Ordre des Palmes académiques

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ordre des Palmes académiques
Commander's neck badge and ribbon
Awarded by Ministry of National Education of the French Republic
TypeOrder of merit
EstablishedDecoration: 1808
Order: 1955
Awarded forDistinguished contributions to education or culture
StatusCurrently constituted
Grand MasterEmmanuel Macron[citation needed]
(President of France)
ChancellorPap Ndiaye, the Minister of National Education
GradesCommander, 1st Class
Officer, 2nd Class
Member/Knight, 3rd Class
Next (higher)Médaille de la Résistance
Next (lower)Order of Agricultural Merit



The three graded ribbon bars of the Order

The Ordre des Palmes académiques (French for 'Order of Academic Palms') is a national order bestowed by the French Republic on distinguished academics and teachers and for valuable service to universities, education and science.[1] Originally established in 1808 by Emperor Napoleon as a decoration to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, it was changed into its current form as an order of merit on 4 October 1955 by President René Coty, making it one of the oldest civil honours bestowed by the French Republic.[2]


Decoration (1808–1955)[edit]

The original Palmes académiques was instituted by Napoleon on 17 March 1808.[3] In this sense, it shares its origins with the Legion of Honour which Napoleon had established shortly before.[4] Palmes académiques was established to decorate people associated with the university, including high schools (lycées).[3][5] It was not an order as such, but a title of honour identifiable by its insignia sewn on the recipients' costumes.[6] It was bestowed only upon teachers or professors.[2][7] The original decoration included three classes:[6]

  • Titulaire – gold palm sewn on white silk;
  • Officier l'Université – silver palm sewn on white silk;
  • Officier d'Académie – blue palm sewn on white silk.

The Titulaires were limited to the grand masters of the university, chancellors, treasurers, and councilors for life. The Officiers de l'Université were ordinary councilors, university inspectors, rectors, academy inspectors, deans and faculty professors. The Officiers d'Académie were headmasters, censors, teachers of the two most distinguished classes of high schools, principals of colleges, and, in exceptional cases, high school teachers or college regents. Those working in primary education were ineligible.[6]

On 9 October 1850, the number of classes was reduced to two:[6][1]

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

Only those working in education for at least 15 years were eligible. The decoration was conferred by the Minister of Public Instruction on the proposal of rectors after having consulted academic councils.[6]

In 1866, Napoleon III, prompted by Minister of Public Instruction Victor Duruy, widened the scope of the award to include non-teaching persons who had otherwise made contributions to education[5][6] and culture, including foreigners. It was also made available to French expatriates who made major contributions to learning or education in the wider world.[citation needed]

Order (1955–today)[edit]

Certificate of Ordre des Palmes académiques

The present Ordre des Palmes académiques was instituted on 4 October 1955 by President René Coty. In 1963 the French system of orders was reformed under President Charles de Gaulle. A number of so-called "ministerial orders" were consolidated into the Ordre national du Mérite. De Gaulle, however, was fond of the Ordre des Palmes académiques and decided to keep it as a separate order.[6] Since 1955, the Ordre des Palmes académiques has had three grades,[3] each with a fixed annual number of new recipients or promotions:[5]

  • Commander (Commandeur) – gold palm of 60 mm surmounted by a laurel wreath (couronne) worn on necklet,[2] limited to 280 annually;[5]
  • Officer (Officier) – gold palm of 55 mm worn on ribbon with rosette on left breast,[2] limited to 1523 annually;[5]
  • Knight (Chevalier) – silver palm of 50 mm worn on ribbon on left breast,[2] limited to 4547 annually.[5]

The order is conferred for services to the universities, in teaching or in scientific work.[3] It can be conferred on both French citizens, including those residing abroad, and foreigners. The minimum age of conferment is 35 years. Promotion to a higher grade usually requires five years in the lower rank.[5] The order is administered by a council whose president is the Minister of National Education.[3] Decisions on nominations and promotions are proposed by the minister and formally decided by the Prime Minister. Decisions are announced annually on 1 January, New Year's Day and 14 July, Bastille Day.[5] For those not connected to state-sponsored public education, or the Ministry of National Education, the announcements are made on New Year's Day and for all others on Bastille Day.[citation needed] In 2018, the annual quotas were cut by almost half to their present level.[5]

Notable recipients[edit]

French recipients[edit]

Foreign recipients[edit]

  • Shi Zhengli, virologist and Director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  • James Platt, Director of the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges, London.
  • Hassan Warrag (2015), Professor, Vice-chancellor, Gezira University, Sudan.
  • Nour Eldin Satti (2016), PhD, Diplomat, Sudan.
  • Osman M. Elkheir (2017), PhD, Architect, Sudan.
  • Ahmed H. Fahal (2017), Professor of Surgery at the University of Khartoum, who especially in Mycetoma.
  • Guy Bennett, American writer and translator, Professor at Otis College of Art and Design
  • Obilo Ng’ong’o - Kenyan Pedagogist and Thespian from Narkuru
  • Leo Benardo, American foreign language educator
  • Bruno Bernard, Belgian professor and writer on export and business ethics[12]
  • Mimoza Ceka, teaching assistant of French Language in University of Tetovo, primary school teacher of French language in primary school "LIRIA" - Tetovo, and a collaborator of Alliance Française and Institut Français in North Macedonia.
  • Herbert Clemone De Ley Jr, American professor of French at the University of Illinois
  • Mary Riter Hamilton, Canada’s first female battlefield artist
  • Louis Dewis, born Isidore Louis Dewachter in Belgium. Merchant and later a post-impressionist painter, he was honoured for his civic endeavors in the early 1900s
  • Allan L. Goldstein, American biochemist and co-discoverer of the Thymosins
  • Jane Robert, American educator and former president of the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA
  • Erskine Gwynne (1898-1948) American publisher of Paris-based Boulevardier paper, 1927-1932
  • Ralph M. Hester, Professor of French, Stanford University, co-author of Découverte et Création, the most widely used textbook for teaching French in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2000, Hester launched the Interdisciplinary Institute of French Studies, now the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, with partner funds from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • John Kneller, English-American professor and fifth President of Brooklyn College
  • Francis L. Lawrence, American educator and scholar specializing in French literature; classical drama and baroque poetry, President of Rutgers University 1990–2002[13]
  • Alice Lemieux-Lévesque, Canadian-American writer
  • Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho (2018)
  • Ahmad Kamyabi Mask, Iranian littérateur, writer, translator, publisher and Professor Emeritus of Modern Drama and Theater of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Tehran
  • Abdon Laus, Algerian-American bassoonist and saxophonist, principal bassoon of Boston Symphony Orchestra, played noted bassoon solo at the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
  • Alfred Noe, Austrian historian of Romance studies
  • Michael D. Oates, PhD, Professor of Modern Languages (French) at the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Zeus Salazar, Filipino Historian
  • Léopold Sédar Senghor,[7] Senegalese poet, theoretician of Négritude, first President of Senegal (1960–80), and the first African to be elected as a member of the Académie française
  • Ali-Akbar Siassi, Iranian intellectual and psychologist who served as the country's Foreign Minister, Minister of Education and Chancellor of the University of Tehran.
  • Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, Slovene composer, conductor, pianist and musicologist
  • Javad Tabatabai, Iranian philosopher and political scientist, Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran[14]
  • Buddy Wentworth, Namibian deputy education minister, for his contributions to the Namibian independence struggle[15]
  • Brian Zager, Principal Lafayette Academy, Founder of first Middle School Dual Language French Program in Manhattan; built a successful program of French; Native New Yorkers; through a rigorous curriculum earning the label Franceducation. Principal Zager met with First Lady Briggite Macron in September 2019 to collaborate on and discuss social emotional learning.
  • Andrea Zitolo, Italian physical-chemist and material scientist
  • Ganjar Kurnia, Indonesian academist, Rector of Padjadjaran University (2007-2015), Educational and Cultural Attache Embassy of Indonesia, Paris
  • Abdul Hafeez Mirza, Pakistani educationist, author, tourism worker and cultural activist. Professor of French at University of the Punjab, Forman Christian College ,[16] Aitchison College and Alliance Francaise Lahore. Former General Manager at Tourism Development Corporation Punjab.
  • Mahmud Syaltout, Indonesian lecturer-researcher on Western Europe Comparative Politics, Geopolitics, Cyberspace and Digital Diplomacy and Methodology of International Relations and Economic Intelligence at the University of Indonesia and Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy.[17] He is also an activist of Gerakan Pemuda Ansor and LAKPESDAM Nahdlatul Ulama and currently working as a member of experts team of Ministry of Religious Affairs, H.E. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas.[18] In 2020, Syaltout, a French political expert at the University of Indonesia, dared to speak bluntly about Macron not being anti-Islam.[19] In 2017, on the orders of Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Chairperson of Ansor Youth Movement, Syaltout led research on the massacre of the Rohingya ethnic group in Rakhine State, Myanmar, explaining that the conflict was a geopolitical conflict over natural resources, not a religious conflict and not just a violation of human rights, and at the same time offered the best scenarios for resolving the conflict based on the Game Theory approach.[20] Also in 2017, Mahmud Syaltout together with Muhammad Zulkarnain and Alfon Satria Harbi, representing ANP-INSIGHT, a Business and Economic Intelligence company, won an academic poster competition in the field of Mixed-Methods at the 2017 MQIC Conference organized by MAXQDA in Berlin, Germany.[21]
  • Dr. Navis Sybil Abarna Roy Morais, HoD and Assistant Professor in French dept at Loyola College, Chennai. she is from Vembar.Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Dr Hassan Chalabi (Jalabi / el Shalabi ) (2008), Iraqi-Lebanese, Director of the Islamic University of Lebanon from 1996 until 2015.
  • A. Majeed Khan, Bangladeshi educator for education, science and culture.[22]
  • Micheal Hawcroft, Associate Professor of French at the University of Oxford, a specialist in Racine and Molier. Notable former students include L. Inglesfield. [23]
  • Yvonne Schiff Kennedy, founder of French language nursery school "Le Jardin d’Enfants" in New Hope, PA that served the community from 1935-1962


The badge, unchanged since its creation in 1808, consists of a pair of violet-enamelled palm branches. It is suspended from a plain violet ribbon.[1]

Member/Knight (Chevalier) Officer (Officier) Commander (Commandeur)


  1. ^ a b c Hieronymussen, Poul Ohm (1970). Orders, medals, and decorations of Britain and Europe in colour. London, U.K.: Blandford Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7137-0445-7. OCLC 768124951.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Décret n°55-1323 du 4 octobre 1955 portant institution d'un ordre des Palmes académiques". Legifrance (in French). French Republic. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hieronymussen, Paul (1967). Orders and Decorations of Europe in Color. Translated by Crowley, Christine. New York: Macmillan. p. 162. OCLC 1150984867.
  4. ^ Sainty, Guy Stair; Heydel-Mankoo, Rafal, eds. (2006). World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. Vol. 2. Wilmington: Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 1134. ISBN 978-0-9711966-7-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "L'Ordre des Palmes Académiques" (in French). Association des Membres de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Historique des Palmes académiques" (in French). Association des Membres de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Les Palmes académiques, la plus ancienne distinction civile". Le Parisien (in French). 22 February 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Monique Adolphe". Académie royale de médecine de Belgique (in French). Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  9. ^ Evangelista, Nick (1994). The Encyclopedia of the Sword. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-313-27896-9. OCLC 29954316.
  10. ^ "Les Palmes académiques pour le président de l'Alliance Française de Providence, États-Unis" (in French). Fondation des Alliances Françaises. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Henri Rousseau : Selected Chronology" (PDF). Moma.org. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Ambassade de France à Bruxelles". Be.ambafrance.org (in French). 24 April 2020. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  13. ^ Lawrence, Francis L. Leadership in Higher Education: Views from the Presidency (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2006), 345.
  14. ^ "Javad Tatabai". Institut d'études avancées de Paris. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Former deputy minister Wentworth dies". The Namibian. 5 June 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Award Ceremony of Mr. Hafeez Mirza | Alliance Française de Lahore". Aflahore.org. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Dosen UI Mahmud Syaltout Raih Palmes Academiques dari Pemerintah Prancis | detik.com" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  18. ^ "Mahmud Syaltout, Orang Indonesia yang Dapat Gelar Kehormatan dari Pemerintah Prancis Tahun Ini | NU Online" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Blak-Blakan Pakar UI Bicara Macron Tidak Anti-Islam | detik.com" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  20. ^ "GP Ansor: Konflik Geopolitik adalah Akar Tragedi Rohingya | Kompas" (in Indonesian). September 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  21. ^ "MQIC 2017 – Conference Report | MAXQDA". 8 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  22. ^ "A Majeed Khan, an educationist and founder of IUB, dies". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Dr Michael Hawcroft". Retrieved 18 April 2024.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mirabel-Sérodes, Françoise (2008). Les palmes académiques (in French). Paris: NANEditions. ISBN 978-2-84368-072-4. OCLC 377991989.
  • Foëx, Emile (1978). Historie des Palmes Académiques (in French). Paris: Imprimerie Nationale.

External links[edit]