The CERI: 70 years of international research
The year 2022 is important for CERI in two ways. Firstly, because the centre, which has been located at 56 rue Jacob since 2000, will move to 28 Rue des Saints-Pères as part of the reorganisation of the Sciences Po campus in Paris. As of next summer, researchers, doctoral students and research support staff will therefore be brought together in a single location, where we will also welcome the public for our seminars, conferences, and workshops.
Furthermore, CERI is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. This is a respectable age, obviously a sign of persisting good health. We have come a long way since 1952, when CERI was founded as a small structure, initially consisting of only three people, operating within the realm of the FNSP’s library and resource services! Today, CERI has 52 permanent researchers, 76 doctoral students, 14 members of the administrative staff, as well as ten or so short-term researchers working on specific projects. Despite this undeniable demographic growth, despite the broadening of research themes, despite opening up to more disciplines (beyond the two original fields of history and political science), CERI has remained faithful to the twofold mission set by its founders, Jean Meyriat and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle. CERI’s first purpose was to study international relations, i.e. the relations between States, swaying between cooperation and conflict. The study of IR had begun within French universities between the two World Wars, but it was only the establishment of the Centre d'études des relations internationales (as CERI was originally called)—following the example of the United States and with the backing of American grant-making foundations—that made possible its advent as a distinct and structured academic domain. In parallel, from the very outset, CERI was also meant to develop an approach dedicated to the study of “cultural areas” and, for a long time, was organised into “geographical sections” (USSR-China, Mediterranean Europe, European politics, United States, etc.). In the early years, country-oriented research was essentially focused on foreign policy analysis, but from the 1960s onwards, CERI welcomed researchers interested in domestics policies and institutions before increasingly opening up to the in-depth study of societies. This dual approach to international —but also, transnational, inasmuch extended to non-State actors—relations and regional studies remains CERI’s foremost hallmark and is reflected in its current name of “Centre for International Studies”. It is also worth noting the long-standing and fruitful collaboration with the CNRS, with which CERI has been associated since 1967 before becoming a joint research unit in 2002.
As part of CERI’s 70th anniversary, which we are celebrating in conjunction with Sciences Po’s 150th anniversary, a multi-faceted action plan will be implemented throughout 2022. Our scientific events and publications will be marked with the “70 years” label, which was first unveiled in our New Year’s greeting card. A distinct website will be designed around seven broad themes symbolizing CERI’s seven decades of existence, with contributions by members of the entire CERI community. It will be online before the summer and will continue beyond the year 2022.
The 70th anniversary celebration will continue in the autumn with the organisation of scientific events bringing together CERI researchers and colleagues with whom we are in constant dialogue. This will be the high point of this special year.
Unfortunately, this anniversary will not be completely joyful as long as our colleague Fariba Adelkhah remains detained in Iran. Fariba was arrested in Tehran on the 5th of June 2019, and had been under house arrest since October 2020, but was brutally re-incarcerated in the Evin prison on 12 January 2022. Our collective indignation at the arbitrariness of the Iranian authorities is coupled with real concern for Fariba’s well-being, despite her tremendous resilience. We fervently hope that 2022 will finally be the year of her unconditional release. It would be the most beautiful gift for the 70th anniversary of CERI. Freedom for Fariba, freedom for research!