Ordre des Palmes Académiques

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Ordre des Palmes académiques
Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques avers.jpg
Insignia of Commandeur
Awarded by  France
Type Order of Merit with 3 degrees:
Awarded for Distinguished contributions to education or culture
Status Active
Established Decoration: 1808
Order: 1955
Next (higher) Resistance Medal
Next (lower) Order of Agricultural Merit

Palmes academiques Commandeur ribbon.svg
Palmes academiques Officier ribbon.svg

Palmes academiques Chevalier ribbon.svg
Ribbon bars of the Order

The Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms) is a national order of France for distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education. Originally a decoration founded by Emperor Napoléon to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, it was changed into its current form as an Order on 4 October 1955 by President René Coty.

The early Palmes académiques was instituted on 17 March 1808 and was bestowed only upon teachers or professors. In 1850 the decoration was divided into two known classes:[1]

  • Officier de l'Instruction Publique (Golden Palms)
  • Officier d'Académie (Silver Palms)

In 1866, the scope of the award was widened to include major contributions to French national education and culture made by anyone, including foreigners. It was also made available to any French expatriates making major contributions to the expansion of French culture throughout the rest of the world.

Since 1955 the Ordre des Palmes académiques has comprised three grades, each grade having a fixed number of recipients:

  • Commandeur (Commander) — gold cross of 60 mm with a coronet ("couronne") worn on necklet
  • Officier (Officer) — gold cross of 55 mm worn on ribbon with rosette on left breast
  • Chevalier (Knight) — silver cross of 50 mm worn on ribbon on left breast

Decisions on nominations and promotions are decided by the Minister of Education. For those not connected to state-sponsored public education, or the Ministry of National Education, these honours are announced on 1 January, New Year's Day. For all others, they are made on 14 July, which is French National Day.

Notable recipients[edit]

French recipients[edit]

Foreign recipients[edit]

See the List of Foreign recipients of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

  • Fatima Charki, Moroccan academic specializing in Arabic littreature
  • Jan Ulijn, Dutch psycholinguist (see Wikipedia for his entry) for his contributions to Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Culture Research, also from The French language and culture perspective
  • Bruno Bernard, Belgian author dictionary French foreign languages
  • Francis L. Lawrence (1937–2013), classical drama and baroque poetry scholar, President of Rutgers University (1990–2002)[2]
  • Ali-Akbar Siassi, Iranian intellectual, psychologist and politician during the 1930s and 1960s, serving as the country's Foreign Minister, Minister of Education, Chancellor of University of Tehran, and Minister of State without portfolio.
  • Javad Tabatabai, Iranian thinker[3]
  • Ahmad Kamyabi Mask, Iranian littérateur
  • Buddy Wentworth, Namibian politician, for his contributions to the Namibian independence struggle[4]


Chevalier Officier Commandeur
Chevalier palmes academiques.jpg Ordre des Palmes académiques.jpg Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques avers.jpg
Palmes academiques Chevalier ribbon.svg Palmes academiques Officier ribbon.svg Palmes academiques Commandeur ribbon.svg


  1. ^ Paul Hieronymussen, Orders, Medals and Decorations of Britain and Europe in colour (2nd ed.), London: Blandford Press, 1970, p.162.
  2. ^ Lawrence, Francis L. Leadership in Higher Education: Views from the Presidency (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2006), 345.
  3. ^ Javad Tatabai, Institut d'études avancées de Paris
  4. ^ "Former deputy minister Wentworth dies". The Namibian. 5 June 2014. 

External links[edit]