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Study to know, know to understand, understand to act.
The Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), Sciences Po.
A world-class school of international affairs in Paris.
Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs,
Former Lebanese Minister of Culture,
and Former Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General
PSIA is based in Paris, but the only required language is English. What was the rationale?
Paris is a global capital and English has become the lingua franca of international affairs. This is not a contradiction, it is an asset. I could sense that young, inquiring minds across continents understood that studying international affairs in Paris, in addition to the opportunity to learn French, would provide them with a major competitive advantage in their career. Seventy percent of our faculty teaches in English, and subsequently, PSIA has attracted an enormously diverse student body (70 percent international) and faculty
What is distinct about PSIA’s faculty?
PSIA is a place where theory truly meets practice, essential for a leading professional school of international affairs. We rely on Sciences Po’s world-renowned faculty while at the same time attract leading practitioners to join our faculty. Practitioners make up 50 percent of the teaching staff, and most are high-level international leaders in their fields of expertise. In the classroom, you will find diplomats, military figures, development specialists, leaders in the energy sector, writers, directors of international organizations, entrepreneurs, mediators, founders of NGOs, economists, and regional experts. Therefore, I feel PSIA meets two of the most important benchmarks for schools like ours: ensuring the excellence of our intellectual offering and maintaining faculty diversity.
Any examples of who will join your faculty in the upcoming academic year?
In the upcoming academic year, 300 faculty members will once again join us. Among them, without hurting anybody, I can mention Amita Baviskar (Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi), Lakhdar Brahimi (Former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan), Paul Collier (Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of
African Economies at Oxford University), Jean-Davide Levitte (Former Diplomatic Advisor to President Sarkozy), Aryeh Neier (Former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, President of the Open Society Foundations), Larry Pressler (Former U.S. Senator), and David Rieff (journalist and author).
From your perspective as a diplomat and academic, what are you most proud of at PSIA?
PSIA has truly become an intercultural magnet for the best and brightest minds in international affairs by bringing them together in the classroom as students, practitioners, scholars, and world leaders. In my experience, the rise of vibrant and committed communities is a guarantee of progress.
Along with our professors, I have the utmost confidence that our students, past, present, and future, will be the next to join the ranks of the CEOs, presidents, ministers, entrepreneurs, activists, and professors—and of course, leaders of international organizations—that are currently within our classrooms in Paris.
As mentioned by Alvaro de Soto, a fellow PSIA faculty member, renowned international mediator, and former UN Under-Secretary-General, “Seen through the prism of my students these past two years, widely diverse both geographically and in the level and character of their social and educational backgrounds, PSIA is making a distinctive mark as a cutting-edge crucible of global citizenship.”
Paris School of International Affairs
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