HER Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso was recently awarded the Commander of the Order of Academic Palms award by France.
The French government said the award was an important milestone towards strengthening the cordial relations between the two countries which date back to the 1800s when the first French Missionaries arrived in Lesotho.
The award was presented to Her Majesty by the French Ambassador to Lesotho and South Africa, Christophe Farnaud at a ceremony held at the Royal Palace in Maseru.
Her Majesty was flanked by His Majesty King Letsie III, Deputy Prime Minister, Monyane Moleleki, Minister of Education, Ntoi Rapapa and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Halebonoe Set?abi. Mr Farnaud was accompanied by French Political Counsellor to Lesotho and South Africa, Alexandre Olmedo and the Director of Alliance Française de Maseru, Remi Beghin.
The French Order of Academic Palms is awarded in recognition for remarkable personal accomplishments and eminent relations with French education. It is defined by three ranks, Commander being the highest.
According to Mr Farnaud, Her Majesty was worthy of the award because she had shown commitment to learning French (DELF) at the Alliance Française de Maseru where she will be sitting for her third exam in November this year.
Her Majesty has also been commended by France for her dedication to social development of children through Queen’s National Trust Fund, Hlokomela bana and Hlokomela Banana initiatives.
“The French language’s future, attractiveness and outreach no longer belong just to France but the Francophonie extends beyond our borders,” Mr Farnaud said.
“So, Your Majesty, thank you for making this language shine beyond France’s borders here in Lesotho.
“A few years ago, you decided to learn French and you have constantly shown commitment to this project. Despite your busy schedule, you have continued learning. You took it seriously to the point that you successfully passed two DELF exams with the outstanding results of 84 percent. You are now in the process of taking another exam to reach a new level in November.”
Mr Farnaud said Her Majesty has also transferred the interest in learning French to her daughter while she has also been involved in cultural, social and educational projects.
He cited examples of Her Majesty’s role as the Patron of SOS Children’s Village, Lesotho Red Cross Society and Machabeng International School.
He also commended Her Majesty for her active role in raising awareness and supporting projects to help people living with disabilities and those living with HIV and AIDS. He said she was also actively in programmes that support the development and emancipation of Basotho women.
Giving her vote of thanks, Her Majesty said the award was for the entire country and commended the ties between the two countries.
“We have noted with gratitude the recognition by the French Republic of our modest efforts in Lesotho to address the plight of our youth. I therefore, receive this award on behalf of all Basotho who relentlessly contribute to our efforts to empower our youth to prepare them to be better citizens and even future leaders of our country and the world at large.
“The warm historical relations between the Republic of France and the Kingdom of Lesotho that date back to the 1800s remain indelible in the annals of our history. It is gratifying to note that those cordial relations persist to this day at both the bilateral and the multi-lateral levels.
“This award can only deepen these already existing bonds of friendship between our two nations. It will remain another important milestone in the furtherance of the cordial relations between our two nations,” Her Majesty said.