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SKEMA student voted “Prodigy of the Republic”

Published on 05 May 2021

With the “Prodiges de la République” (Prodigies of the Republic) operation, the government rewards noteworthy French citizens who have stood out for their community work. SKEMA student Benjamin Simonet has been selected by the jury for the Alpes Maritimes department.

​Benjamin Simonet is in the MSc in Artificial Intelligence for Business programme at the Sophia Antipolis campus. He is currently an intern in SKEMA's Knowledge Management & Internal Projects department. Earlier, he had spent eight months on a fixed-term part-time contract as an IT instructor, working with the school's teachers. 

"As a student-instructor since last September, I got to meet Ivan Coste-Manière, director of the MSc Luxury & Fashion Management. We talked about his community activities, in particular with the Action Humanitaire du Pays de Grasse association. My current accommodation at the SKEMA residence meant that I was in contact with a lot of students. The association collects food for highly vulnerable people. They lent me a car to travel between Grasse and the SKEMA campus in Sophia Antipolis, twice a week. The project took off, thanks to word-of-mouth and the students’ proximity, and now over fifty young people have access to this food.”

Benjamin then became more involved in Action Humanitaire du Pays de Grasse, working alongside them to help people affected by Storm Alex last October in Breil-sur-Roya and Tende. 
He also had "the chance to meet the cartoonist Kristian, who at that time was about to publish his collection of drawings on the first lockdown: ‘Everyone locked up!’ When exploring ways of supporting a new cause, we had the idea of a second book, this time focused on animal welfare. The two books were assembled and printed at SKEMA, and registered with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, with Action Humanitaire du Pays de Grasse as publisher," he explains. 

"I am very proud of this award. For me, it symbolises a student community that acts for change and will be a powerful part of my career within the school," he says.

The Prodigies of the Republic operation was launched on 14 December 2020 by Marlène Schiappa, the Minister Delegate for Citizenship, attached to the French Minister of the Interior.
In each department, ‘Prodigies under 30’ (with some exceptions) are recognised and selected by a jury. Each department will also select a ‘Prodigy’ who will receive a cheque for €500 at a ceremony chaired by the minister at the Ministry of the Interior, to be given to the local association of their choice, with the aim of fostering this circle of community spirit.

If health conditions permit, the winners will be invited to a reception staged in their honour in the reception rooms of the prefecture in their department. On this occasion, the Prodigy of the Republic who is to represent the department at the national ceremony chaired by Marlène Schiappa will be chosen.
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