'This medal is to honour [Professor Kosch's] exceptional engagement for Franco-German co-operation', said Consul General Jean-Claude Brunet during his visit to the University. The Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) is an order of chivalry established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808 and one of the highest decorations in France; it is conferred for outstanding services to French education and culture.
'This merit, to me, is an appreciation of my Franco-German activities to intensify university co-operation between the two countries and to actively promote French culture and language in Bavaria and Germany', said Harald Kosch, who has always been an advocate for France and a core Europe based on mutual understanding. In a heartfelt speech, he thanked his family and numerous colleagues from universities and networks, who have lent him support over the years and who travelled to Passau specifically for the award ceremony or followed it from abroad via Skype.
Harald Kosch studied at Technische Universität Munich (TUM) and at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, where he gained his doctorate in 1997 under Lionel Brunie. Subsequently, he worked as Senior Research Assistant at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, before receiving a professorial appointment at the University of Passau in 2006. Professor Kosch is Director of the Doctoral Research Training Group of the Franco-German University, a co-operative effort of INSA Lyon and the University of Passau. The focus of this co-operative structure is on research in intelligent digital systems. Professor Kosch has received numerous awards for his publications and international engagement, including the Award for Services to Internationalisation of the University of Passau in 2013.
The President of the University of Passau, Professor Carola Jungwirth, was one of the first to congratulate Professor Kosch on the knighthood. 'As President of the University, I am very proud of this award and wish to congratulate Professor Kosch', she said. Internationalisation of the University is an important aim, and is supported by a vast number of study, research and teaching partnerships with French institutions. One of the aims of the University is to further the establishment of a European society. 'It is important to work hard to create mutual understanding, particularly in difficult times. Professor Kosch's activities are a substantial contribution towards achieving this aim', said President Carola Jungwirth.
Erika Träger, the Third Mayor of the City of Passau, also congratulated Professor Kosch, saying that this award is a strong expression of appreciation for his personal efforts and that it has made the spirit of friendship between Germany and France palpable. She went on to say that Passau had a close connection with France, a strong affinity for the French language and its culture, and that Professor Kosch was always an amiable and competent partner for guests of the City. Always keen to build bridges, he has been instrumental in strengthening the bilateral partnership between both cities. In 2013, Passau celebrated the 40-year anniversary of relations with its French twin town of Cagnes-sur-mer.