The 60th Anniversary of the Elysée Treaty was marked with a joint event hosted on January 23rd and 24th, 2023 by the Lycée Français International Samuel Beckett (LFI) and St. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule Dublin. 60 years Franco-German friendship, the Future of a united Europe and the strong educational cooperation between the German School Dublin St. Kilian’s and the Lycée Français International Samuel Beckett (LFI) were focus of the celebrations that were attended by esteemed guests, students and teachers.
Certainly a highlight was the annual Elysée Treaty Debate. The debate was openend by the Minister of State for European Affairs and Defence Peter Burke TD, who highlighted the benefits of European unity in particular in education and culture and stressed that ‘The education which the students receive at the Eurocampus is invaluable to life as citizens of Europe’. Among the guests were also the Minister for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD along with the French Ambassador H.E. Vincent Guérend, the German Ambassador H.E Cord Meier-Klodt, the Austrian Ambassador H.E Thomas Nader, the Belgium Ambassador H.E Karen Van Vlierberge, the Luxemburg Ambassador H.E Florence Ensch, the French and German cultural attachés Madame Diallo and Mr Henneberg. We also welcomed the Directors at the AEFE Mr Olivier Brochet (Director at the AEFE Agency for French Education Abroad) accompanied by Mr Philippe Lods and Madame Isabelle Picault and Ms Heike Toledo (Director at the Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen (ZfA) des Bundesamtes für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten (BfAA)) along with Mr Oliver Bientzle (German Federal Foreign Office), who had travelled from France and Germany.
On the 23rd of January, we welcomed the Ambassadors from Germany and France to Ireland, the French and German Cultural Attachés, the directors and representatives of the ZfA and Aefe, chairs of the boards of management from both schools, teachers and students at the Eurocampus Dublin. The delegation was greeted by the Junior Orff and Choir children with two wonderful songs under the musical guidance of Ms Thielemans. After welcoming addresses by the principals of both schools, the Ambassadors stressed the importance of intercultural understanding and the directors at the Aefe and the ZfA emphasized the benefits of the Eurocampus. Ms Toledo, Director at the ZfA, congratulated on the German, French and Irish cooperation at the ‘best-working Eurocampus’ in the world (which is one out of 6 worldwide). Mr Brochet, Director at the Aefe, characterized the Eurocampus in Dublin as an ‘extraordinary educational melting pot’, that prepares students ‘to be enlightened, committed citizens, drivers of the transformations our world needs’.
A group of students from St. Kilian’s and the LFI shared some background information on the Eurocampus and gave an account of their own experiences. Afterwards, the guests and delegations had the opportunity to visit the campus for themselves on a student-led tour and to meet with teachers for an exchange of information.
The focus of the second day of the celebration was the Elysée Treaty Debate. The debate, this year already in its 10th edition, is one of the highlights of the Eurocampus, hosted annually by the Lycée Français International Samuel Beckett (LFI) and St. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule Dublin. It simulates a European Committee meeting at senior level aiming at engaging students with European issues and to foster interest in their role as Europeans today. It is also a vivid example of a European educational experience through the languages of French, German and English, that was initiated in 2013 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the treaty of friendship signed between France and West Germany at the Elysée Palace in Paris in 1963.
The motion for this year’s debate was the European topic: This house believes that today’s young Europeans have fewer opportunities than their parents had. The debate was organised by dedicated teachers by Ms Jones and Ms Scallan and it was chaired by 12th class students Thomas O’Grady and Dylan Mc Gowan. Sixteen 11th Class students from St. Kilian’s and the LFI class participated in two mixed teams, divided into one proposition team and one opposition team. All team members were very well prepared and argued strongly for or against the motion in a total of 12 speeches. Both teams worked together on research and preparation of their arguments which ranged widely from economics to politics, technology, culture and media.
All students delivered an impressive level of debate and rebuttal of their opponents’ arguments and were commended for their performances. The adjudicators Madame Diallo, the French Cultural Attaché, Herr Henneberg, the German Cultural Attaché and Ms Golden, a former teacher of St. Kilian’s, who were then faced with the difficult task of deciding on a winning team.
Congratulations to this year’s winners, Gaëlle Abrard (LFI), Sophia Larionova O’Connor (St. Kilian’s), Thomas Waché (LFI), Else Denis (LFI), Timothé Nelserade (LFI), Eliska Dvorakova (St. Kilian’s), Neha Krishnan (St. Kilian’s) and Nadia Matthias (St. Kilian’s) who successfully and convincingly proposed the motion and were presented with a Perpetual trophy.
Also well done to the Opposition Team: Anna Cantwell-Xenopoulou (LFI), Ben Taylor (St. Kilian’s), Clemence Iglesias (LFI), Charlie Kennedy (St. Kilian’s), Shervin Sedaghat (St. Killian’s), Sara Hany Mahmoud Ibrahim Sabry (LFI), Benas Vasiliauskas (St. Kilian’s) and Rebecca Costache (St. Kilian’s).
Thank you to the organising teachers and all students involved. Our gratitude also goes to all esteemed guests for their attendance and to the German and French Embassies for their continuous support for this event.