Held at Oxford’s Maison Française (MFO), Sylvie Bermann paid tribute to Christina Howells, a specialist on Sartre and late twentieth-century French philosophy, praising her influence on Franco-British exchanges and quoting an extract from Christina's account of her first meeting with French philosopher Jacques Derrida: “De l’amour ainsi que de l’amitié, on n’en a jamais assez” [ We can never have enough love or friendship].
In the run-up to the referendum on the UK’s possible exit from the European Union, the Ambassador said: “We love the UK so much that we want it to continue being a part of Europe”. In this regard, the MFO is seeking active scientific and cultural cooperation between Oxford University and France.
The Ordre des Palmes académiques is an Order of Chivalry of France for distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education. Originally a decoration founded by Emperor Napoléon in 1808 to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, it was changed to its current form in 1955. The award has three ranks Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur. French citizens living abroad and foreign (non-French) nationals may receive this award for contributing significantly to furthering French intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements in the world.