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Twenty-two students participating in Cercle Passeport Telecoms program are off to discover America – thanks to Alcatel-Lucent


Extensive mentoring program sponsored by French telecoms industry gives college students from under privileged backgrounds visibility into the world of work

Paris.- Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that 22 college students will be traveling to America after having successfully participated in the Cercle Passeport Télécoms (Telecoms Passport Circle) “We Made It!” competition. The students will be in the New York area from June 12 to 18, with the trip sponsored by the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alcatel-Lucent.

Ever since it was first set up, the Cercle Passeport Télécoms has supported students from under-privileged backgrounds through their studies and into the world of work. For those following an engineering or management career path, an international dimension is a useful asset, and mastery of English is absolutely indispensable. However, for many of the students in the Cercle Passeport Télécoms program, English language skills remain under-developed.

Back in 2007, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation implemented actions to encourage students to use English, notably through telephone conversations with employees based in the United States. In 2009, following the success of that initiative, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation ran a series of videoconferences between the students in Paris and Alcatel-Lucent employees in Murray Hill, N.J. to give the students a chance to speak English. As part of their conversations, the Alcatel-Lucent employees shared practical information about living in the USA, such as how to find an internship or a summer job, and how to fill in a résumé. They also discussed some of the cultural differences between the two countries.

The Alcatel-Lucent Foundation wanted to take the initiative a step further, by giving students the chance to spend a week in the USA – whence Operation “We Made It!” The competition was launched last February with an e-mail circular to students at the 40 engineering and management colleges that partner the Cercle Passeport Télécoms program.

About 30 students applied. Each dossier, written in English, consisted of a letter saying why they wanted to take part in the program, a reference from a study supervisor, and an essay in English on a subject of their choice. The shortlisted candidates were then interviewed by panel of people from several organizations.

“We were really impressed by the quality of the applications. The 22 shortlisted candidates appeared before a prestigious nine--member jury, including representatives from the US Embassy, the organizations “Parenthèse”, “Humanity In Action” and “Transfer”, a person from [inner-city action group] IMS, a faculty member from a preparatory college and an Alcatel-Lucent Foundation Board member”, says Cercle Passeport Télécoms General Representative Benjamin Blavier.

Thrilled with the level, and the personalities of the students, the jury decided unanimously to select all 22 of the shortlisted candidates. They will be crossing the pond on June 12 and returning on June 18. Hailing from every part of France, they will stay with the families of Alcatel-Lucent employees, and will be introduced to Alcatel-Lucent’s top management team in New Jersey, will meet up with American students and professionals, and will visit New York. The entire trip is financed by the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Alcatel-Lucent.

“This initiative, under the aegis of the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation, is a unique opportunity to reward the progress made in English by the students of the Cercle Passeport Télécoms and to help them build a network overseas. It also demonstrates Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment to greater social and cultural diversity,”saidBéatrice Tassot, the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation Executive Director.

So that everyone can follow what is sure to be an exciting week and, especially, so they can then keep in touch with this new network of students and with everyone they met stateside, Alcatel-Lucent has created a blog (on line Monday) where the students can recount their adventures, swap pictures, and exchange ideas.


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