Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro, President ECOSF / Chairman PSF gets highest French Civil Award ("Les Palmes Acad‚ Miques")

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ISLAMABAD (July 11, 2013): French Ambassador Philippe Thiebaud decorated Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) Chairman and President ECOSF Prof. Dr Manzoor H. Soomro with French civil award  Les Palmes Académiques (the Order of Academic Palms) in recognition of his efforts and contributions in the field of science and technology (S&T) the other day at Embassy of France in Pakistan.

The award was conferred upon him at an impressive ceremony. Federal Minister for S&T Mr. Zahid Hamid, Federal Secretary for S&T Mr. Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, members of PSF Board of Trustees, Dr. Soomro's colleagues, friends and family witnessed the proud moment at the French Embassy when Ambassador Thiebaud decorated Dr. Soomro with the award. The appointment of Soomro as an officer of the Order of Academic Palms recognized his dedication to the promotion of science and flourishing cooperation among PSF and several French academic institutions through his work.

Soomro's dedication and efforts for the Pak-French 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 are 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.

Dr. 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 project, 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.

Speaking on the occasion, S&T Minister Zahid Hamid said that the programme should be introduced in other cities as well."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.

The minister of National Education of the French Republic honours individuals who have shown great achievements through their services in the field of S&T and the contribution they have made to the development of education in France and Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention that PSF and Academie of Sciences, France Centre Sciences (CCSTI) are actively cooperating for the promotion of science and technology in both the countries since 2010. Under this collaborative programme, five international travelling exhibitions have been arranged in Pakistan's major cities and the latest one of these was International Expo on Energy that held during March and April this year in several cities of Pakistan including the far flung areas as Quetta and Swat. PSF and Embassy of France are also running a joint programme on inquiry based science education, which is going on successfully.

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