Prix de la Vocation Bleustein-Blanchet is more exciting than ever

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Antoine Le Moal, a 2015 laureate, is now part of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne

The Fondation pour la Vocation, founded by the advertising genius Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet in December 1959, gives a financial impulse to students, 18 to 30,  who want to achieve their professional dream. So far, 1 748 laureates have been awarded this scholarship thanks to the creator of Publicis. Every year, 20 prizes are given for a “vocation”, four to eight “hope” prizes, and one for a novel and one for poetry are also awarded. The candidates are selected among one thousand applicants by 110 members in 300 different professions. This year, the promotion Benjamin Millepied, named after the French dancer and choreographer, is the 64 th. It was presided by Elisabeth Badinter, daughter of the founder and presented by the wonderful anchor Thomas Sotto.

Allan Petre, 24, an aerospace engineer, is going to be an intern at the Jet Propulsion Lab of NASA

A short film introduces every laureate and it is fascinating to see a young archeologist making digs in Sudan (Lisa Caltagirone), or a chemist searching for a new drug against Pancreatic cancer (Sigrid Lacaille). There were more women than men and many of them studied to become pilots or engineers, doctors and lawyers. Two candidates were Ukrainian, Yehor Bondarenko who does animated images at h Gobelins and Dar’ya Tsukanova, an aerospace engineer.

Yehor Bondarenko studies at the Gobelins and received the prize for Animated movie, here with Benjamin Millepied

One woman from Normandy,  Marie Vay, is a boulangère and explained that the Foundation was helping her concretize her dream to get a training that costs 15 840€.  She is already “Meilleure apprentie de France” and at 23, has become a local star in Pont l’Evêque, near her birthplace of Villerville. In her film she showed how to make croissants at a certain temperature and was charming when she said: “At 4 a m you have to be very awake”.

Marie Vay is a boulangère in Pont l’Evêque, Normandy

Many were studying in the US, at Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Fordham university and already had scholarships but needed just the extra budget to complete their doctorate. A thirty year old music composer, Tobias Feierabend, is a four time laureate of the French conservatory but needed enough money to compose for a year. Yasmina Elmore had a grandfather who was a peasant in Morocco who dreamed of becoming a pilot. She is an aeronautical engineer at Stanford. All have dreams  and manage to fulfill them.

One common denominator to many of these children is that they were raised by single mothers. Obviously strong mothers.

The Class of 2023

A few alumni of the Fondation de la Vocation come back to talk about their life experience. This year Antoine le Moal, a 2015 laureate, danced on stage. It was very moving. He is a member of the Béjart ballet Lausanne company.

And a class of 12 year old kids from Créteil was invited to Théâtre Marigny to hear all these wonderful and inspiring stories.

With 50 year old anchor Thomas Sotto presenting the evening with great talent and a strong sense of humor, we all left the theatre flying on clouds, having gained a huge optimism thanks to all these bright and handsome hard working kids.

Fiora Garenzi, photo reporter works in Ukraine and Yemen and lost all her photo equipment in a blast in Bakhmout. The Foundation’s prize enabled her to buy it back

A special fund is also available to former laureates who need help at some point later in life.

One can contribute to the Foundation in sponsoring prizes and following the careers of these brilliant minds with tax deductible donations from 100€ to 30 000€ or more. Two of Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet’s grandsons gave scholarships.

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