Speech by Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle on the occasion of the Scuola per l’Europa 2009 baccalaureate - 6 July 2009

Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle

Dear Representative of the Italian Government,
Mr President of the Province,
Mr Mayor,
Members of the school administration and local authorities,
Students of the Scuola per l’Europa,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me first of all to share with these 12 students the joy of having achieved this important goal today.

I am really excited about the excellent results achieved by the students of the Scuola per l’Europa di Parma in the recent baccalaureate exams held at the Scuola Europea di Varese: 12 out of 12 students passed, two of them with distinction.

Congratulations to you all. I wish you the very best for your future: certainly, today an important door has successfully been opened before you. I must also congratulate your parents, who have supported you along this journey; I know from my own experience it is not always easy!

I am particularly pleased to share in this ceremony because today we are also celebrating the success of the Scuola per l’Europa, which opened only in 2005 and is now seeing its first students pass their baccalaureate.

Congratulations, therefore, to everyone who has played a part in this success, especially the headmistress, Ms Dari; the teachers and school staff; Ms Coscelli, chair of the parents’ association; and Dr Ricciardelli, chair of the school board, and Dr Acri.

Our heartfelt thanks also go to the Scuola Europea di Varese and its Headmaster, R. Jonkers, for hosting our students and enabling them to gain this important qualification, the European Baccalaureate, which marks the end of secondary school throughout Europe.

I would like to thank the Province and Municipality of Parma for their support, and also the Italian Government and Undersecretary Letta, for the persistent determination shown in resolving matters connected with our school and the valuable assistance they continue to provide for our cause.

Finally, I would like to highlight the support our school has received from the Board of Governors of the European Schools, and particularly from Ms Christmann, Secretary-General of the European Schools and keen supporter of the Parma school.

As you know, I take a great personal interest in this project since the Scuola per l’Europa is an institution of the utmost importance for EFSA: it plays a crucial role in ensuring that the children of EFSA employees receive a suitable education, with a European dimension, but also, and above all, integrate into the local community.

Our school still has many key steps ahead of it, but I am confident that together we will succeed.

I would like to finish with some thoughts I read recently in a book of memoirs by Jacques Delors, who had a vision of education based on four pillars, one following another but each an integral part of the last. According to Delors, we can see the educational process as follows:

  • first, we learn to learn, laying the foundations for lifelong learning. This teaches us to:
  • learn to do, that is to say to turn study into a process where the individual actively participates, which in turn teaches us to:
  • learn to be, or to develop individual responsibility to realise our collective destiny, and finally to:
  • learn to live together, or learn to achieve joint projects, together with others, like this project today, the Scuola per l’Europa.


The students receiving their baccalaureate today are now in the first but extremely important stage of learning to learn. From here on they will progress through all the other stages to finally come to realise joint projects, for themselves, their families, but also for all of us as European citizens.

Congratulations, then, to all our students for your hard work and for having learnt to learn!