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Dear AUP Students and Parents,

Now that Indian summer has just about given way to fall in Paris, I’m writing you my lettre de rentrée, as we call it here in France, in order to lay out the year for you and to alert you to some upcoming events on campus. For our 55th Anniversary celebrations—to unfold beginning with Global Alumni Weekend and Commencement in May 2017—we will be updating our logo midyear. We are also thrilled this fall to welcome some 470 new students to campus—students who hail from 77 different nationalities—bringing our total nationality count this year to 110! 

An exciting year beckons for the University, one in which we will purchase and renovate the final building in our campus redevelopment plan at 69, quai d’Orsay, having opened this fall a completely new Grenelle Center for Teaching and Mentoring.  Not only will our campus be consolidated right on the Seine a few doors down from our founding in a few rented classrooms of The American Church, but we will also be going from ten down to six buildings.  For the first time in our history, we will have a campus—a Student Life Center and Student Learning Center in two conjoined buildings of about 4000 square meters with a glass-roofed library and vertical garden in between.  In the picture below you can see the city block we will occupy—our Combes building is the long, low, rectangular building a block in from the Seine, and we’ll be excavating and rebuilding the bridge between it and the tall square building in the middle of the Seine-side of that block. No university on earth will have a better address.   

Quai d'orsay
The unobstructed view of the Right Bank—as seen from our future conference center at the top of that building—inspired the title of this newsletter and the photo on its banner.  That space will be our new living room, the place where we convene scholars and leaders to speak to our community.  On October 20-21, for example, we will inaugurate our new George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention, generously supported by the AUP parents for whom we have the honor of naming it, with a screening of an Oscar-nominated documentary on Rwanda and an international conference on “Legal Legacies of Genocide:  from Nuremberg to the International Criminal Court.” Here is a sneak preview of the new campus complex that will house everything from research centers to a conference center, from student support services of all kinds—advising, career development and internships—to writing, reference and technology labs, and a new state-of-the-art library:  
This year we will also focus on both the American and the French elections—which rarely occur in the same year. AUP’s radical demographic diversity means that the election issues are everybody’s business. We will actually have mock elections on campus in which everyone—students, faculty, and students—will be invited to vote. Debates, roundtables, speakers, and specially designed courses will encourage students to think deeply about the issues, while the Student Government Association is sponsoring voter registration and requests for absentee ballots for eligible voters, as well as an Election Eve party in the Amex. Dr. Steven Ekovich, a political science professor at AUP, teaches the “US Elections,” while Dr. Jayson Harsin in Global Communications considers in his classes how political communications have changed in recent election cycles. Historian Dr. Stephen Sawyer has similarly put exploration of democratic institutions at the heart of his freshman learning community and the Center for the Critical Study of Democracy he directs. The Center will launch a Democracy Lab this year, a design thinking initiative in which students and faculty will explore democratic institutions, experimenting with applications of democratic theory and practice. This year’s topic is global citizenship. Against the backdrop of the elections, students, faculty, even AUP’s Board are reading a new book called Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, by social psychologist Claude Steele. It is bedrock to AUP’s mission to reflect continually on how we need to change to live together in a world held in common. Thus our founder’s question— “how do we transcend the bounds of narrow nationalisms?”—is still deeply relevant to our curriculum and to our vision for the University today. Addressing stereotypes, racism and bigotry in the context of AUP’s multicultural, multilingual and uniquely diverse classrooms is an educational experience unlike any other!
 
One final practical reminder for all students and parents. As part of AUP’s complete overhaul of our security processes and procedures, we’ve gone live this fall with a security app that is available to all students. Despite our emails and announcements of workshops, some students have not yet downloaded it. Please do this today! At the same time, make sure your student profile has your updated personal email and cell phone number so that we can reach you if ever we need to. In order to provide every AUP student with 24/7 security coverage, we have entered into a partnership with the world’s leading company providing worldwide medical and security assistance, International SOS. This fall, we are also rehearsing our campus emergency procedures, so please show forbearance on the days the drills occur. Safety and security is now a part of everyone’s daily life—and yours is extraordinarily important to us. 
 
Download the International SOS App on to your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Windows phone and gain immediate access to 24/7 worldwide medical, security, travel, and emergency assistance, even in Paris. Whether you have an immediate emergency or just need advice on upcoming travel destinations, the App provides rapid, expert, and convenient access to support. Not only can you sign up for automatic alerts within France, you can also check travel warnings and advice for any country you wish to visit. By simply swiping the tab at the bottom of the screen, you can reach the ISOS helpdesk–especially, of course, to signal your whereabouts in case of an emergency. You have a number to call whether you lose your passport, get pickpocketed, fear for your safety while traveling on a study trip or with friends, or get ill and need repatriation. To get started, visit app.internationalsos.com from your smartphone’s browser. You’ll be asked to enter your AUP membership number (15ACMA630405) or you may register your AUP email address for validation. You can also scan the bar code. Please refer to the Assistance App support site for further information on how to download and use the app.  Meanwhile the Office of Student Development looks forward to answering any questions you may have about safety in Paris or our new App. I know I can count on AUP parents to remind students of the importance of signing up!
 
Students and parents who are new to my monthly “The View from AUP” should know that I welcome responses at president@aup.edu at any time. It is my pleasure to respond to any of you who write to me. Should you wish to peruse earlier issues of my newsletter, you can do so here:  https://www.aup.edu/about/president/presidents-newsletter-archive
 
Wishing each of you an excellent year as you explore the vast riches of an AUP education,


Our mailing address is:
The American University of Paris
5 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg
75007, Paris, France

www.aup.edu

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