The Paris Institute of Political Studies (French: Institut d'études politiques de Paris, French pronunciation: ​[ɛ̃s.ti.ty de.tyd pɔ.li.tik də pa.ʁi]), commonly referred to as Sciences Po (French pronunciation: ​[sjɑ̃s po]), is the primary institution of higher learning for the French political and administrative elite, and one of the most prestigious and selective European schools in the political sciences. It was founded in 1872 to promote a new class of French politicians in the aftermath of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War,[2] and has since educated, among others, 32 heads of state or government, 7 of the past 8 French Presidents, 3 past heads of the International Monetary Fund, heads of international organizations (including the UN, UNESCO, WTO, IMF, EP and ECB), and 6 of sitting CAC 40 CEOs. The school is also the alma mater of numerous intellectual and cultural figures, such as Marcel Proust, René Rémond, Paul Claudel, and Raymond Aron.

Paris Institute of Political Studies
"Sciences Po"
Logo Sciences Po.svg
Former names
École libre des sciences politiques
TypePublic Higher Education Research Institution
Established1872
Budget€192 million
PresidentFrédéric Mion
Academic staff
216
Students13,000
Undergraduates6,325
Postgraduates7,035
Location,
CampusUrban
AffiliationsCouperin consortium[1]
MascotThe lion and the fox
Websitesciencespo.fr

In 2019, it was ranked as the world's third-best school for politics and international relations.[3]

Sciences Po undertook an ambitious reform agenda starting in the mid-1990s, which broadened its focus to prepare students for the private sector, put an emphasis on the internationalization of the school's curriculum and student body, and established a special admission process for underprivileged applicants. It also expanded outside Paris by establishing additional campuses in Dijon, Le Havre, Menton, Nancy, Poitiers, and Reims. The institution is a member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and the Global Public Policy Network.

Contents

HistoryEdit

1872 to 1945: École Libre des Sciences PolitiquesEdit

 
Sciences Po Founder, Émile Boutmy

Sciences Po was established in February 1872 as the École Libre des Sciences Politiques (ELSP) by a group of French intellectuals, politicians and businessmen led by Émile Boutmy, and including Hippolyte Taine, Ernest Renan, Albert Sorel and Paul Leroy Beaulieu. The creation of the school was in response to widespread fears that the inadequacy of the French political and diplomatic corps would further diminish the country’s international stature, as France grappled with a series of crises, including the defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, the demise of Napoleon III, and the upheaval and massacre resulting from Paris Commune. The founders of the school sought to reform the training of French politicians by establishing a new "breeding ground where nearly all the major, non-technical state commissioners were trained.".[4]

ELSP proved remarkably successful at preparing candidates for entry into senior civil service posts, and acquired a major role in France’s political system. From 1901 to 1935, 92.5% of entrants to the Grands Corps de l'État, the most powerful and prestigious administrative bodies in the French civil service, had studied there (this figure includes people who took civil service examination preparatory classes at Sciences Po but did not earn a degree).[5] By August 1894, the British Association for the Advancement of Science was advocating for the creation of a similar school to advance the study of politics in the Great Britain and Sidney and Beatrice Webb used the Sciences Po curriculum and purpose as an inspiration for creating the London School of Economics a year later.[6]

1945: the École Libre des Sciences Politiques becomes Sciences PoEdit

Sciences Po underwent significant reforms in the aftermath of France's liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945. The humiliation of France's surrender to Nazi Germany and the collapse of the Vichy regime provided the impetus for a major restructuring of the state's institutions.[7][8]

Charles de Gaulle, as leader of France's Provisional Government, appointed Michel Debré to overhaul the recruiting and training of public servants. Even though eight of thirteen ministers in De Gaulle's government, including Debré himself, were Sciences Po alumni, a significant reform of the university seemed inevitable, as it had been instrumental in training the class of leaders whom many accused of complacency in face of Nazi aggression. Communist politicians including Georges Cogniot proposed abolishing the ELSP entirely and founding a new state-run administration college on its premises.[9]

Debré proposed the compromise that was eventually adopted. First, the government established the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), an elite postgraduate college for training government officials. From then on, the Grands Corps de l'Etat had to recruit new entrants from ENA.[10] The change, however, had little impact on Sciences Po's central role in educating the French elite. Although it was now the ENA rather than Sciences Po that fed graduates directly into senior civil service posts, Sciences Po became the university of choice for those hoping to enter the ENA, and so retained its dominant place in educating high-ranking officials.[11]

The reforms also restructured the administration of École libre des sciences politiques (ELSP), by creating two separate legal entities: the Institut d'études politiques (IEP) and the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (English: National Foundation of Political Science) or FNSP. Both entities were tasked by the French government to ensure "the progress and the spread, both within and outside France, of political science, economics, and sociology".[4] FNSP, a private foundation that receives generous subsidies from the government, manages IEP Paris, owns it buildings and library, and determines its budget. The two entities worked together in lockstep, however, as the director of the school is, by tradition, also the administrator of FNSP. This institutional arrangement gave Sciences Po a unique status, as the school draws much of its resources through substantial government subsidies to FNSP, but does not subject it to many government interventions and regulations, giving it a much higher level of autonomy compared to other French universities and schools.[7] The epithet Sciences Po is applied to both entities, which inherited the reputation previously vested in ELSP.[12]

The public-private nature of Sciences Po, Paris, also distinguish it from a network of institutes of political studies throughout the country that were inspired by its curriculum, but do not enjoy the same level of autonomy and prestige, namely in Strasbourg, Lyon, Aix, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Toulouse, and then in Rennes and Lille. They are not to be confused with the seven campuses of Sciences Po in France.

1945 to 1997Edit

Between 1952 and 1969, 77.5% of the ENA’s graduate student intake were Sciences Po alumni.[13]

FNSP further strengthened its role as a scientific publication center with significant donations from the Rockefeller Foundation. FNSP periodicals such as la Revue française de science politique, le Bulletin analytique de documentation, la Chronologie politique africaine, and the Cahiers de la Fondation as well as its seven research centres and main publishing house, Presses de Sciences Po, consolidated the university's reputation as a research hub.[4]

The Richard Descoings era (1997–2012)Edit

 
Emmanuel Macron attended between 1997 and 2001, earning a Master's in Public Affairs[14][15]

Sciences Po underwent various reforms under the directorship of Richard Descoings (1997–2012). The school introduced began requiring all its undergraduate students to spent a year abroad, and introduced a multilingual curriculum in French, English,[16] and other languages. Sciences Po also began to expand outside Paris, establishing regional campuses throughout France.

During this period, Sciences Po also implemented reforms in its admissions process. Previously, Sciences Po recruited its students exclusively on the basis of a competitive examination. This system was seen to favor students from prestigious preparatory high schools, largely attended by the children of the French elite. In 2001, Science Po founded the Equal Opportunity Program, widened its admissions policy.[17] This program enables the institution to recruit high-potential students at partner high schools in more disadvantaged parts of France who, due to a social, academic, and financial constraints, would not otherwise have been able to attend Sciences Po.[18] This process has been accused of being superficial and being in fact a "lotto for poor people".[19]

From 2001 to 2011, the proportion of scholarship students at Sciences Po went from 6 percent to 27 percent.[20]

The reforms Descoings spearheaded were at times controversial, however, and his leadership style came under heavy criticism for "reigning as almighty king"[21] and to implement a "management of fear".[22] A further report by the French Court of Audit in 2012 severely criticized Sciences Po under the Descoigns leadership for its opaque, and possibly illegal, financial management, notably with regard to management salaries.[23]

2013–2022: reorganization and development under President Frédéric MionEdit

Frédéric Mion, a graduate of Sciences Po, ENA and École Normale Supérieure and former secretary general of Canal+, was appointed president of Sciences Po on 1 March 2013.[24] His intention to pursue Sciences Po's development as a "selective university of international standing" is detailed in the policy paper "Sciences Po 2022", published in the spring of 2014. The restructuring of Master's study into graduate schools continued with the creation of the School of Public Affairs[25] and the Urban School in 2015 and the School of Management and Innovation[26] in 2016.

In early 2016, Sciences Po updated its governance structure, adopting new statutes for its two constituent bodies: the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques (FNSP) and the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (IEP).[27] This reform is "the most significant since 1945" and clarifies Sciences Po's governance with new rules, which address observations made by the Cour de comptes in a 2012 report.

In late 2016, Sciences Po acquired a new site, the Hôtel de l'Artillerie in the 6th arrondissement of Paris,[28] which it intends to make the new heart of its urban campus and a seat of "educational renewal". In April 2018, Sciences Po students peacefully blocked the main entrance to the school in protest against Macron's education reforms which, while giving public Universities the power to set admission criteria and rank applicants, may violate the principle of free education for all.[29] While Sciences Po is not affected by this legislation by virtue of it being a private University, students stood in solidarity with protestors at public Universities.

CampusesEdit

Sciences Po has seven campuses in France. Every May, at the end of the academic year, all seven campuses come together for the inter-campus Collegiades de SciencesPo tournament, also known as the MiniCrit. At the tournament, students represent each campus and compete against one another in arts and athletic competitions. Different events include athletic games such as volleyball and football, as well as artistic competitions such as dance and singing.[30][31]

Paris campusEdit

 
The entrance to Sciences Po on Rue Saint-Guillaume
 
Sciences Po garden, between Rue Saint-Guillaume and Rue des Saints-Pères

The Paris campus hosts undergraduate students enrolled in the general curriculum programme, the dual bachelor's degree with UCL as well as all seven graduate schools. The Paris campus is spread across several buildings concentrated around the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6th and 7th arrondissements (districts).[32] The historic centre of Sciences Po at 27 rue Saint-Guillaume houses the head office and central library since 1879. It is also home to Sciences Po's two largest teaching halls, the Amphitheatres Émile Boutmy and Jacques Chapsal. Other buildings include:

  • 117, boulevard Saint-Germain: School of Journalism
  • 199, boulevard Saint-Germain: Doctoral School
  • 174 and 224, boulevard Saint-Germain: offices and classrooms
  • 13, rue de l'Université / The René Rémond building: Law School and administrative offices
  • 8, rue Jean-Sébastien-Bach: Urban School
  • 56, rue des Saints-Pères: Language Lab, audiovisual service and a cartography workshop.
  • 56, rue Jacob: Research Center for History (Centre d'histoire de Sciences Po) and International Relations (Centre d'études et de recherches internationales)
  • rue d'Assas and rue de la Cassette at the Institut Catholique

In 2016 Sciences Po purchased the Hôtel de l’Artillerie, a 17th-century former monastery located 200 meters from its campus on Rue St.Guillaume. The building was previously the property of the French Ministry of Defense and is 14,000 m2 in size. The university has announced its intention to refurbish the building as a major addition to its facilities in Paris. It is estimated that this project will cost around 200 million euros in total.[33][34]

The Hôtel de l’Artillerie will house new facilities for Sciences Po’s graduate programs, including a courtroom for the Law School and a newsroom for the Journalism School. It will also incorporate a cafeteria, study areas and accommodation for 50 to 100 students on scholarships.[35]

Frédéric Mion, the director of Sciences Po, stated his intention to create a campus comparable in quality and capacity to Sciences Po’s most prominent international partner universities such as Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Hong Kong University.[36]

Work will begin at the site in 2018. It is scheduled to open in 2021.[37]

Dijon campusEdit

Located in the region of Burgundy in a magnificent 19th century building, the Dijon campus was created in 2001.

Le Havre CampusEdit

Located on the coast of Normandy, Le Havre has hosted the undergraduate Euro-Asian campus since 2007, recently celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the campus in September 2017. With a choice between 3 majors, including economics and society, politics and government and political humanities, students primarily choose to spend their third year abroad in an Asian country. Furthermore, Le Havre is home to several Dual Degree programs, and welcomes international students from over thirty countries from all around the world. The Le Havre campus is primarily known for its vibrant campus culture, upholding numerous artistic and sports clubs and celebrating important Asian holidays, such Diwali and Chinese New Year. Being situated only two hours away from Paris, the students of this campus are especially fortunate to meet with exceptional guest speakers and be taught by remarkable professors.

Menton campusEdit

Established in the French Riviera city of Menton in 2005, the campus is located in an entirely renovated 19th-century building overlooking the Mediterranean. Menton is home to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean focus branch of Sciences Po. Students study in one of two tracks (anglophone/francophone) and may take one of three core Oriental languages (Arabic, Farsi, or Turkish) and an additional concentration language (Italian or Hebrew) if they are fluent in their core language. The third mandatory year abroad is spent in the Middle East or elsewhere. The Menton campus takes part in the dual BA programmes with Columbia University, University College London, the National University of Singapore, the University of British Columbia, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Hong Kong and the University of Sydney.

Nancy campusEdit

 
Building in Nancy

Established in the region of Lorraine in 2000, the Nancy campus is located in a prestigious 18th century heritage site, the Hôtel des Missions Royales. The curriculum is taught in French, English and German, as it focuses on the European Union and French-German relations.

Poitiers campusEdit

Opened in 2010, the campus is located in the heart of the historic city of Poitiers in the Hôtel Chaboureau, a renovated building dating from the 15th century. The academic programme is focused on Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

Reims campusEdit

 
The entrance to the Reims campus' Museux square

In the heart of the Champagne region, the Reims campus opened in September 2010. It is housed in the 17th century College des Jesuits. It is by far the largest of the regional campuses of Sciences Po, hosting both the Europe-North America program and the Europe-Africa Program as well as an exchange program. In addition to the traditional undergraduate programs, the Reims campus is also host to several dual degree programs, including ones with Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley. As of the beginning of the academic year in 2018, there were roughly 1500 students enrolled across all three programs.

In the fall of 2017, a brand new section of the campus, complete with a new cafeteria and amphitheater was opened to accommodate even more students.

EducationEdit

The academic bodies of Sciences Po consist of the University College, six professional schools, and the Doctoral School. The university also contains a library system, the Presses de Sciences-Po, and holds ties with a number of independent academic institutions, including Columbia University, King's College London, the National University of Singapore, and the Sorbonne Paris Cité alliance.

Undergraduate levelEdit

The Sciences Po Undergraduate College offers a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree with a multidisciplinary foundation in the humanities and social sciences with emphasis on civic, linguistic, artistic, and digital training.[38]

On all campuses, students choose a multidisciplinary major - Politics & Government, Economies & Societies, or Political Humanities. In addition, each campus offers a different regional concentration that anchors students intellectual objectives : Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East-Mediterranean, and North America.

Sciences Po offers dual bachelor's degrees with Columbia University, Keio University, University College London, Freie Universität Berlin, University of British Columbia, the University of Sydney, the National University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong, University of California Berkeley.[38]

Graduate levelEdit

At the graduate level, Sciences Po's seven schools offer one- and two-year Master's programmes and PhD programmes. All graduate programmes are delivered on the Sciences Po campus in Paris. Sciences Po also hosts dual Master's programmes with international partners. Students enrolled in these dual degree programmes spend one year at Sciences Po in Paris and one year at the partner university.[39]

SchoolsEdit

The University College (Collège universitaire) is the home of all undergraduate students. At the graduate level, there are six professional schools:[40]

The Doctoral School offers Master and PhD programmes in law, economics, history, political science, or sociology. The PhD programme contains roughly 600 doctoral candidates.

ResearchEdit

Research at Sciences Po covers economics, law, history, sociology and political science, while also taking in many interdisciplinary topics such as cities, political ecology, sustainable development, socio-economics and globalization.

Sciences Po is home to a research community that includes over 200 researchers and 350 PhD candidates.[41] In 2015, 32% of the university’s budget was devoted to research. That year, 65% of its research publications were in French, 32% in English and 3% in other languages.[42]

The university has numerous research centers, seven of which are affiliated with France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).[43]

  • Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP), which provides scientifically-validated data for international survey programs. It also supports training in data collection and analysis.
  • Centre d'études européennes (CEE), which focuses on inter-disciplinary European studies; participation, democracy and government; election analyses; the restructuring of the state and public action.
  • Centre for International Studies (CERI), which produces comparative and historical analysis on foreign societies, international relations, and political, social and economic phenomena.
  • Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF), which investigates political attitudes, behaviour and parties, as well as political thought and the history of ideas.
  • Centre for History (CHSP), whose research focuses on: arts, knowledge and culture; wars, conflicts and violence; states, institutions and societies; the political and cultural history of contemporary France; from local to global: international history and its levels.
  • Centre for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO), which conducts research on the sociology of organizations, sociology of public policy, and economic sociology. It also studies issues related to higher education and research, healthcare, sustainable development, the evolution of firms, and the transformation of the state.
  • Center for Studies in Social Change (OSC), which conducts research on topics such as urban, school and gender inequalities, stratification and social mobility, and ethno-racial or social segregation.
  • Department of Economics, which investigates areas such as labor markets, international economics, political economy, microeconomics and development.
  • Law School, whose research focuses on globalization, legal cultures and the economics of law. It has also produced work on the theory and history of law, public and private international law and intellectual property.
  • Médialab, which studies the way data generated by new information technologies is produced, circulated and exploited.[44]
  • Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE), which is both a research center and an independent economic forecasting body. Its stated mission is to "ensure that the fruits of scientific rigour and academic independence serve the public debate about the economy".[45][43][46]

In addition to these research units, the university has recently established three major research programs – the LIEPP, DIME-SHS and MaxPo.[43]

  • The Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire d'Evaluation des Politiques Publiques (LIEPP) analyzes public policy based on qualitative, comparative, and quantitative methods.[47] The laboratory has been selected by an international scientific jury as a "Laboratoire d'Excellence" (Labex) that will be financed for the next ten years by the French government.[48]
  • Données Infrastructures et Méthodes d'Enquête en Sciences Humaines et Sociales (DIME-SHS) aims to collect and disseminate data for use in humanities and social sciences research.[49]
  • The Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (known as MaxPo), was founded in 2012 in co-operation with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG). It investigates how individuals, organizations, and nation-states deal with various forms of economic and social instability. It is located at Sciences Po’s Paris campus.[50][51]

Network of universitiesEdit

Sciences Po has a network of 470 partner universities, including:[52] Berkeley, Bocconi, Cambridge, Colegio de Mexico, Columbia, Copenhagen Business School, Freie Universität Berlin, Fudan, Humboldt Universität, Instituto de Empresa, King's College, Keio, London School of Economics, McGill, MGIMO, MIT, National University of Singapore, Northwestern, Oxford, Peking University, Princeton, Tsinghua, University of British Columbia, University of Cape Town, University of Chicago, University of Ghana, University of Hong Kong, University of São Paulo, University of Sydney, University of Tokyo, Uppsala, and Waseda among others.

In 2002, it co-founded the Alliance program in partnership with Columbia University, École Polytechnique and Panthéon-Sorbonne University.[53] Each year, this program facilitates dual degrees, exchanges and research projects for around 240 students and 80 professors, and organizes around 40 conferences in Paris and New York.[54] In France it is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Education Ministry, the Regional Council of the Île-de-France and by private sponsors including the utility company EDF.[55]

In 2005, it established a doctoral/post-doctoral partnership program with the University of Oxford to provide a platform for comparative analysis of political systems and societies.[56] OxPo, as this program is now known, facilitates academic and student exchanges between the two universities, provides grants for research collaborations, and organizes joint workshops, graduate conferences and seminars.[57]

It has a research partnership with Princeton University, providing research grants to encourage collaborative research and teaching initiatives.[58][59]

Sciences Po co-founded the Global Public Policy Network in 2005 in co-operation with the London School of Economics and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The network provides dual degree programs that allow students to study at two institutions.[60][61] It has since expanded to include the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo and the Fundção Getúlio Vargas (FGV) at the Escola de Administração de Empresas in Brazil.[62]

Sciences Po is a member of the Sorbonne Paris Cité association.

Library and publishingEdit

 
Sciences Po Library

Founded in 1871, the nucleus of the school’s research is Bibliothèque de Sciences Po. The library offers a collection of more than 950,000 titles in the field of social sciences.

In 1982, the Ministry of National Education made the Bibliothèque the Centre for Acquisition and Dissemination of Scientific and Technical Information in the field of political science, and since 1994, it has been the antenna associated with Bibliothèque Nationale de France.[63] Bibliothèque de Sciences Po is also the main French partner in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, which is based at the London School of Economics.[64]

Founded in the 1950s, Presses de Sciences-Po is the publishing house of Sciences Po. It publishes academic works related to the social sciences.[65]

Public lecturesEdit

Sciences Po organizes numerous public lecture events. Recent guest speakers have included Ban Ki-moon, General David Petraeus, Condoleezza Rice, former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Eric Schmidt, Joseph Stiglitz, Sheryl Sandberg, Mario Draghi, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Harvard University professor Michael Sandel.[66][67][68]

Since 2007 it has organized the Franco-British Dialogue Lecture Series in collaboration with the LSE and the French Embassy in London. The lectures are held every term at the LSE’s European Institute.[69][70]

Rankings and reputationEdit

RankingsEdit

In 2019, the QS World University Rankings, based on English speaking publications,[71] ranked Sciences Po 3rd in the world for Politics and International Studies (1st in France), 22nd in Social Policy and Administration (1st in France), 28th in Sociology (1st in France), 69th in Social Sciences and Management (4th in France), 51-100 in Law and Legal Studies (2nd in France). Overall, it ranked 6th in France and 221st in the world.[72]Times Higher Education ranked Sciences Po 50th in the world for social sciences (1st in France) for 2018.[73] Foreign Policy magazine ranked Sciences Po 21st in the world to obtain a master's degree for a policy career in International Relations in 2015 (3rd in Europe).[74] In the 2013 Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index of Global Executives, a ranking of an academic institution's number of degrees awarded to chief executives of the world's biggest companies, Sciences Po is ranked 81st.[75]

Reputation and criticismEdit

Due to its prominent alumni, its selectivity and its alumni's high profile, Sciences Po is broadly perceived as an elite institution.[76][77][78] However, it has been criticized, along with the École nationale d'administration, for creating in France an oligarchy that it out of touch with reality, '...blinkered, arrogant and frequently incompetent people.'[79] In recent years, however, Sciences Po's concerted efforts, at times controversial, to promote social inclusion in higher education have taken center stage. Central to Sciences Po's policy to diversify its student body is the Equal Opportunity Programme, launched in 2001.[80] The rate of scholarship holders among Sciences Po students has increased four-fold over the past ten years, with 27% of students now receiving scholarships or need-based financial aid.[81]

The institution is partly state-funded, and some, especially institutes of political studies in the provinces, have accused it of receiving a disproportionate share of public money. In 2012, for example, Sciences Po Lille student representatives called Sciences Po (Paris) the "coronation of State inequity".[82]

Critics have accused Sciences Po of prioritizing access to professional networks over education and expertise.[83][84] As a result, the school is often nicknamed "Sciences Pipeau" (pronounced and sometimes spelled "Sciences Pipo", "pipeau" meaning "scam" in colloquial French[85]).[86][87] This nickname has also been employed by students.[88][89][90] The sociologist Nicolas Jounin, alumnus of Sciences Po, stated that the school is an "intellectual imposture" and a "financial hold-up".[91] The academic Gilles Devers criticized the institution for being the "base of the conservatism, and the mold of the molluscs that make the public elite" where "dissenting ideas are only admitted if they strengthen the system".[92] The journalist at France Culture Guillaume Erner stated that the institution is "only advertisement and artifice".[93]

Sciences Po has also been accused of being unduly helped by the media. "Almost every French newspaper is run by an alumnus of Sciences Po", and most of the journalists in France are alumni from Science Po, so it would give the school "an unparalleled media coverage" and permit it to "cultivate a culture of secrecy" about its internal affairs.[94][95] "Sciences-Po is under-criticized," analyzes a professor. Former students are unlikely to criticize it. "Those who teach there have no interest, and not necessarily the urge, to do so. Those who are not there can hope to be there one day."[95] The journalist Ariane Chemin stated in 2013 that, because so many journalists come from Sciences Po, the school has an undue good public reputation.[96]

ControversiesEdit

Political and financial scandalsEdit

Alain Lancelot, director of Sciences Po from 1987 to 1996, was investigated for financial mismanagement by the French Court of Audit.[97]

Since 1997, the institution has been hit by a number of scandals, notably concerning the leadership of Richard Descoings, its director from 1997 to 2012.[98][99][100]

Descoing, president from 1997 to 2012, had been criticized for offering large sums of money (through salary rise, free accommodation, etc.) to diverse members of staff, included his wife, in spite of the fact that Sciences Po is partly stately funded.[101]

In February 2012, it was revealed that an inspector of the French Court of Audit, in charge of investigating the financial behaviour of Sciences Po, was at the same time employed by Sciences Po.[102]

On 3 April 2012, Descoings was found dead in his Manhattan luxury hotel room during a trip to represent Sciences Po in New York. The police initially concluded that his death had been caused by an overdose,[103] but the final coronary report eventually stated that he died a natural death.[104] Descoings' energy on this last day and the missing phones and computer have raised questions as to the precise circumstances of his death.[105]

In October 2012, the Court of Audit reprimanded Sciences Po for financial mismanagement, accusing it of opaque remuneration procedures, unwarranted expenses claims and excessive pay-rises for managers.[106] The Court noted that the university’s complex legal status – a public university managed by a private trust – had contributed to dysfunction and waste. It also criticized the French government for increasing state funding for the university without insisting on additional public oversight.[107][108] Sciences Po has also been accused to prevail results over morals.[109]

In November 2012, the government dismissed Hervé Crès, Sciences Po's interim director, but he sought the school's permanent presidency all the same, reasoning that Alain Lancelot and Richard Descoings, former Sciences Po presidents, had also been reprimanded by the Court of Audit and yet performed well in their management of the school.[110]

In July 2015, Jean-Claude Casanova, the former president of the Foundation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, the private trust which manages Sciences Po, was fined €1500 for failing to properly consult the Foundation’s Administrative Council over budgeting decisions involving public money. The Court of Financial and Budgetary Discipline eventually found Casanova guilty, but sentenced him with leniency because the procedures had some part of regularity and because it wasn’t customary in Sciences Po to follow all the financial rules.[111][112]

In February 2016, the Court of Audit noted that reforms had been made but stated that greater transparency was still needed. Frédéric Mion, director of Sciences Po since 2013, defended the university’s record and asked the judges to write their report again.[113][114]

Notable alumni and academicsEdit

AlumniEdit

Over 65 000 people have studied at Sciences Po. Alumni and former staff include a large section of the French political elite, including French Presidents Emmanuel Macron, François Hollande, Jacques Chirac, François Mitterrand, and Georges Pompidou;[115] and French Prime Ministers Edouard Philippe, Edouard Balladur, Alain Juppé, Lionel Jospin, Michel Debré among others.

Sciences Po has also educated a considerable number of international leaders, including Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada; Chandrika Kumaratunga, former President of Sri Lanka; Sir Austen Chamberlain, former British Foreign Secretary and 1925 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Salomé Zourabichvili, President of Georgia; Simone Veil, former President of the European Parliament; Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former UN Secretary General; Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; Michel Camdessus and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former presidents of the International Monetary Fund;[116] Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank; José Socrates, former Prime Minister of Portugal.[117][118]

Among the alumni are CEOs of France's forty largest companies (Frédéric Oudéa of banking group Societe Generale, Michel Bon of Carrefour, Jean-Cyril Spinetta of Air France, Serge Weinberg of PPR, Gérard Mestrallet of Suez, Philippe Camus of Alcatel-Lucent), private bankers such as David René de Rothschild, the CEO of Lazard Italy, the CFO of Morgan Stanley Europe, the Director of Credit Suisse World, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of TradingScreen and the Chairman of Credit Suisse Europe as well as the current head of the European Federation of Businesses, Industries and Employers and the current head of the French Businesses and Employers Union and many others. Influential cultural figures, such as the writer Marcel Proust, the founder of the modern olympics Pierre de Coubertin, fashion designer Christian Dior, author Leïla Slimani, former Le Monde editor Jean-Marie Colombani also graduated from Sciences Po.[119]

Senior French diplomats including François Delattre (currently French ambassador to the UN),[120] Gérard Araud (currently ambassador to the USA),[121] Sylvie Bermann (currently ambassador to Russia),[122] Bernard Émié (currently ambassador to Algeria),[123] Jean-Maurice Ripert (currently ambassador to Russia)[124] and Maurice Gourdault-Montagne (currently ambassador to China)[125] are also alumni.

InstructorsEdit

Sciences Po is known for recruiting many former or current professionals to give lessons, allowing students to benefit from practitionners and their unique insights on current issues. Many high ranking civil servants give lectures after their daily job, at the beginning of the evening. Instructors included or still include former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, former WTO president Pascal Lamy, former French President Francois Hollande, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French foreign minister Hubert Védrine, noted historian Pierre Milza,[126] Nobel Prize Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz and former Economics minister as well as former Managing Director of IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn.[127] The philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour has taught there since 2006.[128] Emmanuel Gaillard also teaches at the Law School.[129]

DirectorsEdit

  • 1987–96: Alain Lancelot
  • 1997–2012: Richard Descoings
  • 2012: Hervé Crès (interim)
  • 2012–13: Jean Gaeremynck (interim)
  • 2013–present: Frédéric Mion

See alsoEdit

References and notesEdit

NotesEdit

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BibliographyEdit

  • Richard Descoings, Sciences Po. De la Courneuve à Shanghai, préface de René Rémond, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2007 (ISBN 2-7246-0990-5)
  • Jacques Chapsal, « L'Institut d'études politiques de l'Université de Paris », Annales de l'Université de Paris, n° 1, 1950
  • « Centenaire de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris (1872–1972) », brochure de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris, 1972
  • A Sciences-Po, les voyages forment la jeunesse, Monde Diplomatique, Février 2006
  • Pierre Favre, Cent dix années de cours à l'École libre des sciences politiques et à l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris (1871–1982), thèse de doctorat, 2 volumes, 1986
  • Gérard Vincent, Sciences Po. Histoire d'une réussite, Orban, Paris, 1987
  • Marie-Estelle Leroty, L'Enseignement de l'histoire à l'École libre des sciences politiques et à l'Institut d'études politiques de l'Université de Paris de 1943 à 1968, mémoire de diplôme d'études approfondies dirigé par Jean-François Sirinelli, Institut d'études politiques de Paris, 2000
  • Anne Muxel (direction), Les Étudiants de Sciences Po, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2004, ISBN 2-7246-0937-9: Résultats d'une grande enquête menée en janvier 2002 auprès des élèves par le Cevipof
  • Comité national d'évaluation des établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel, Rapport d'évaluation de l'Institut d'études politiques de Paris, Septembre 2005
  • Cyril Delhay, Promotion ZEP. Des quartiers à Sciences Po, Paris: Hachette, 2006, ISBN 2-01-235949-3

External linksEdit