France - Personal background

Jacques René Chirac was born in Paris on 29 November 1932 to François and Marie-Louise Chirac. He attended Lycée Carnot, an old established school. Although an unexceptional student, Jacques did well enough to transfer to the elite Lycée Louis-le-Grand. He graduated in 1950, taking a baccalaureat with honors. Chirac's education continued with his enrollment at l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP/Institute for Political Studies), a university that trained those interested in careers in politics and diplomacy. In the summer of 1953, Chirac studied at Harvard University. Having received his degree in political science from IEP, he planned to enter l'Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA/National School of Administration), another government service school. He was drafted into the army, however, prior to enrollment. After a six-month course at officer's training school, Chirac volunteered for duty in Algeria, where France was engaged in a colonial war. Chirac was involved in a great deal of the fighting and was wounded in action. He won several awards, including the Grand-Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, the Grand-Croix de l'Ordre National du Mérite, and the Croix de la Valoir Militaire. His military service ended in 1957, whereupon he entered ENA in 1958 and graduated in 1959. Chirac and his wife, the former Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, have two daughters.

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