Back-to-School 2020: Schedule of Inaugural Lectures

Discover this year’s guest speakers
  • Inaugural Lecture on the Reims Campus © Thomas Arrivé /Sciences PoInaugural Lecture on the Reims Campus © Thomas Arrivé /Sciences Po

Welcome new and welcome back, Sciences Po students! Despite an unprecedented and peculiar global context, our 2020 Back-to-School programme of inaugural lectures - which are, for many, open to the general public - promises to set you on the right track to begin an inspiring, fulfilling, and challenging academic year.

As always, Sciences Po’s inaugural lectures are a formal occasion that celebrate Sciences Po’s educational programme’s values and ambitions. This year, our prestigious guests of honour include: Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate of Economics, Esther Duflo; Harvard professor and former Chair of Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, Jason Furman; French jurist and judge of the European Court of Human Rights, André Potocki; the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda; the CEO of Voxe, Léonore de Roquefeuil; Karima Delli, French politician and Member of the European Parliament, and Sverker Sorlin, Swedish historian and professor of Environmental History; and our very own FNSP President, Professor Olivier Duhamel.

Find the complete schedule of inaugural lectures below - many of which will be streamed live and open to the public. (For students, a link was sent by your school to participate in the private webinar where you have the possibility to post your questions live). Follow trending topics related to our Back-to-School programme on social media via the hashtag #RentréeScPo.

Schedule of Inaugural Lectures

On 9 September 2020

  • 3:30pm: The Undergraduate College’s Inaugural Lecture, “To be in the world, to be at Sciences Po”, with Olivier Duhamel, President of the FNSP, Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, and Stéphanie Balme, Dean of the Undergraduate College. Follow live on 9 September 2020 from 3:30pm to 4:40pm.

On 10 September 2020

  • 3:30pm: The School of International Affairs’ Inaugural Lecture, "Multilateralism Under Duress: The case for international criminal justice and the international rule of law", with Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. Open to PSIA students only.
  • 5pm: The Urban School’s Inaugural Lecture, “Cities, Climate Crisis and Ecological Transition”, with Karima Delli, Elected Member of the European Parliament, and Sverker Sorlin, Swedish historian and professor of Environmental History. Follow live on 10 September from 5pm to 6:30pm.

On 11 September 2020

  • 2pm: The School of Management and Innovation’s Inaugural Lecture, "The Post-Crisis World Beyond Public Policy: Stakes and Prospects" with Jason Furman, American Economist and Professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Follow live on 11 September from 2pm to 3pm.
  • 3:30pm: The School of Public Affairs’ Inaugural Lecture, “Good Economics for Harder Times” with Esther Duflo, Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences. Follow live on 11 September from 3:30 to 4:45pm.
  • 5pm: The Law School’s Opening Lecture, “The Judge and Democracy”, with André Potocki, French jurist and judge of the European Court of Human Rights. Open to Law School students only.

On 18 September 2020

All times are Central European Summer Time (GMT+2).

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A "Welcome Pack" for the newcomer students

Discover the digital welcome session for the Fall semester
  • Welcome Pack ©Cienpies DesignWelcome Pack ©Cienpies Design

The start of the 2020/2021 academic year allows all of our students to embark on a new year at Sciences Po in a safe and serene manner. With both physical campuses and an all-new digital campus available to them, courses have been redesigned to best suit all students.

To meet health requirements and maintain equality between students regardless of their country of origin, Sciences Po has set up a new academic offer detailed on this dedicated page.

In order to provide students with all the useful information for the success of their semester or year, here is the "Welcome Pack" which gathers all the necessary items for a good understanding of Sciences Po and a personalized support by the dedicated teams.

This page offers the possibility to discover the welcome speech of the international direction, to watch the presentations of the programmes and the teams, to prepare the academic semester, to register on social networks and applications, to get involved with the student associations, and to appreciate French culture.

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Key takeaways from a semester unlike any other

Results of our survey
  • A student in the library post-lockdown @Caroline Maufroid/ Sciences PoA student in the library post-lockdown @Caroline Maufroid/ Sciences Po

The 2019/2020 academic year has come to an end, and our students have experienced a semester unlike any other. What takeaways can we draw from this unprecedented period? How did this hurried switchover go over for students and teachers? The verdict that we are able to draw today shows a successful adjustment for the vast majority and provides useful lessons for the upcoming semester.

On 16 March, the start of the lockdown in France, Sciences Po closed its doors to teachers and students for the first time in its history. On 23 March, the semester was resumed fully online for five equally historic weeks, closing with a session of online exams and a Grand écrit (written exam) instead of the Grand oral (oral exam). Altogether, there were nearly 70,000 online classes and meetings, over 571,000 hours of exchanges and nearly 7,000 assignments "turned in" in the digital space, which replaced traditional classrooms.

What conclusions can be drawn from this unprecedented experience? The survey carried out at the end of April by the Institute of Skills and Innovation* shows that the system put in place has brought overall satisfaction, with 9 teachers out of 10 and 3 students out of 4 who report being “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied”.

Room for innovation for teachers

The vast majority of teachers report being satisfied with students’ attention, attendance and level of interaction. For the most part, they adapted their classes, both on the content level - syllabus and assessment methods - and on the practical teaching level, by shortening the sessions, and by offering more detailed instructions and alternative resources. Other than Zoom, which was available to everyone, teachers report frequently using... email, but also shared folders online, as well as the Moodle platform. “Teachers did not just lecture: they took advantage of this phase to test different innovations”, observes Jean-Pierre Berthet. 

As for students, 86% spent 4 hours a day or less in online classes, and ¾ of them declared being quite satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. The remote classes system was overall well-received, even though some report certain learning difficulties, mainly citing difficulties staying attentive and maintaining motivation. Many of the students who answered the survey also report having to deal with organisational difficulties or an unfavourable work environment.

“The solution is not 100% online”

“The analysis of these positive outcomes and the difficulties faced constitutes a very important lever in designing the upcoming semester, which will operate on an entirely different model: the dual campus model,” explains Jean-Pierre Berthet. "We're building from a massive emergency switch into a more nuanced hybrid model. The solution lies not in a 100% face-to-face, nor 100% online, but in finding a balance to combine the best of both, thinking of both the students who are physically present and those who will be remote, in other countries, and in other time zones. We will have to take care to produce more varied, shorter formats, to reinforce support and tailored tutoring for remote students.”

The last key takeaway of this semester is the massive use of Zoom for online socialising: nearly 80% of students used it to work in groups, 6 out of 10 report using it to exchange with other students, and 4 out of 10 to connect with family and friends. “We wanted to provide a Zoom license for students to use freely,” specifies Jean-Pierre Berthet, “because in such a particular context, keeping social ties and a social life is absolutely essential for success.

The Sciences Po Editorial Team


  • 67,700 classes and meetings held on Zoom
  • 556,000 participants
  • 571,448 cumulated hours
  • 72% of classes of 2 to 10 students, 14% of classes of 11 to 50 students, and 3% over 50 students
  • 217 new classes opened on Moodle, a 20% increase
  • 69 exam rooms opened online and 6,659 assignments turned in 

* 671 teachers and nearly 2,000 students responded to the survey conducted by the Institute for Skills and Innovation between 29 May 29 and 5 April 2020.

> Read more: A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

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A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

Modalities of the Fall 2020 semester
  • ©Sciences Po©Sciences Po

After a successful online spring 2020 semester despite an unprecedented emergency context, the start of the 2020/2021 academic year will allow all of our students to embark on a new year at Sciences Po in a safe and serene manner. With both physical campuses and an all-new digital campus available to them, courses have been redesigned to best suit all students.

From a “pedagogical crisis” to a new digital opportunity

The spring semester 2020 will be remembered by many as a jump without a parachute into the unknown: from nearly one day to the next, Sciences Po switched to all-online classes and exams for the remaining five weeks of the semester. Even though various initiatives existed, and the Institute for Skills and Innovation had been created since January 2020, like in most institutes of higher education, the Covid-19 crisis shoved our model into another dimension.  > Read the interview with Benedict Durand on Sciences Po’s transition online

This semester leaves us with multiple important lessons. Some are positive: the majority of students and professors reported being happy with their adjusted experience. There are also some negatives: problems with connection or with loss of motivation, as well as loneliness, have impacted daily life for some students. Sciences Po’s conclusions are clear: neither 100% online nor 100% in-person teaching is the solution. >> Read the article “Key takeaways from the first all-online semester”

For this first semester of the year 2020/2021, Sciences Po will thus adopt an all-new and multiform arrangement, with 100% of teaching taking place online, and simultaneously, 100% of the student experience to be lived on campus

Online classes centred around interaction

The upcoming academic year will be enriched by a new dimension: the online campus. This expansion of our digital space will be a definitive step forwards in our teaching capacity. Nonetheless, in-person classes will still return progressively, as and when sanitary conditions allow.

“The new online campus that we are inaugurating at the start of the semester will exist side-by-side with our existing physical campus, and will reinforce and expand it. But it is not a matter of simply mirroring the usual pedagogical models,” explains Bénédicte Durand, Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

To overcome the drawbacks observed during the spring semester 2020, these models will be partially alleviated. Teachers are invited to redesign lectures by adapting them to an online teaching model, taking into account best practices that were tested the past semester: offering different teaching sequences within the allocated class time, articulating the study of concepts that are assigned before the course in order to allow for thoughtful interactions during the online session... These practices are the subject of specific guides that have been distributed to all teachers. "This model could inspire evolutions in “traditional” classes, lectures or workshops,” adds Bénédicte Durand.

Sciences Po is preparing to implement this new form of teaching by dedicating additional funds to the recruitment of teaching assistants and student tutors to provide students with additional support. The Institute for Skills and Innovation has been continuing to accompany our teaching staff, providing training on digital tools and presenting them with various pedagogical methods that will allow for reinforced interaction in classes.

Our physical campuses 100% open

“Our seven campuses in France will be open at the start of the academic year,” states Bénédicte Durand. Students will be able to take classes, work in groups and on case studies, take part in collective projects, student associations, art workshops, social engagements and more, in keeping with the established gathering limit.

More generally, access to the physical campuses will be possible for students who wish to come and work, in particular in the event of connection difficulties. In early July, a survey will be sent in order to know students’ intentions of being physically present.

“There will be particular attention given to“ newcomers,” namely first-year students of the Undergraduate College who will be discovering both Sciences Po and the world of higher education at the start of the school year and for whom we will ensure the widest possible access to in-person classes and activities,” states Myriam Dubois-Monkachi, Director of Studies and Student Success.

These campuses will also be connected to the new digital campus, thanks to new equipment that allows the recording and retransmission of the course. Approximately forty classrooms on the Paris campus and over 70 classrooms on regional campuses will allow for this hybrid education.

In class and beyond: an unprecedented student experience

Welcoming and integrating a new class of students who represent over 150 nationalities is a challenge each new academic year at Sciences Po. The challenge for the 2020/21 academic year will be greater than ever. The formal back-to-school event programme, complete with lectures that will be broadcasted live online, will play a particularly important role in this regard. To overcome the distance, student ambassadors, BDE and student associations will be live animators, in particular via a new internal social network - Whaller - which will be deployed on this occasion, as well as the MySciencesPo application deployed since early 2020.

Intellectual and athletic activities will continue to be offered in-person according to sanitary restrictions in place, coupled with a specific and free online offer. The possibilities of engagement will be even greater thanks to volunteer organisations, proposed in partnership with the Civic Reserve (Réserve civique) and the Benenova platform.

Finally, for all those who will be discovering Sciences Po for the first time, an online one-stop helpdesk will be available. Social and administrative support will be available via online appointments throughout the semester, as was the case during the spring semester. Medical consultations will be accessible remotely and in-person if conditions allow, as will wellness workshops, which were highly popular in the spring and maintained via Zoom.

Calendar, absences, exams, third-year abroad

For the time being, this hybrid system concerns the first semester of the 2020/2021 academic year (autumn 2020). Depending on developments of the current health situation, a new framework may be proposed for the spring semester 2021.

  • The semester will begin on 14 September. The semester will end on the 18 December, as scheduled.
  • Class attendance obligations are maintained and will be monitored, but absences will not be sanctioned. Teachers will ensure participation as a whole.
  • Evaluations and exams of the fall semester will take place mainly online. The terms will be announced at the start of the semester for each course.
  • Third-year students of the Undergraduate College who will not be attending their exchange university during the next semester will follow an original course programme, specially designed for them. They will also be offered new options including, for example, an initiation to research course or an optional free civic learning programme.

The Sciences Po Editorial Team

Meet Zina Akrout, Laureate of the 2020 Max Lazard Award

Interview on her journey so far, distinctive for her unbounded curiosity and in its strong international dimension
  • Photo of Zina Akrout / Copyright Zina AkroutPhoto of Zina Akrout / Copyright Zina Akrout

Zina Akrout is a graduate student in the Master’s of Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs and has been awarded the Max Lazard Prize to carry out her project “Berbers of Tunisia”. Interview on her journey so far, distinctive for her unbounded curiosity and in its strong international dimension.

You completed your undergraduate studies in the dual degree between Sciences Po and UCL. Can you tell us why you chose this programme and what was your experience?

Zina Akrout: I chose the dual degree between Sciences Po and UCL firstly for the curriculum, which requires students to major in a humanities discipline and a European language (French, German, Spanish or Italian depending on the student's background, abilities and choice), which are studied intensively throughout the four years of the degree at both universities. I was highly looking forward to this dual experience and learning from different perspectives. I was also able to tailor the degree based on my personal choices and interests. I chose to spend the first two years on Sciences Po’s Menton campus to be able to study MENA-related courses in addition to Italian (*as of 2020, Italian is no longer offered in Menton) with a specialisation in International Law... I also very much enjoyed going from Sciences Po’s multidisciplinary way of teaching to the more Anglo-Saxon approach at UCL. There, I took Public Policy courses and was able to take specific classes in disciplines such as Urban Politics and Political Geography and also language courses at the same level as Modern Languages students. Overall, the programme was a wonderful experience not only academically speaking but also on a personal level as both settings led me to meet people I can call friends for life and offered great extracurricular opportunities and support.

You took an exchange semester at Bocconi University during your Master's in Public Policy at Sciences Po. Due to the sanitary crisis, your experience abroad was quite different than expected. Can you tell us how the exchange was carried out? How did the experience nonetheless complement your Master's studies overall?

ZA: I chose to spend the final semester of my Master's at the School of Public Affairs on an academic exchange at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. It was indeed an odd time to be in academic exchange and especially in the north of Italy, a region that was tremendously impacted by the sanitary crisis and made quite the headlines. The university closed at the end of February, just two weeks after the start of classes, and switched to online learning immediately. They were very good at adapting to the situation and managed to use online resources and digital tools to ensure the teaching could continue remotely, provided people had space, internet connectivity, and the mindset to do so! The exchange allowed me to take more management and sustainability-related classes to complement my curriculum and to see how Bocconi's "business-school" way of teaching differs from that of Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs. I highly recommend to Master’s students in the future to consider an academic exchange during their gap year or for their last semester, as it is an enriching experience and an option that is not well known!

You recently were awarded the Max Lazard prize for a project entitled "Berbers of Tunisia". Can you tell us about it?

ZA: This project is more of a personal one: as a Franco-Tunisian citizen, I am deeply interested in Berber heritage and identity. My goal is to carry out a field research trip to learn and explore Berber heritage and identity in Tunisia. The Berber community in Tunisia is very much in the minority and has expressed concerns over the lack of official recognition of its identity and culture. I would, therefore, like to conduct a sociological survey on the Berber identity and the feelings of Tunisian citizens of Berber descent to analyse how they apprehend their culture, their integration and their potential revendications. This research would be combined with a field study to map the different existing initiatives for the protection and promotion of Berber culture in Tunisia (mainly in South East Tunisia). This topic is dear to my heart, and I am very grateful to have been awarded the Max Lazard Prize to help me realise this project.

What form will the project take? When do you plan to carry it out?

ZA: The perception and study of the Berber identity in Tunisia are very different from that of other countries in the region and hardly addressed nowadays. I hope to be able to gather enough information and knowledge for this research that could be reusable for those concerned by the matter or interested in the subject. It is mostly a personal and not a professional project, but I intend to go as far as possible in the research and reflection and hopefully bring a modest contribution to giving a voice to people who remain little heard by their government and other groups. Any cultural heritage deserves to be analysed and somehow studied. 

The project will most likely culminate into an article and a video report - depending on if the people interrogated agree to be filmed. If individuals prefer to not speak on camera, I may decide to turn this project into a photo exhibition (virtual or physical) with descriptions. 

I hope to carry out this project this summer, government measures vis à vis the sanitary crisis in France and Tunisia permitting. It also depends on the availability of individuals I hope to interview. If it is not possible this summer, I plan to carry out the field research trip next winter!

What are your plans for the future after your graduation?

ZA: At the moment I am still completing my MPP in Digital, New Technology & Public Policy at Sciences Po, and am studying Food Geography at the Sorbonne. After finishing my Master's thesis for that curriculum, I hope to start a career in food policy, and more specifically in the food-tech sector.

Interview by the Sciences Po Editorial Team.

More about the Max Lazard Award

“This grant has been active at Sciences Po since 1956 and has adapted to contextual changes and university reforms by knowing how to cultivate its fund: the thirst for intelligence and the passion for discovery…” - Gérard Wormser

We owe this philanthropic fund to Max Lazard (18765-1953). Max Lazard left his job at his family’s bank to become a volunteer social worker and write a thesis on unemployment. He assisted Albert Thomas during the first world war and later became an activist for civic and political education in Europe. It is with this open mind and the desire to confront oneself with the world, combined with sincere intellectual and personal curiosity that the jury selects laureates for this prize, awarded annually since 1956.

The laureates of this prize receive financial support up to 3,000 euros depending on the cost of their project and are offered the possibility to publish an article or dossier in the “Sens Public” journal - subject to acceptance by its scientific committee.

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Sciences Po Student Services: Helping all our talents to succeed

Hear more about them from Sciences Po’s Director of Students and Teachers’ Support and Services, Francesca Cabiddu
  • Students at the Paris "Meet the Services" Event © Marta Nascimento / Sciences PoStudents at the Paris "Meet the Services" Event © Marta Nascimento / Sciences Po

Succeeding as a student isn’t just about your studies! From accommodation and visas to health and accessibility, Sciences Po staff support students across a whole range of issues. We work hard to free our students of all unnecessary difficulties so that they can complete their studies without hassle and make the most of this unique period in their lives. Our personalised student services are available to students at every stage of their degrees and can be adapted to the full range of their circumstances and needs. Hear more about them from Sciences Po’s Director of Students and Teachers’ Support and Services, Francesca Cabiddu.

Francesca CabidduFrancesca Cabiddu, Director of Students and Teachers’ Support and Services

What support do Sciences Po’s student services provide to students?

Francesca Cabiddu: As well as exceptional academic training and a stimulating environment in which to study, our campuses also offer students a wide range of resources and services. The aim of all of these is to guarantee the quality of life at Sciences Po and to allow students to thrive right the way through their studies. Help finding or securing accommodation, information on visa or residence permit applications, financial support, health and well-being, accessibility improvements for disabled students: whatever the needs of our students, staff guarantee assistance that is attentive to personal circumstances and adapted to the requirements of each.

For example, when it comes to accommodation support, we make hundreds of individual or shared housing offers available to students each year. Our partnerships with public and private bodies allow us to obtain preferential rates on rent and priority access to local leases on every campus.

The activities of our student services are founded on the values of approachability, respect and openness, while also empowering student responsibility and autonomy. We collaborate closely with Sciences Po’s Graduate Schools and campuses, who provide the university’s most direct contact point for students.

How do you reach out to students to publicise the university’s services?

FC: From the moment of admission, our student services are the primary contact guiding new arrivals through their first steps at Sciences Po: we distribute the university’s Student Guide, communicate information about the start of year events and make sure all new students are aware of how to contact the necessary support staff.

In particular, in order to facilitate the integration of new students and to help them with the various administrative procedures that accompany starting university, Sciences Po organises a ‘Meet the Services’ event during the induction period. This event provides an introduction to a huge number of our student services and partners.

This collective mobilisation of our services is also reinforced by a peer-led induction programme. Student ambassadors appointed on all our campuses can supply answers to any questions and are our most effective way of liaising with students on the ground.

Above and beyond our start of year induction events, the support we provide all year round follows a convenient “one-stop-shop” approach. That means that students can find all the information, advice and support they need for extracurricular procedures in a single and centralised location, both on-site and online.

Do specialised initiatives exist for students most in need?

FC: In line with the pioneering commitment Sciences Po made to advancing equal opportunities more than 15 years ago, the university has a particularly active policy of inclusion for students with a disability and refugees. More than 300 disabled students are currently enrolled at Sciences Po, while our professional certificate and linguistic programme, Tremplin, are open to 80 young refugees every year.

We also have services specially designed for international students, who we assist, for example, in residence permit applications and renewals. With international students making up 49% of Sciences Po’s student body, this particular service involves providing one-on-one assistance to a total of several hundred students each year.

In the light of the current health context, what medically related measures have you introduced to support students?

FC: Like other departments at Sciences Po, the Student Induction and Support Department has been fully mobilised since the start of the crisis to maintain continuity across its services. It has been especially vital during this time that we remain available for questions of any kind and provide completely personalised support, particularly for those finding themselves isolated as a result of the crisis. 
In particular, this has meant maintaining and expanding our full range of medical support, with medical staff paying close attention to the evolution of the pandemic and acting on behalf of students requiring psychological support during the lockdown.

We also took the decision to continue our health and well-being workshops, which have taken place via videoconference on Zoom. A series of activity videos to help students stay energised during lockdown was published on our webpage dedicated to student life during confinement.

What new support measures do you plan to roll out for the start of the next academic year?

FC: The staff of our one-stop student desk will be continuing their support in all areas, both on-site and online depending on current health conditions. This will include medical assistance, financial aid, specialised support for the needs of disabled students, administrative assistance for those needing to renew or extend a residence permit and so on.

All welfare or administrative support will be available remotely via Zoom or Google Meet, with an appointment system, as has been the case throughout the Spring Semester 2020. One-on-one meetings on campus for more informal discussions will be possible, exclusively upon appointment for the moment and subject to adaptation in accordance with current government guidelines.

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The Nancy Campus is 20 Years Old!

Our very first regional campus hosts the European programme with a focus on Franco-German relations
  • Nancy campus © Martin Argyroglo / Sciences PoNancy campus © Martin Argyroglo / Sciences Po

In October 2000, 42 first-year and second-year students arrived on Sciences Po’s first international campus outside of Paris, in Nancy. Inaugurated by Richard Descoings, then President of Sciences Po, the Nancy campus hosts the Undergraduate College’s European programme with a focus on Franco-German relations. In twenty years, over 2,000 students have studied at the Nancy campus.

Close to Germany and Luxembourg, and an hour and a half by high-speed train from Paris, Nancy is a student town (approximately 50,000 students live and study in the city) with a strong European identity and international dimension. Visitors to Nancy discover a rich historical legacy, featuring the renowned architectural ensemble around the Place Stanislas—a Unesco World Heritage site—and the École de Nancy, the spearhead of Art Nouveau in France. The campus itself is located in a prestigious eighteenth-century building, the Hôtel des Missions Royales.

A European Specialisation with a focus on Franco-German relations

The Nancy campus hosts 300 students on its campus, for the first two years of their undergraduate degree. Students follow Sciences Po’s multidisciplinary programme in the social sciences with a geographical focus on the political, economic and social aspects of the European Union from a comparative perspective between France and Germany—the engines of European integration and community building. 

The programme is taught mainly in French with some courses in English and German. It covers major European issues such as the creation of a European political area and an integrated economic market while deepening students’ knowledge of the French and German-speaking area, particularly through the seminar run through the Alfred Grosser Chair. Students can study the languages of the region such as German, English and Italian, but also Spanish, Russian, or Swedish. Students on this campus can also choose to pursue a dual degree with University College London (UCL) or Freie Universität Berlin.

Since 2005, students of the Nancy campus take an annual study trip to a European city to visit and meet professionals of European and governmental institutions. In 2019, second-year students went to Brussels to visit the European Parliament, the European Commission, amongst others, and first-year students had the choice between Berlin or Vienna.

Campus life in Nancy also includes annual simulations of the Franco-German Council of Ministers where students take the roles of the German Chancellor and the French President. Sciences Po’s campus in Nancy is also an integral part of CIVICA, the European University of the Social Sciences.

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Back to School 2020: a "dual campus" model

Discover the modalities for the Fall 2020 semester
  • Student in the library © Paul Rentler / Sciences PoStudent in the library © Paul Rentler / Sciences Po

In response to the uncertainty facing universities worldwide with regards to the start of the next academic year, Sciences Po is mobilising to guarantee all its students as complete and demanding an education as ever. Sciences Po remains faithful to the university’s vocation of training free, critical and socially engaged minds, intellectually informed through research and interaction with professionals at the heart of our teaching. It is this wholesome and well-balanced education that will give you the means to act in a world more uncertain now than ever.

A new and innovative system will allow us to open the entirety of the university’s courses to all 14,000 students enrolled in them, as of the 14 September 2020.

In compliance with all new health regulations, Sciences Po will continue to promote the excellence of its courses and will base its new start to the academic year on three central principles:

  • Equality of access for all students to their courses, regardless of their location.
  • Hybridity of course content, which will combine remote learning and on-campus teaching.
  • Adaptability, so that all courses can be adapted according to the evolution of the health situation.

A new and adapted start to the academic year, following the “dual campus” model

Throughout the entire Autumn Semester 2020, all Sciences Po students will have access to a dual campus:

  • A digital campus, providing all course content in a variety of formats, adapted to each class. Any student will be able to complete their entire course remotely.
  • A physical campus, in the seven cities where Sciences Po is lucky enough to be based, will be open and will focus on student activities in small groups: course sessions, tutorials, group projects, small group work, supervised community activities, etc. This physical campus will, of course, remain connected to the rest of the community in order to guarantee the participation of students unable to reach our premises.

This dual campus will combine the advantages of digital and face-to-face teaching by linking them closely. It will remain flexible, so as to offer the most complete and rewarding academic experience possible, including for those who are geographically distant and regardless of how long that distance lasts. It will give special attention to the events of all kinds that punctuate life at our institution and ensure the continuity of Sciences Po’s rich student life for all. Emphasis will be placed on personalised support, in both teaching and technical matters, so as to offer all students optimal access to the digital campus.

This system will build on experience gathered since the end of February, with measures adopted across the board as of the 23 March, during which time all Sciences Po courses have been conducted remotely.

The academic staff of the Undergraduate College and each of the Graduate Schools will provide further information by mid-June regarding the pre-back to school terms as well as the curricula and course modules to be offered for the next academic year.

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Solidarity ©Viktoria Kurpas / ShutterstockMany organisations are currently seeking volunteers to care for individuals in isolation, to maintain a sense of community throughout confinement, and to help those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Safety Guidelines

Simple actions to help protect your health and those around you:

  1. At all times, strive to maintain a safe distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and others.
  2. Always apply barrier gestures to protect yourself and others.
  3. Uphold and champion the safety measures and barrier gestures that you are recommending to beneficiaries and other volunteers.
  4. If you are at all concerned that you might be infected, inform the association and stay at home.
  5. If you suffer from an underlying illness, only engage in remote volunteer work that you can do from home, in order to best protect your health and that of others.

Volunteer or Get Involved

  • (FR): urgent and local assignments from the reserve civique (government platform).
  • (FR): remote assignments, supporting organisations that have been seriously affected by the current situation, facilitated by intermediary organisations.
  • Give blood with the French Blood Establishment (EFS) (FR): blood donations need to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to respond to patients’ needs. You are allowed to travel to a donation centre so long as you are not experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
  • Voisins solidaires (FR): the organisation is offering a free kit entitled “Coronavirus: come together as neighbours” with the objective of helping citizens to organise mutual aid (posters, leaflets, contact details and request forms for assistance to distribute between neighbours). Download the kit (FR).
  • Frontline (FR): if you are young and in good health, get involved in the fight against the epidemic and help a frontline worker or a high-risk individual in your community by helping look after their child or doing their shopping.

Find out more


Entertainment ©Visual Generation / Shutterstock


Shows and concerts


Virtual museum Tours


Fed up of eating pasta? Join the community of student chefs at Cuisine Étudiant (FR).

Open Library Resources, eBooks and Publications

Find out more

Well-Being Activities

Physical activities

Well-Being Activities ©Unitone Vector / ShutterstockEven if rackets, balls and oars may be stowed away for some time, there is no reason why we should have to stop moving during confinement. Certain activities can be done without requiring much space or specific equipment. Classes and tips can be found all over the internet, but for quick and easy access you can also enjoy guidance from our tai chi, pilates, stretching and even yoga instructors, using the short clips that we will regularly make available here and on our Student Life Facebook page.



The Association Sportive's Programme

Check out the Association Sportive’s Facebook page for lots of ideas and tips, including a daily programme they have put together.

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Stay in touch

Stay in Touch ©GoodStudio / ShutterstockDuring this confinement period, we feel it is still extremely important for each and every student to maintain links with the Sciences Po community. Student associations - both cultural and athletic - are not limited to campus walls, and we know that very many of you are continuing to bring your projects to life online.

Find student associations’ digital programmes on the Sciences Po Student Life Facebook Page ( FR).


From 30 March to 6 April

From 6 to 10 April


The Zoom application is the new platform for all of your classes, but it can also be used to stay in touch with your community, hold video conference calls, participate in webinars, and meet for associative or personal projects online.

Find out more: All you need to know about Zoom (FR)

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Support: Resources and Services here for you

If you are alone during this confinement period, let us know

Support: Resources and Services here for you ©tanyabosyk / ShutterstockIf you are spending this confinement period alone, you can notify the Student Life Services services by filling in this form. Please do not hesitate to do so: we are here to help!

Continued Support from the Sciences Po Health Centre

The Sciences Po Health Centres of each campus remain available and equipped to help you if you need.

Particular attention is being given to psychological support: the measures of confinement adopted by the government to restrict the spread of the virus can disrupt our routine, force changes upon our daily lives and create stressful situations.

Students requiring medicinal treatment will be able to receive their medication in pharmacies, even if the prescription has expired. The validity of prescriptions has been extended until the end of May.

Adapted support for students with disabilities

Our team is here to help you establish arrangements in regards to the changes in teaching formats, to support communication between you and your professors, and to take into account any other needs that you may have at this time.

You may be eligible for support in living conditions

Student support services are available online: contact us using this form.

Help Lines

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Advice for coping with isolation

Advice for coping with isolation ©Nina Puankova / ShutterstockIn times of stress, it is important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. A few simple practices can be helpful in coping with isolation: stay in touch with loved ones, establish a routine, don’t be afraid to log out...

Staying in touch with your community

  • Keep in touch with your loved ones and your close friends (via email, through social media, video calls, over the phone…) Set aside several moments every day for making these calls.. 
  • Offer valuable assistance to those who need you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people who you know might be isolated and who might need help. 
  • If you are in complete isolation, you will find that many others are in the same situation! Call them regularly, catch up with one another… It will break up your isolation as well as theirs.

Find your routine

Even astronauts say so! To best habituate ourselves in this confinement period, we need to establish a routine, consisting of regular habits as well as moments of fun and leisure. Some important practices:

  • Limit time spent in bed, and if your living space allows, try to allocate a dedicated workspace.
  • Get dressed in the morning as though you were going out.
  • Prepare balanced meals at regular times of the day. 
  • Maintain physical activity at home, using the activities suggested by student societies
  • Separate your time between work and recreation (by setting out a timetable, for instance) and give yourself regular short breaks: open the window, stretch, look as far away as you are able to (to steady your eyesight). 
  • If you are working in a network with other people, greet them when you come online and signal to them when you finish working for the day - just like you would say “good morning” or “bye”! 
  • Set aside half a day, at least once a week, for rest and recuperation
  • Use an agenda, post-its, or any other tool that helps you to visualise your activities in time, and reserve windows of time in your timetable for progressing with background tasks that require more time. 

And don’t forget to schedule time for fun and leisure in your agenda! An elaborate meal, a phone call, time to meditate…

Log out regularly

  • An incessant stream of information can generate anxiety: stay informed by setting specific points during the day (such as one hour in the morning and another in the evening, or when health authorities make important announcements), and otherwise minimise time spent watching, reading, or listening to information that makes you feel anxious or distressed.
  • Try to limit your screen time (FR), which might mean taking certain measures to reduce temptation: disabling notifications, keeping track of screen time on your devices, etc.
  • Be sure to get information from reliable sources, and with the intention of organising and protecting yourself and your loved ones. Try to stick to official channels and be cautious of rumours and misinformation that frequently circulate over email and messenger services such as Whatsapp. The following two links may be helpful in this: 

If you are in self-isolation

If you are alone in self-isolation, let the Student Life Services know using this form. Please do not hesitate to do so: we are here to help!

If you are taking care of children

  • During this isolation period, when all routine seems to be disrupted, children can experience stress, and might express this in various ways: by being more “clingy”, anxious, elusive, irritable, agitated, or with behaviours such as beginning to wet the bed again. They also observe adults’ emotions, behaviours, and reactions, looking for cues for managing their own emotional upset during this difficult time.
  • Try to respond sympathetically to these changes in behaviour. Listen to their worries, which will often be particular to their age, and give them more affection and attention than usual. Help them find constructive ways to express their emotions, and join in with creative activities (games, drawing…) that can help them to share their emotions. If they have questions, talk to your children sincerely and honestly about COVID-19, using age-appropriate vocabulary.
  • For yourself as well as for them, try to keep your routine as close as possible to normal, and organise every day a rotation between “serious” time (devoted to learning and exercise, for example) and time for relaxation (naps, play, etc). If you are not able to “homeschool” as well as you would like to, or if your child is not cooperating, remember that it’s not the end of the world: sometimes exceptional circumstances require us to be more lenient than usual!

If you have specific health conditions

If you have a cognitive impairment, you may be feeling more anxiety, stress or agitation than usual, or the desire to withdraw. Allow yourself to be supported by your family and friends, if you find this support helpful and effective, or contact a professional or a specialist service.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, ensure that you have at least 15 days worth of medication. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact people in your community or the Sciences Po Health Centre.

If you are a person at high risk, or if you are feeling anxious, plan ahead by writing a list of numbers you might need with contact details for medical services, food delivery services, and family and friends who would be able to help you.


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Student Life During Confinement

Advice and resources on how to stay calm, cope, look after yourself, and keep learning under these circumstances.
  • Experience your confinement in a serene and peaceful way ©Marish / ShutterstockExperience your confinement in a serene and peaceful way ©Marish / Shutterstock

With the COVID-19 pandemic and measures of confinement in effect in France and many other countries, we are navigating an unprecedented period, one for which we have had little time to prepare ourselves. While circumstances may seem different for every one of us, and although some may appear to have less difficulty adapting than others, it is important to remember that the situation is and remains disorienting for us all.

The following information aims to provide you with advice for making it calmly through the confinement period with the support of the teams at Sciences Po. You will also find below some guidelines for continuing to spend time together and stay in touch (online!), to relax, to keep learning, or to help others - depending on your wishes and your availability… Your peace of mind should be the priority!

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Covid-19: Letter to our Communities

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Olivier Duhamel and Frédéric Mion address our communities
  • Le jardin de Sciences Po © Sandrine Gaudin / Sciences PoLe jardin de Sciences Po © Sandrine Gaudin / Sciences Po

Frédéric Mion, Director of Sciences Po, and Olivier Duhamel, President of the FNSP, address our communities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in this communication sent on March 16, 2020. For the latest updates on the situation at Sciences Po and frequently asked questions, visit our Covid-19 Information page.

Dear students, faculty and colleagues,

Over the last few weeks, Sciences Po, like our entire country, has been mobilised to deal with an unprecedented phenomenon, the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic.

Following the announcements made by the French President and Prime Minister, and in accordance with the instructions we have received from the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, as of today, all Sciences Po sites in Paris and the regional campuses will be closed until further notice.

In these grave and exceptional circumstances, please be assured that Sciences Po, in all its constituent parts, is fully mobilised around one essential objective: ensuring the continuity of the essential activities of our institution while preserving the health of all.

You have already been informed of the various arrangements that we have made so far. The Sciences Po teams continue to develop and implement the changes necessary to ensure the smooth running of our institution.

Most importantly, we would like to thank each and every one of you for the patience, understanding, spirit of responsibility and solidarity you have shown since the beginning of this crisis. These virtues will no doubt, alas, be put to further good use in the days and weeks to come. We have no doubt that you will continue to deploy them.

We would also like to express our deepest gratitude and pay tribute to the teams at Sciences Po who have been working tirelessly with admirable dedication, to ensure that our institution can continue to fulfil its mission.

The ordeal that we are currently experiencing goes far beyond the confines of our institution and our communities. It requires us to demonstrate composure, adaptability and a sense of innovation, so that the educational, scientific and intellectual life of our institution may continue in new ways. It also demands that we rally around Sciences Po's fundamental values: knowledge, reflection, debate, exchange and sharing.

With sincere and warm regards,

Olivier Duhamel                      Frédéric Mion
President of the FNSP             Director of Sciences Po

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Covid-19: Latest Updates from Sciences Po and Frequently Asked Questions

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COVID-19: Remote learning

Documents and tutorials for getting started with remote learning
  • © AHGraphic / Shutterstock© AHGraphic / Shutterstock

In order to ensure the pedagogical continuity of your learning, you will have access to a new web-conference service called Zoom. You will be invited by your teachers to join your classes remotely, and you will also be able to create your own meetings for study and group work. You can also use this service to contact your families and thus keep a social link with your loved ones, friends, etc.

You will find below all the documents and tutorials for getting started with this service. We particularly invite you to read the document "Remote learning" in which you will find the operating methods and training tutorials.

How to use ZOOM

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Paving the Way For A Green Future

PAVéS: the self-managed and green student association
  • CAFéS at 28 rue Saint Pères ©Sciences PoCAFéS at 28 rue Saint Pères ©Sciences Po

Eco-friendly, self-managed, and militant, PAVéS is an association committed to tackling questions on climate change at Sciences Po. But it is also well known by students for CAFéS, its ethical and solidarity-focused cafeteria run by students from the Paris campus. We met to talk with two of its members, Ilytie Piroit and Clémentine Sainclair, over an organic coffee. 

What is PAVéS?

Ilytie Piroit: PAVéS is a self-governed, active student association which is essentially orientated around political ecology. The association was created in 2005 in the context of the student protests over the “CPE”, or the First Employment Contract.

Clémentine Sainclair: PAVéS stands for “Plateforme Autogérée à Visée écologique et Solidaire”, or self-governing platform for ecology and solidarity. It is an association which is a springboard for creating and supporting all initiatives linked to ecology and solidarity work. It is also an association that speaks up, as we have a critical view of the productivist and liberal model and its social and ecological consequences. But we also go beyond that by proposing concrete alternatives - even if they are far from being perfect - to what we are against.

What does the association do?

IP: Our two main projects are CAFéS, our self-managed cafeteria, and Sciences Potirons, the school’s AMAP (fruit and vegetable co-operative). The cafeteria takes up a lot of our time, we have about 70 people who work there. It is a meeting place and also a space for debate; we try to forge links with people and to talk about ecology. Thanks to fundraising, we are able to fund projects every term. As for the AMAP, about 300 people benefit weekly from a basket of organic vegetables. These are our main projects, but there are also lots of initiatives which vary year to year. For example: the ethical and solidarity careers fair, orders of reusable menstrual cups, board-game evenings with the association Rolling Dice at CAFéS, and support for Sciences Po Refugee Help and Paris Solidaires. 

CS: We co-organise the Semaine de l’Agriculture paysanne in partnership with several other Parisian universities - this year, with Ecole Polytechnique, the Sorbonne and AgroParisTech - and with the Amis de la Confédération paysanne. Throughout the week we aim to raise awareness surrounding the challenges faced by farmers. For example, we have a lecture on where mass retail fits into a sustainable agricultural system, and a celebratory apéro and other talks. 

Are debate and discussion important for you?

CS: Yes, more than anything we try to contribute to debates about ecology and solidarity. PAVéS slogan is “moins de biens, plus de liens”, which means “fewer goods, greater ties”. As well as being a place where we sell things, our cafeteria is above all a place for discussion, where the coffee becomes a pretext for starting conversation: “We are selling you an organic, fairtrade coffee which comes from this country, why this choice? Let’s talk about it!” But we can also just talk about your day, exams, etc. At CAFéS we are all students, even those of us who are on the other side of the counter!

IP: We strongly encourage discussion and debate! Some people for example put forward their arguments for vegetarianism, whilst others question different ways to protest for climate justice etc. All of this comes out of debate, without us forcing a specific dogma. People have very different positions surrounding such things.

A self-managed association, what does that mean?

CS: The association works horizontally, we do not have a superior decision maker when it comes to group decisions and anyone is free to put forward their own ideas. Anyone who invests their time in the association has as legitimate a claim to make their voice heard and to decide freely how involved they want to be. 

IP: For example, somebody who goes and gets their vegetable basket from Sciences Potirons, has as much of a right to take part in decision-making as someone who has been involved with several projects. Also, we think that all members have equal responsibility in the day-to-day working of the association. Thus, for anybody who wishes to propose a project… they just do it! PAVéS in turn will provide them with the resources to get their project started. 

On a larger scale, what do you think we need to do today so that people know more about ecology and discuss it more often?

IP: At PAVéS, we turn ideas into reality. If they work, it is because people are ready to start the transition and we then offer them a space to grow their project. Nevertheless, few people at PAVéS think that this is enough. Governments and institutions, like Sciences Po, need to put real policies into action, which join together the social and the environmental in an approach where the economy and politics work in the interests of humans and nature. This is our political and ecological vision. 

CS: In order for people to understand ecology, I think we need to be careful that we do not depoliticise it by making it a simple question of a way of life and individual choice. Although the changes and actions each individual takes are very important, it is the whole economic and political system that we need to rethink to create an ecological society.

What are your ambitions for the future?

IP: That all our projects grow bigger! But we keep in mind that when projects grow, you also risk losing control of the quality of things. It would be great if, above all, our projects have a bigger impact! More concretely, we are currently thinking about a second cafeteria project at Sciences Po and we have also suggested to set up a self-managed cafeteria on the future campus of Sciences Po which will open in 2022. We are also working hard to create a “CAFéS Network”; we would like to group together student initiatives like ours in one forum. The aim is to promote the model; we have created a file which describes how to easily set up a self-managed cafe in a university. We realised that people would often ask us questions and that we have developed a true expertise in this field.

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Ecological Transition: Sciences Po Launches a Three-Year Action Plan

Courses, research, campus: all the measures
  • Paris campus - the garden ©Martin Argyroglo/Sciences PoParis campus - the garden ©Martin Argyroglo/Sciences Po

In the face of a climate in crisis and a planet experiencing profound ecological disruption, Sciences Po has set itself an ambitious three-year action plan. This plan will form one part of the much wider Climate Action: Make It Work initiative, launched in 2015. It responds to the institution’s obligations as both a place of study and work and a centre for teaching and learning, in Paris and across the six regional campuses.

Putting environment at the heart of teaching and research

Sciences Po also recognises its responsibility as a site of teaching and the transmission of knowledge. Meeting regularly between April and October 2019, our research and teaching review committee, led by Bruno Latour, has produced an encouraging first report on the place of environmental concerns within our educational ecosystem. A significant and varied range of teaching and research on the environment already exists, which now needs to be expanded and rendered more visible and more accessible to a wider audience. This is the objective of the 2020-2023 roadmap (fr, pdf, 120 Kb) that the institution has set for itself with regards to teaching and research. The roadmap establishes environmental issues as a priority theme for the university, which should feed into all aspects of our teaching and research. Key measures include: 

At undergraduate level

  • The creation of a mandatory core course on the history/sociology of the environment
  • Introduction of exploratory seminars and active educational exercises on each campus
  • An ecological issues certification
  • More opportunities within this field for the Civic Learning Programme

At master’s level

  • A core foundational course in environmental issues for all master’s students
  • Creation of a skills certificate
  • New dual degrees on ecological issues

For doctoral students

  • Creation of an interdisciplinary programme of doctoral research on the subject
  • Creation of a summer school to introduce candidates to the challenges of social science research on the environment

For research

  • Recruitment of at least 15 academics working on issues related to environmental disruption between now and 2023. 

10 Objectives for a “Sustainable Campus”

Sciences Po has also taken action as an organisation, presenting a action plan to reduce the ecological footprint of all its campuses and activities (pdf, 150 Kb). Directly inspired by our climate consultation, organised with students, teachers, and employees in November 2019, this plan takes the form of ten concrete objectives that will reduce our carbon consumption over the next three years:

  1. Reduce pollutant professional trips
  2. Reduce our water and energy consumption
  3. Reduce digital pollution
  4. Reduce single-use plastic waste
  5. Reduce paper consumption
  6. Improve recycling
  7. Promote reuse
  8. Plant new green spaces and implement sustainable management of existing ones
  9. Reinforce our policy on responsible purchasing
  10. Improve the catering offering on our campuses

This plan will build on various other initiatives launched over the course of the last few years: our eco-responsible travel policy, introduced in 2018, the establishment of environmental specifications in public tenders as of 2014, the removal of plastic bottles from our campuses in 2019, communal printer-photocopiers, recycling of waste, and so on.

These institutional commitments follow on from agreements made by Sciences Po and partner universities at the U7+ Alliance international summit, and as part of its collaboration in the European University project, CIVICA. “These plans are the result of a collaboration across the entirety of Sciences Po, with the common goal of taking firm action in response to the climate crisis and mobilising to prepare the world of tomorrow, both with and for our communities", summarised Frédéric Mion, Director of Sciences Po.

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"The Environment is at the heart of students' concerns"

Interview of Carole Meffre, coordinator of the student association Sciences Po Environnement
  • Portrait of Carole Meffre ©Judith Azéma / Sciences PoPortrait of Carole Meffre ©Judith Azéma / Sciences Po

Involved in the association Sciences Po Environnement (FR) since her first year at Sciences Po, Carole Meffre is the coordinator of the Paris campus chapter today, and a master’s student at the School of Public Affairs. She discusses the vision and the challenges of this flagship fixture of campus life which is celebrating its 12th year in 2020.

You joined Sciences Po Environnement during the first year of your bachelor’s degree. You are now a master’s student. What are the reasons behind this long-standing commitment? How has the association evolved over the years?

The environment was one of the main topics of my personal statement when I applied to Sciences Po: my concerns about the subject went back a few years. However, I was truly a novice back then, contrary to the students who join us today: they’re well informed, proactive, and are often deeply invested in multiple associations. They often contact us for information even before arriving at Sciences Po! In the past few years, Sciences Po Environnement has evolved greatly: it’s now a permanent and national structure which brings together more than 250 people across seven campuses. Above all, when the association was born 12 years ago, the subject was considered marginal… Today, the environment is at the heart of students’ concerns. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean we don’t spend a lot of time trying to convince students to take action at all levels, both individually and collectively. 

Today you’re the coordinator for the Paris campus, but you’ve previously occupied other positions within the association. What is Sciences Po Environnement’s role?

We have two missions: on the one side, raising awareness among the student community, and on the other, the transformation of Sciences Po into a sustainable establishment. We organise a large number of events, conferences, themed weeks - most recently, the European Week for Waste Reduction - and very diverse activities that range from thrift sales to cooking classes and DIY workshops. The sensitisation also works through student services, with very simple things like our ‘tassothèque’ (tasse = mug) which allows students to borrow mugs and avoid using disposable cups. But we’re not going to content ourselves with just this: individual actions are necessary, but are not at all sufficient in the face of climate change. We thus have another mission which focuses on eco-empowerment within Sciences Po.

What message and what actions do you undertake on this theme?

Sciences Po Environnement is one of five permanent associations: it is a particularity of Sciences Po. We rely on this strength to project a message of transformation at the level of our own university: this is the objective of our Sustainable Campus team. We have a place at the debate table, and we try to be constructive, professional and credible. We look at what is practiced elsewhere to show what works, not only in France but also in the international universities that students discover during their year abroad. It is a long-term job, not always easy to reconcile with turnover, which is the rule in a student association, but we obtain results, such as a compost, the vegetable garden or waste-sorting. However, from our point of view, these accomplishments are still too few, and we want the institution to be more ambitious, especially in terms of its carbon footprint. We now have a single contact with the new Chief Sustainability Officer at Sciences Po, which is a good sign. Overall, we are also campaigning for more environmental education in our courses - we are eagerly awaiting the report from the Latour committee which has been commissioned to present its findings on the subject. We hope that the initiatives will become a fundamental movement on practices and lessons.

Would you say that Sciences Po Environnement is a political association?

We are a political association, but not a partisan one! For us the environment is without question an issue that transcends all political parties. We try our best to unite all the different trends in political ecology, but this ecumenism is not without debate! But that's what I find fascinating. Some are also involved in other projects, in their own party, neighborhood or city. Others reconcile their commitment to the association with other modes of action, occasional mobilisations, and even civil disobedience. Sciences Po Environnement remains a gateway for students who want to get involved in ecology: it aims to remain wide open!

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Social Sciences Through the Prism of Gender

PRESAGE celebrates 10 years of existence
  • Hélène Périvier and Françoise Milewski ©Thomas ArrivéHélène Périvier and Françoise Milewski ©Thomas Arrivé

PRESAGE, Sciences Po’s Research and Educational Programme on Gender Studies, was created in 2010. With the triple aim of promoting gender-related research, developing the university’s curriculum, and disseminating knowledge within the field, PRESAGE was among the first cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research programmes dedicated to gender studies in France. Meet its founders, Hélène Périvier et Françoise Milewski, both researchers at the Paris-based Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (OFCE). 

How did PRESAGE come in to being?

Hélène Périvier: The PRESAGE programme was born out of my first encounter with Françoise Milewski. We were both economists at the French Economic Observatory (OFCE), one of Sciences Po’s research centres, and we found that we had a shared interest in issues of gender equality, inequality, discrimination, and the whole concept of gender in general.

Françoise Milewski: In 2010 there were a few people at Sciences Po working on these themes but their research was not really visible to the wider public. That’s what made us want to create a multidisciplinary programme that could incorporate both teaching and research.

Hélène Périvier: The idea was to build bridges between research and public debate. Academic research on the subject is extremely rich – conceptually but also in terms of controversy – yet it doesn’t always seem to feed into public debate. That seemed a shame to us because, while each of us may have our own view on issues of gender equality, in reality it is a subject of eminent complexity.

How are gender studies perceived and taught at Sciences Po?

Hélène Périvier: The term ‘gender studies’ is often used to describe a fairly restricted field of research, which looks at issues of sexual identity, sexuality, and socially constructed identity. At Sciences Po we use the term much more broadly to incorporate the study and better understanding of the origins of gender inequality but also of discrimination of all kinds: discrimination on the basis of sexuality, appearance, sex, ethnicity, and so on. The approach to gender here is extremely varied and the axis of the social sciences has a clear impact: Sciences Po’s five key disciplines – history, sociology, political sciences, economy and law – are all brought to bear on the wider field of gender.

Françoise Milewski: What’s really important for us at PRESAGE is the interdisciplinary, cross-cutting approach, which is a question of outlook as much as procedure. The fact of gender studies having its place amongst the body of other research centres at Sciences Po generates exchange between disciplines and reinforces the scientific nature of the work that the centre produces.

10 years on since the creation of the programme, how do you feel about how far it has come?

Hélène Périvier: We’re pretty pleased. We have always been made to feel extremely welcome and our colleagues have contributed enthusiastically to the success of the programme. I could cite Bruno Perreau, now a professor at MIT, Janine Mossuz-Lavau, who was one of the first researchers at Sciences Po to work on themes of gender, and then, of course, the members of our steering committee: Marta Dominguez Folgueras, Réjane Sénac, Elissa Mailänder and Marie Mercat-Bruns.

We have also had the warm support of the philosopher of feminist thought Geneviève Fraisse, who has only taught once over the course of her academic career and chose to do that at Sciences Po. It was a very proud moment! We are also grateful to Françoise Héritier, who supported us a great deal and whose presence on the academic landscape is sorely missed.

Françoise Milewski: Our greatest satisfaction is to have championed interdisciplinarity in research and teaching and to have been able to develop teaching which remains open to the contradictions existing in the field. PRESAGE’s researchers have contributed to academic but also popular debates in relation to current affairs.
Hélène Périvier: We have just established an Advanced Certification in Gender Studies, which will allow Sciences Po graduates with a firm grounding in the field of gender studies to highlight that for potential employers or other institutions. Going forward, we hope to develop the range of courses on offer still further. We are also planning to devise a rolling programme of training courses on gender equality for people already in employment.

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Ekota: Helping Migrants in the Face of Climate Change

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  • The founders of EKOTA ©EKOTAThe founders of EKOTA ©EKOTA

Mas Mahmud and Leen Youssef, former refugees and alumni of Sciences Po, transformed their experiences into a mission to help displaced persons while taking action to counter climate change. Interview.

You recently launched an association called EKOTA. Can you tell us about it? What is the significance of the name EKOTA?

We are four co-founders who share the same values ​​and ideas. A large number of actors work to address the issues of integration of displaced persons (refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, stateless persons). However, we believe displaced persons often know best what their needs are, as well as the barriers they face when addressing those needs. Their awareness of their own resilience and strengths puts them in a better position to act than external actors. Members of host societies that interact daily with displaced persons also have a deeper understanding of integration. The equal participation of these two groups in integration programmes and measures can strengthen support and social cohesion.

That is why we created EKOTA, which means 'unity' in Bengali, with the aim to facilitate and highlight collective and individual actions that address integration issues faced by displaced persons while contributing to raising awareness on climate crisis. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that refugees become actors as opposed to subjects.

Regarding your own journey as a refugee, what were the greatest challenges you had to overcome?

Leen: Starting over is never easy. The language was one of the biggest barriers, but administrative procedures and making new friends were also challenging. Finding a way to validate experiences and transform skills into a job opportunity and trying to build a new life with the weight of the old on our shoulders are not easy, but with our resilience and the support of the host community we manage to do it.

Mas: I would argue that for me there are three challenges: first, constantly being disapproved of and not taken seriously, as a form of stigmatisation and victimisation, especially by those working in the humanitarian field. Second, finding a balance between my life at home and my life here surrounded by a newly built support system is very challenging. Third, just as most displaced persons, another challenge is to be professionally integrated in the employment sector. Overall, because I work in the humanitarian and migration sector, my personal experiences of displacement and the emotions derived from them could also hinder my professional input in some ways.

Leen Youssef and Mas Mahmud

Are there certain issues that impact the lives of displaced persons that are overlooked in the mainstream discussion on the subject of migration?

Leen: All policies and efforts go towards fulfilling basic needs and because we are still struggling with the basics, many problems are overlooked, such as psychological health: there are problems like isolation, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, the challenges of adapting to a new culture, dealing with grief and loss; these problems affect employment and integration and they are seen as secondary problems and sometimes not even acknowledged or considered. That's why it's important to include persons concerned in all aspects of policy and programming, letting them speak and taking into consideration their views. And in addition to this, the fulfilment is based on the needs of the host society who receive them directly, not just displaced persons - and we need to take both points of view into consideration.

Your goal with EKOTA is to link the fields of migration and sustainability. Can you tell us more about how and why these issues are intertwined?

Mas: The climate crisis will lead to more displacement in the decades to come. It will be necessary to be prepared and anticipate responding to a large number of displaced persons who are likely to have different needs. We aim to link migration and sustainability by working with displaced persons and members of host societies to reduce their individual environmental footprint and raise awareness on the issue. Drawing on the lessons learned, we aim to provide our understanding of the root causes of displacement, the different needs of displaced persons due to the climate crisis and provide support to actors to better respond to these needs.

Do you feel that the media treats the subject of migration fairly?

Leen: I feel migration is often associated with threats to the host society. As a carrier and facilitator of news, the media plays a role in contributing to creating fear, in a sense of losing cultural identity due to migration influx, and by using terms such as ‘crisis’. It also plays a role in creating and spreading negative connotations around migration issues, mainly by portraying displaced persons as a mass of people who are primarily vulnerable and in need, and not distinguishing between migration and forced displacement. Migrants are also instrumentalised, especially around election periods.

EKOTA is hosting its first event on 23 December. Can you tell us about it; what is the purpose of this event?

Mas: It is important to come together and share the spirit of Christmas. Many among us, including refugees, are not able to do so. Traditional actors tend to be absent during the festive period. Therefore, we are organising a festive dinner event to create social bonds and promote social cohesion. This event aims at bringing marginalised displaced individuals and Parisians together in the hope that people from different backgrounds can celebrate the end of year festive activities together. We are also asking for people to support us in organising this event by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.

What are your hopes for the association in one, two, five years from now?

Mas: During the first couple of years, we aim to facilitate the roles of displaced persons with any and all actors that work with them and addressing the issue of climate crisis by:

  • organising workshops on reducing individual carbon footprints;
  • organising awareness raising campaigns on issues faced by displaced persons;
  • strengthening the capacities and resilience of displaced individuals and accompanying them in becoming self-sufficient.

Our goals for the association in five years’ time are broader. We aim to ensure that displaced persons possess the ability to influence each decision that affects their well-being, and that these decisions are bolstered through their equal and meaningful participation - while also contributing to the shift towards a sustainable and carbon-neutral society.

If you could change something immediately, from today, what would it be?

Leen: I would enact strict legislation against smugglers who endanger the lives of displaced persons and threaten their families, forcing them to work illegally during their displacement, and often in host societies, to pay off huge debts.

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Have you heard about the Welcome Programme ?

The deadline for registration is 9 December 2019, 10am
  • Welcome Programme Student ©O.H.N.K / Sciences PoWelcome Programme Student ©O.H.N.K / Sciences Po

What is the Welcome Programme?

The Welcome Programme is an integration week for exchange students which will be held in the campus of Paris from 20 to 25 January 2020 and which will offer you the possibility of:

  • Learning the methodology of Sciences Po
  • Understanding French political life
  • Knowing Sciences Po and its functioning
  • Discovering Paris in the best conditions
  • Meeting other international students of more than 50 different nationalities

What are the highlights of the Welcome Programme?

  • An opening ceremony accompanied by a welcome breakfast
  • Workshops on the working methodology, to integrate more effectively into the pedagogy of Sciences Po
  • A conference on French political life
  • Information sessions on housing, administrative registrations, residence cards and student associations
  • Campus visits and an "escape game" in the library
  • Cultural activities: Orsay Museum, discovery of Paris, boat tours on La Seine, wine and cheese tasting
  • Integration activities: Ice breakers, French-speaking times, ...

These activities are offered in French and in English, according to your choice of language during the registration to the Welcome Programme.

How to register?

If you wish to participate in the Welcome Programme, you can register on your Sciences Po student account.

The deadline for registration is 9 December 2019, 10am.

Please note that this programme is optional and costs 250 euros.

Contact us

Student Exchange Team:

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Welcome Programme for exchange students on the Paris campus.

126 Mastercard Scholars to study at Sciences Po

An exceptional scholarship programme for students from Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Current Mastercard scholars ©Sciences PoCurrent Mastercard scholars ©Sciences Po

The Mastercard Foundation, partnered with Sciences Po, provides full scholarships to students from Sub-Saharan Africa who have great academic potential but limited financial resources. Over six years (from 2017 to 2023), this programme will support a total of 126 students admitted to its undergraduate, graduate and summer programmes. This exceptional scholarship programme aims to recruit talented students who aspire to shape the future of the African continent and help them develop their full potential.

In 2020, 5 scholarships at the Bachelor’s level, 15 scholarships at the Master’s level and 12 scholarships for the Summer School will be awarded to students from Sub-Saharan African countries with an outstanding academic record and strong leadership potential, but who face financial and other barriers to higher education.

Mastercard Foundation scholarships are awarded in collaboration with a network of partner institutions authorised to nominate candidates. 

Deadlines to apply are December 5, 2019 for the Master's scholarship, January 29, 2020 for the Bachelor's scholarship and January 19, 2020 for the Summer School scholarship.

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Stiglitz et Zelizer, doctors honoris causa

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  • J.P. Fitoussi, J. Stiglitz, V. Zelizer and J. Lazarus ©Alexis LecomteJ.P. Fitoussi, J. Stiglitz, V. Zelizer and J. Lazarus ©Alexis Lecomte

During a moving ceremony on 13 November 2019, Sciences Po awarded the sociologist Viviana Zelizer and the economist Joseph Stiglitz the titles of Docteur honoris causa. This distinction was given to Dr. Zelizer for her work as the founder of a new school of economic sociology, and to Dr. Stiglitz as the figure of the new Keynesian economy. The invaluable contributions made to their respective disciplines were highlighted in the praises of Jeanne Lazarus and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, respectively.

Created in 1918, the title of Doctor honoris causa is one of the most prestigious distinctions awarded by French higher education institutions to honour "people of foreign nationalities because of outstanding services to science, literature or the arts, to France or to the higher education institution that awards the title."

Source: Sorbonne Université

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