Launch of the professional certificate for refugees

A new programme at Sciences Po
  • Students working together ©Sciences PoStudents working together ©Sciences Po

Sciences Po has decided to take its action for refugee students further: starting in September 2018, Sciences Po will offer young refugees a Professional Certificate programme aimed at facilitating their integration onto the job market.

Since 2016, Sciences Po has welcomed 80 student refugees and asylum seekers thanks to the « Welcome Refugees » system. Mohammad Ewaz, a refugee and student at Sciences Po, shares in this video his experience at Sciences Po.

This new certificate, developed thanks to the very active support of Sciences Po students, but also the NGO Wintegreat, teachers, administration and many partners, will help students in difficult situations find their path, be it at Sciences Po or at other institutions, through internships, long-term trainings, or employment.

This new two-year programme, aimed primarily at students under the age of 26, aims to ease job market integration. During the first year, refugee students will follow courses in the humanities and social sciences taught at the Sciences Po Undergraduate College: history, political science, mathematics applied to humanities and social sciences, public speaking, art workshops, etc. During their second year, they will be accompanied in their employment search thanks to personalised mentoring, the completion of an internship, as well as professional workshops that include French classes, initiation to entrepreneurship, and more.

This new certificate aims to open doors, widen opportunities and complete the education offering for refugees seeking employability or the pursuit of their studies.

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Summer in Paris is a moveable feast

Learn about the Sciences Po Summer School
  • Students strolling along the Seine ©Manuel Braun, 2016Students strolling along the Seine ©Manuel Braun, 2016

Every summer, Sciences Po opens the doors of its Parisian campus to students from all over the world for the Sciences Po Summer School. An exceptional opportunity for cultural exchange, immersion and discovery, this year’s activities programme includes theatre and cinema outings, wine tasting classes, day trips to Monet’s home and garden in Giverny, the Loire Valley castles, Normandy, Reims and more. Discover in this video some of the highlights of the 2017 edition from the students themselves.

More about the Sciences Po Summer School

“It’s a unique opportunity to learn about French history, literature or politics in class, and then to be able to see the monuments, museums, and places where it all happened or is still happening,” says Tim, a student from Germany.

With 430 students representing almost 80 different nationalities, the Summer School is a microcosm of Sciences Po’s multicultural student body. Being an international student in Paris doesn’t mean a one-way cultural exchange: “You meet so many people from a variety of backgrounds, and it’s enriching to learn about each other’s cultures while you’re all learning about French culture together,” explains Thomas, a student from Ireland.

“Not just a tourist”

Ultimately, these insights into a new city and culture remain one of the most significant lessons students take away from their time at Sciences Po. “Living in Paris is a different lifestyle than what I’m used to, but now I’m learning to live like a Parisian and exploring the city on my own terms,” concludes Yiyi, from China. “You don’t get this experience when you’re just here as a tourist. When you live here longer, you start to feel the vibe of the city and understand its dynamics.”

The Summer School is currently accepting applications for its 2018 University Programme and Pre-College Programme. Apply now!

Application deadlines

  • University Programme June session: 15 April 2018
  • University Programme July session : 15 May 2018
  • Pre-College Programme : 2 May 2018

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"I believe in service leadership"

Interview of Mastercard Foundation Scholar Astou Diouf
  • Portrait of Astou Diouf ©Didier PazeryPortrait of Astou Diouf ©Didier Pazery

Astou Diouf from Senegal is part of the first cohort of Mastercard Foundation Scholars studying at the Sciences Po campus in Reims. Astou plans one day to start a business in the agri-food industry in Africa.

You are nearing the end of your first year at Sciences Po. What were your first impressions? Did your experience change over the course of the year?

I arrived in a totally new environment and like any newcomer, I had to adapt to the social norms and take care of all the administrative procedures required to get set up here. At first, I was in that exciting phase of discovery of Reims and its beautiful buildings, and I was impressed by the cultural diversity inside and outside Sciences Po. Then as time went by, I had trouble adapting to the climate and keeping up with the coursework, what with the fairly abrupt transition from high school to university. But thanks to very effective academic support and guidance, I gained experience and maturity.

In Senegal, you took part in a summer camp focused on developing leadership and entrepreneurship skills. What qualities do you think a leader or entrepreneur needs today?

To a certain extent, the essential qualities of an entrepreneur or a leader are complementary. They centre on being able to identify the needs of your community and to respond effectively. It’s not a matter of individual action where the aim is to show off your own skills but of collective action that requires the active participation of each member of the community. I believe in service leadership and that’s the basis of my desire to help the needy through practical and impactful involvement.

You are a Mastercard Foundation Scholar and you plan one day to start a business in the agri-food industry. Can you tell us more about that?

The plan is focused on developing Senegal’s agribusiness industry through the transformation of agricultural products, which involves improving producer-consumer relations, industrial restructuring and the development of efficient strategies that suit existing social structures. On a larger scale, the plan’s objective is to promote interregional cooperation in the industry in Africa so as to facilitate economic integration. Given the global dynamics of the agriculture industry, I believe it is imperative to strengthen the sector in Africa and to be able to respond to food and environmental challenges. Thanks to the summer camp I attended, I got interested in various agri-food sectors and I had the privilege of working with students and business leaders who aspire to contribute to the continent’s development. I would like to play my part.

What have you learned at Sciences Po that will help you with your project?

In general, I’ve been able to develop my critical thinking and analytical skills on a given subject through each of the modules I’ve taken. The strong focus on political, economic and social dynamics around the world will help me to study and analyse the factors I’ll need to work on to see my plan through.

How does the Mastercard Foundation programme support you with your experience at Sciences Po and your career plans?

Being a part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars programme and meeting other young Africans who share a love for Africa is really a golden opportunity. Thanks to the superb programme coordinators, Marie Azuelos and Lucille Amsallem, my fellow scholars and I have been able to overcome the difficulties that we’ve faced both academically and socially. With regard to our career plans, we have taken part in several activities that gave us insight into rewarding professional opportunities, such as the Forum Afrique Destination Emplois that was held in Paris. In addition, the programme gives us the chance to build a considerable network through a mentoring scheme and meetings with executives and senior civil servants.

Read more about the first cohort of Sciences Po - Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

"Living in Beirut has confirmed my love for the Middle East

Meet Wendy, student on her 3rd year abroad in Beirut
  • Wendy Trogneux ©Sciences PoWendy Trogneux ©Sciences Po

After spending two years at the Sciences Po Reims campus in the Europe-Africa programme, Wendy Trogneux is spending her third year abroad in Beirut, Lebanon. She is learning Arabic, taking journalism and gender studies classes, interning at the Institute of Women Studies in the Arab World, and immersing herself in the effervescent street art and culture of Beirut. Discover her everyday life.

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The Sciences Po Undergraduate College is over the course of three years and begins on one of our seven campuses: Dijon, Le Havre, Menton, Nancy, Paris, Poitiers and Reims. The third year is spent abroad in one of our 470 partner universities. 


"Even small actions can have a great ripple effect"

Interview of Mastercard Foundation Scholar Zipporah Gakuu
  • Portrait of Zipporah Gakuu ©Didier Pazery / Sciences PoPortrait of Zipporah Gakuu ©Didier Pazery / Sciences Po

Zipporah Gakuu is a first-year student and part of the first cohort of Mastercard Foundation scholars at Sciences Po. From Kenya to her first steps on campus to today, her commitment to giving back to society and defending women and children’s rights is growing everyday.

You are now in your second semester of your studies at Sciences Po. What were your first impressions when you arrived?

My first semester was initially a bit of a hurdle due to the language barrier and the different climate. Today, my French has improved drastically and I am more adjusted to the weather, considering it was my first winter experience!

What have you learned so far that has changed how you apprehend your career goals? 

I have learned that anything is attainable as long as you put your all into whatever it is you want. 

Have you gotten involved in any clubs, athletics or other student life activities on campus? What have these experiences brought you?

I am a member of the SASA Association on campus, which is an association that focuses on African issues. As a member of the Logistics pole, I am immersed and engaged in African issues by discussing and debating with fellow African intellects, but also by coming up with possible solutions to try and act on them. This has enlightened me on the whole scope of possibilities for the African continent to overcome its challenges through unity. I also joined the Amnesty International in Reims and AISEC. Through these associations, I have been able to express my opinion and standpoints on different issues facing humanity. I have become more aware of various human rights issues and their violations. It has encouraged me to not remain silenced whenever these violations occur, and it has made me realize that even small actions such as signing petitions can have a great ripple effect.

After high school, you volunteered at the Child Vision Support Foundation, helping disadvantaged young women access sanitary products. How did this experience shape your aspirations?

I attended a public primary school in Naivasha, Kenya. At thirteen, most of my female classmates were starting their menstrual periods. Some of them would opt for pieces of cloth or cotton as they did not have access to proper sanitary towels. Others would not come to school at all during their menstrual periods. This made me realize the challenge that young school girls faced during this time of the month. Despite the efforts of some NGOs to hand out sanitary towels to adolescent girls, they were never enough. More needed to be done, thus, during my gap year, I decided to volunteer with the organization.

This experience nurtured my passion for community service and giving back to society. It made me a believer in small efforts having huge effects on society. It empowered me and encouraged me to motivate other young girls in my society to come together to achieve the goals they set for themselves and their communities.

You've said that you would like to become further involved in defending women and children's rights in Africa with organizations such as Amnesty International. What main developments would you like to see happen? 

Women and children tend to be the most vulnerable members of society. Their rights are infringed everyday despite the efforts of countless organizations that support them. I dream of a day where gender equality shall be attained, a society where half the population shall no longer be held in silence. My goal is to empower as many young women as I can, as women are the pivots of society. Once a woman’s rights are observed, children also see their rights defended. I imagine a community where no child dies of starvation, no child has to hawk in the streets, no child has to sleep out in the cold, and each and every child has access to basic needs. To achieve this, one needs to understand why these issues arose in the first place, why our societies oppress women and children. Studying social sciences at Sciences Po will give me this knowledge. It will help me understand the process of socialization and maybe then, we can be able to retrace our steps to what went wrong.

How has the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program accompanied you in your learning experience at Sciences Po?

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I have been connected to a strong network of African scholars around the globe, all who are ambitious and true visionaries. More so, Sciences Po has enabled me to network with professionals through forums such as the Forum Afrique Destination Emplois that was held in Paris in November; an enlightening experience. The program has also provided great support for me here at Sciences Po, facilitating my smooth adjustment into the curriculum and the different aspects of life on campus. 

More information

Read more about the first cohort of Sciences Po - Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program