Chair in Sovereign Debt

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This Chair will bring together sovereign debt practitioners and renowned academics in economics, law, finance, history, international relations, and political science to rethink sovereign funding from a multidisciplinary perspective. It aims to become the leading center for research, teaching, and debate on the issue in France and Europe.

Hosted by the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA),The Sciences Po Chair in Sovereign Debt was launched on 27 November 2019, with an inaugural conference featuring former Greek prime minister Aléxis Tsípras.


Sovereign debt sustainability, the nature of financing needs, the nature of debt, and the need for improved transparency have become key issues both for ensuring sustainable economic growth and reducing inequalities.

In a context where the creditor landscape and the debt structures of emerging market sovereigns are evolving, and public debt levels are at historic highs, preventing and reducing sovereign debt vulnerabilities, coordinating creditors, defining sustainable debt levels and resolving debt crises are all key challenges. To meet them, it is essential to develop a deeper understanding of the situations and choices of the past decades and to reflect thoroughly on the solutions to be invented for the future.

France is home to the Paris Club, the “main international forum for restructuring official bilateral debt claims”. More than four hundred negotiations involving ninety countries have been conducted through this forum. Yet so far, no academic focal point has been set up in France on sovereign debt issues.

Through the conferences it will organize, the courses it will deliver, and the research and publications it will support, the Chair in Sovereign Debt aims to become an intellectual leader on sovereign finance in France and Europe.


Overall responsibility for the Chair lies with the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) and its dean Enrico Letta, former prime minister of Italy.

The chairholder is Stéphane Guibaud, associate professor in Sciences Po’s Department of Economics and an international finance specialist. He is responsible for the Chair’s academic leadership.

The Chair is funded by one exclusive sponsor: Global Sovereign Advisory, founded by Anne-Laure Kiechel.

The Chair’s governance structure includes two key committees:


The Chair’s research activities will cover several main themes, including:

The research programme will be refined throughout 2020 according to the priorities established by the academic committee.

Teaching activities

Case studies

As part of the Chair, a new teaching module is being introduced based on case studies drawn from real debt restructuring episodes. The academic committee will determine the sequence of cases studied during the seminars, which may include, for example, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Gambia, Greece, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

One seminar will be offered per semester from January 2020, with guest instructors including political leaders involved in the cases, and IMF officials, private creditors, lawyers, and economists involved in determining the solutions.

Each seminar will be taught over 24 hours organised in several sessions:

These seminars will be open to any member of the student body, faculty or professional community interested in the issues of sovereign finance, within the number of places available. The module is credit-bearing and participants will be assessed.

A specific “business case database” will be established with the cases developed through the seminars.

A wide range of courses

Sciences Po already offers its students at PSIA, the School of Public Affairs, and the School of Management and Innovation a wide range of courses related to the broader issue of international finance and to sovereign funding more specifically.

The Chair’s objective will be to identify and approve the relevant courses and restructure the whole offering to make it even more appropriate in light of contemporary issues and the research output made possible by the Chair. Dr. Guibaud will develop a series of advanced courses on the subject of sovereign debt for the Master in Economics


The Chair’s events programme will focus on a major annual conference, which will promote the Chair’s work and bring together students, researchers, experts, and political leaders. The topic will be one of the cases studied in the seminars.

The first conference – which served as the Chair’s inaugural event – addressed the Greek case with Aléxis Tsípras on 27 November 2019.

Ad hoc events may be held during the year.


We thank the exclusive sponsor of this Chair:


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