Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Institut d'études politiques de Paris ("Paris institute for political studies"), familiarly known as Sciences Po, is France's premier institute for the study and research of politics, international relations, and other related subjects. It is reputed to be continental Europe's most prestigious institute of its kind and is internationally recognized as a leading site of higher learning and research in its discipline.
The Institute is a grande école — that is, a college of higher education with a restrictive competitive examination for admission. Its alumni are influential in politics and business primarily in France and Europe but also around the world. It is the best place for preparing initial admission to the École Nationale d'Administration.
As of 2004, approximately one third of its student body was foreign. This abundance of diversity is largely a result of the academic and administrative reforms instituted by Sciences Po's current Director-General, Richard Descoings . These reforms resulted in a program that encourages foreign study, interdisciplinary approaches, and hands-on collaboration with fellow students.
Instructors at the Institute are only rarely full professors, with that title reserved for a select few. Instead, most instruction is given by professionals from various relevant fields, who agree to teach at the Institute part-time. For instance, former government ministers, defense industry leaders, current diplomats, business leaders, and other career professionals teach during any given semester. This real-world approach is often cited as a great strength, especially in France's higher education system, which is sometimes criticized as too philosophical and removed from the reality of the post-academic career.
Other institutes also called Institut d'études politiques exist in other French cities, though they enjoy a lesser reputation.
La Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques is Sciences Po's world-class research institution dedicated to many domains of political and social sciences. Areas of excellence include international relations (Centre d'Étude des Relations Internationales - CERI), European contemporary history (Centre Histoire Européenne du Vingtième Siècle - CHEVS), French political life (Centre d'Étude de la VIe POlitique Française - CEVIPOF), sociology (Observatoire Sociologique du Changement - OSC; Centre de Sociologie des Organisations - CSO) and political economy (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques - OFCE; Service d'Etude de l'Activité Economique - SEAE; Groupement d'Économie mondiale - GEM).
The Institute is located in rue Saint-Guillaume in the VIIe arrondissement, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood of the French capital. The nearest metro stops are Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Rue du Bac, and Sèvres-Babylone.
The name Sciences Po refers to three institutions, l'École Libre des Sciences Politiques (founded in 1872) and replaced in 1945 by the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (FNSP), a research foundation, which manages the Institut d'Études Politiques (IEP), a teaching school.
Sciences Po was established in 1872 as the École Libre des Sciences Politiques (ELSP) by a group of intellectuals, politicians and businessmen including Hippolyte Taine, Ernest Renan, Albert Sorel, Paul Leroy Beaulieu , François Guizot, and led by Emile Boutmy . Following the defeat in the 1870 war, the demise of Napoleon III, the Commune, these men sought to introduce new teaching reforms in order to renew the training of French politicians. Academic disciplines were studied from a pragmatic and practical point of view: the teachers included not only famous academics but also practicians: Ministers, High civil servants at the Banque de France, members of the Conseil d'État. New matters such as compared constitutional history were introduced. Sport was compulsory, and an important emphasis was put on the study of contemporary foreign societies.
Since 1945: FNSP and IEP
The École Libre des Sciences Politiques was nationalized by General de Gaulle in 1945. Two entities were created: first, the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (FNSP), a research foundation, with an assigned goal of "assuring the progress and the diffusion, both within and outside France, of political science, economics and sociology"; second, the Institut d'Études Politiques (IEP), the teaching school, administered by the FNSP.
Designed to be the official training ground for the leaders of the French Republic, the Institute has played a very large role in France's political history.
Other IEP and Sciences Po's campuses outside Paris
Since 1945 other Institut d'Études Politiques (IEP) have been founded in France. There are currently IEPs in Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Paris, Rennes, Strasbourg and Toulouse. They are usually known as IEP followed by the name of the town where they are located (eg IEP Rennes). They are also sometimes called Sciences Po instead of IEP (eg Sciences Po Rennes), in dubious fashion, since the words "Sciences Politiques" fail to appear in their name (contrary to both the École Libre des Sciences Politiques and Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques).
The Parisian school, which, though sometimes called "Sciences Po Paris", is normally the only one called just "Sciences Po" without any reference to the town has also three campuses outside Paris: Dijon, Nancy, Poitiers. Below can be found the founding dates of the 9 IEPs
- Institut d'études politiques de Strasbourg (1945)
- Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux (1948)
- Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble (1948)
- Institut d'études politiques de Lyon (1948)
- Institut d'études politiques de Toulouse (1948)
- Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence (1956)
- Institut d'études politiques de Lille (1991)
- Institut d'études politiques de Rennes (1991)
Every year, a sports and cultural event (called the Crit) between the 9 IEP nationwide is staged in one of the university's towns, its aim being to improve the links between the universities. In 1995 and 2005, Rennes was the host town, and in 2003 the host was IEP Lille. 2006 sees Aix-en Provence hosting the event. Science Po Paris has won the event from 2003 to 2005.
The Institute boasts an influential group of alumni, many of whom are distinguished in their careers. Alumni are active chiefly in governmental, diplomatic, and international and European business circles.
The Institut and the École also boast a number of alumni who have been very influential in the arts and in literature: Marcel Proust or Christian Dior are two of the most famous ones.
In 2004, at least three Head of states had studied at the Institute: the President of France, Cameroon and Sri Lanka.
- Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka
- Paul Biya, President of Cameroon
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 6th Secretary-General of the United Nations, former Secretary-General of La Francophonie,
- Paul Bremer, former U.S. Civil Administrator in Iraq
- Stéphane Dion, Canadian Minister of the Environment
- Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian Senator
- Michel Camdessus, former IMF chairman
- Nicole Fontaine, former President of the European Parliament
- Simone Veil, former President of the European Parliament
In the French 5th Republic, the Prime Minister has almost always hailed from Sciences Po, and the last four of the six Presidents also studied at the Institute.
- Jacques Chirac, French President since 1995
- François Mitterrand, French President (1981-1995) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Georges Pompidou, French President(1969-1974) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Alain Poher, Interim French President(1969 and 1974) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Prime Ministers
- Lionel Jospin, former French Prime Minister (1997-2002)
- Alain Juppé, former French Prime Minister (1994-1997)
- Édouard Balladur, former French Prime Minister (1993-1995)
- Michel Rocard, former French Prime Minister (1988-1991)
- Jacques Chirac, former French Prime Minister (1986-1988)
- Laurent Fabius, former French Prime Minister (1983-1986)
- Raymond Barre, former French Prime Minister (1976-1981)
- Jacques Chirac, former French Prime Minister (1974-1976)
- Jacques Chaban-Delmas, former French Prime Minister (1969-1972) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Maurice Couve de Murville, former French Prime Minister (1968-1969) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Michel Debré, former French Prime Minister (1959-1962) (École Libre des Sciences Politiques)
- Ministers (small selection) - in most French cabinets the utmost majority of ministers have studied at Sciences Po
- Marcel Proust, novelist
- Paul Claudel
- Pierre Drieu La Rochelle
- Roger Peyrefitte, novelist
- , novelist
- , novelist
- , novelist
- , novelist
- Florian Zeller , novelist, 2004
- , member of the Académie Française
- , Professor at Harvard
- Christian Dior, haute couture and fashion designer
- Léo Ferré, singer and songwriter
- , comic
- Fanny Ardant
- Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern olympic games
- , head of Le Monde
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Anne Roumanoff
Sources: Annuaire des anciens élèves, Sciences-Po and www.sciences-po.fr
- Sciences Po official website
- Sciences Po official English-version website
- Sciences Po alumni association official website
- Sciences Po USA alumni association official website
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