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Minister Counsellor and Chargé d’affaires, a.i. Deena Joy Amatong and the rest of the Philippine Embassy officials welcomed a dozen Filipino students at the Philippine Embassy in Paris on 21 February 2014 for the semi-annual orientation seminar (ORSEM) for Filipino students in France.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Amatong invited the students to be goodwill ambassadors of the Philippines. “A lot of people in France still don’t know of the Philippines and we hope that we can count on you to be spokespersons for the country,” Ms. Amatong added.

Third Secretary and Vice Consul Rapunzel Acop then provided a presentation of the various sections of the Embassy and how the Embassy advanced the three pillars of Philippine foreign policy.

“Economic diplomacy covers tourism promotion and this year, the Department of Tourism is targeting 50,000 French tourists. We are therefore inviting you to bring home at least one French national so that we can reach this objective,” Ms. Acop said.

Representatives from CampusFrance, the French national agency for the promotion of higher education, international student services, and international mobility, followed with a presentation on student life in France. After their presentation, they responded to the students’ queries on accommodation, health insurance, and other administrative concerns.

This ORSEM is the second orientation done in partnership with the French Embassy in the Philippines and CampusFrance. There are over 60 academic partnerships between Philippine and French academic institutions. In 2012, over 300 Filipino students left the Philippines to study in France. This represents an almost 50% increase for the same period in 2009.