All began as usual, with full classrooms, attentive students, hallways humming with many languages, packed schedules, fresh new year’s resolutions. In January, Ban Ki-Moon spoke as a featured guest at the Paris School of International Affairs’ Youth and Leaders Summit 2020. Then, as part of our climate Make It Work initiative, Sciences Po welcomed traditional Amazonian leaders and Isabelle Autissier [FR], the president of the World Wildlife Fund France to campus. However, in mid-March, France went into lockdown, emptying our university of its students, professors, researchers, and staff. Nonetheless, our essence and mission remained steadfast.
Sciences Po transferred all courses online in just a few days, totalling two million hours of classes. We also set up support services and a fund for students facing difficulty due to the crisis. Sciences Po researchers jumped into action, analysing and publishing studies on the impact of the crisis on society.
Despite the obstacles, our community continued to grow as eight new researchers joined the permanent faculty and the construction of the new Parisian campus proceeded. Although France went into a second lockdown at the end of October, the learning did not stop since we had already implemented a dual campus model in anticipation of this very occurrence.
During a year of change, Sciences Po remained as attractive as ever, marked by the record 20,000 visitors who attended the virtual undergraduate and graduate Sciences Po Open House Days in November. The year culminated in the U7+ Alliance of World Universities Presidential Summit, in which President Mion joined two-dozen university presidents from around the world to discuss how now, more than ever, universities should best engage with the G7 to tackle global challenges.