USAIRE Student Awards 2021 laureates' testimony - a unique experience for students!

April 4th, 2022

On the 26th of November took place the USAIRE Thanksgiving Dinner at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, in Paris. The building was already beautifully decorated for Christmas, with a magnificent tree at the entrance stairs. There, we were greeted by the previous ORAJe committee members (Julie, Etienne, Océane, Ophélie and Dan) and met again with the other laureates. Most of us already knew each other, as we had either met at the Pre-student award, which took place at the Paris Air Forum in June, at an USAIRE luncheon or through an ORAJe Aftwerwork. 

After a brief explanation from Julie about the course of the evening, we climbed the stairs and joined the cocktail with the other USAIRE guests. We took this opportunity to talk to various persons involved not only in the aviation industry, but also within the maritime and luxury sectors. 

Suddenly, the music announcing the USAIRE Student Award Ceremony interrupted our discussions. We were asked to proceed towards the stage, where after a short speech, Pascal PARANT proceeded to announce the results of the 2021 Award while Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran gave a trophy to each laureate. At this moment, our stress level was quite high, both from the resulting suspense as well as the fact of being watched by the 280 aviation leaders in the room. Once on the stage, we did not even understand which prizes we had won due to the combined stress and happiness! It was only a few moments later that we realised, we had received a return flight ticket, a check, and several aircraft models. Then we came at the photobooth to Immortalize this moment with sponsors et our colleagues.

The ceremony was followed by the demonstration of the Thanksgiving turkeys under Strauss’ Radetsky March. Finally, we were all invited to proceed towards the dinner tables. The ensuing dinner was punctuated by several speeches, including the USAIRE Personality of the Year Award, which was given to Aengus Kelly, CEO of Aercap. The dinner gave us again the opportunity of fruitful exchanges with the professionals at our tables. 

Beyond this extraordinary evening, the USAIRE Student Awards enabled us to better comprehend the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow’s aviation. The research we did, but also reading the reports of our fellow laureates and interacting with other aviation professionals made us discover new possibilities. This is a great achievement of both USAIRE and ORAJe, bringing together aviation professionals and students, in order to foster innovation.  

This is finally the greatest prize of the award: the opportunity for students from different Universities and different specialities to meet, interact with each other and meet with industry professionals through ORAJe and USAIRE. This is a fabulous opportunity for us, young students, to build an interesting and challenging career. Thank you to all the USAIRE and ORAJe members who make the Student Award and the Thanksgiving dinner possible, and we are very happy and proud to be part of ORAJe! 

Arthur Nichanian