The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Belgian university signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday to create a student exchange between the two institutions.
UL Lafayette’s new partner: the University of Namur in central Belgium. Namur has been a twin city of Lafayette since the 1970s.
Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, said such exchanges “broaden our connection to the world and enhance the perspective of students and faculty members who participate in them.”
“With the partnership we’re formalizing with the University of Namur, we now have agreements with 38 universities in 16 countries, and each represents an opportunity to create mutual understanding, promote cooperation, and strengthen our academic and research missions,” Savoie said.
“We are delighted with this initiative between our universities and our host cities,” added Dr. Annick Castiaux, rector of the University of Namur. “Universities are at the service of society and, in particular, of their cities. These agreements bring together universities and cities, energize them, and should be more often on the agenda.”
The partnership between the universities was finalized in cooperation with the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, or CODOFIL; the International Relations Commission of the City of Namur; and Namur-Lafayette ASBL, which promotes the twinning relationship between the two cities.
Another partner is La Fondation Louisiane, a nonprofit that garners financial resources for the support of Louisiana’s French culture and language, including scholarships. It will fund a scholarship for a UL Lafayette student who is selected to study at UNamur.
The scholarship honors former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a UL Lafayette alumna, and her husband, Raymond, a longtime University coach and administrator.
“Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Coach Raymond Blanco left a lasting impression on the state of Louisiana and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette,” said Dr. William Arceneaux, chair of La Fondation Louisiane’s Board of Trustees.
“With our support of this new exchange agreement, La Fondation Louisiane seeks to honor their memories and their good work. We hope the students participating in this exchange continue to promote and defend our great Louisiana French language and culture.”
The scholarship will pay for the student’s transportation, lodging and living expenses. The semester-long student exchange is anticipated to begin in Fall 2023, when the first UL Lafayette student attends UNamur.
A UNamur student will attend UL Lafayette the following spring. They will receive a scholarship from their home institution that will provide living expenses and lodging.
CODOFIL’s Consortium of Louisiana Colleges and Universities will review scholarship applications and select the recipient. CODOFIL – part of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism – will also assist a UNamur student in obtaining tuition exemption to study at UL Lafayette.
“CODOFIL is pleased to partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Namur to facilitate an exchange of students and ideas between Louisiana and Belgium,” said Burnell Lemoine, CODOFIL president.
“As part of CODOFIL’s mission to promote and develop the French language in Louisiana, these contacts with the wider French-speaking world are essential. University students have a critical role to play in that conversation. Merci beaucoup to both universities and to our partners in Louisiana and Namur for their engagement in this new agreement.”
In addition to the student exchange program, the memorandum of understanding between UL Lafayette and UNamur also enables:
- faculty and student exchanges and short visits;
- the development of collaborative research projects;
- joint cultural, academic and scientific activities, including concerts, exhibitions, courses, conferences or lectures; and
- travel for research and teaching personnel.
Photo caption: From left: Kristin Sanders, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism; Dr. William Arceneaux, La Fondation Louisiane; UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie; Burnell Lemoine, CODOFIL; Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory; and Dr. Gabriel Carranza, UL Lafayette. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)