrocarbons, wind farms and solar power.”