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January 2017
Newsletter Overview

Dear Members of the AUP Community,

A warm welcome this frigid January to all our new AUP students and their families whom I’ve just met at Orientation; in this month’s newsletter, I am also reaching out to our graduating students and their families with some news about May 2017. They and I can assure all our new families that your time in Paris, at AUP, passes in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’ll be walking (or watching your son or daughter walking) across the stage at Commencement. The time goes by so quickly—for you and for us—and yet what a transformation those four (or three or two or one) years will bring.  For those of you making travel plans for Graduation, please know that Marc Monthéard will be sending out a detailed memo in a few weeks about caps and gowns, Commencement and Gala tickets, and other organizing issues. My advice is to plan to be in Paris by Friday, May 19, so that you can enjoy Paris and participate in a range of events, including the vernissage of a major community art piece that students, faculty and a visiting artist are making with our Syrian families (see below) and which we’ll be unveiling for the public that weekend under the auspices of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention. Graduation is Tuesday, May 23rd in the morning at the Thêâtre de Paris in the 9th arrondissement (you might want to reserve somewhere nice for a graduation lunch afterwards at about 13h30); and the New Alumni Cocktail party and Gala Dinner for graduating students and their families will be held at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée in the 8th near the residence of the US Ambassador on Tuesday night, May 23. On that weekend, we will be celebrating the University’s 55th Anniversary, welcoming global alumni from 142 countries around the globe, and holding our Board of Trustees and President’s Alumni Advisory Council meetings. The presence of graduating seniors and their parents on campus will make everything complete. I so look forward to seeing many of you and your families then.

Some of you will remember from earlier newsletters (which you can access here) that I speak often about our founder’s powerful question: “how do we transcend the bounds of narrow nationalism?” I believe passionately that an AUP education is precisely an antidote to insular nationalisms, in large part because of the demographic diversity of our unique learning environment. At this present moment in history, however, what our faculty models and teaches here has never been more timely.  AUP students learn to listen to the ideas of others, and allow themselves to be influenced, permeated, by new and different ideas.  And they also know when to defend with fervor their own values. It’s a delicate balance, but you need both. We all know that difference requires excellent negotiating skills—it’s edgy and difficult.  In fact, I’ve just returned from the annual Presidents Conference of the Council of Independent Colleges at which some 900 college presidents agreed on the importance of the liberal arts as a pedagogical model for developing a student’s capacity to evaluate conflicting information.  All of the plenary speakers at that conference, approaching the topic in different ways, emphasized what I call the “AUP advantage,” the fact that our students study the liberal arts in a global context, in an unparalleled learning environment that permits them to develop “cultural intelligence.” That note was sounded by the new CEO of Exxon, Kevin Warren, who announced that 90% of employers are looking for young people with transversal, practical, boundary-crossing skills that are enhanced by study abroad. He is looking to hire young people who can cross cultural borders with ease when he sends them to Exxon’s offices everywhere in the world. (By the way, he’s also looking for the “hustle factor,” something not always associated with Millennials, which means ambition, hunger, independence, and the drive to succeed, even if it means suffering delayed satisfaction in order to do so. Parents can foster that kind of character building by confidently scaling back excessive “support” when students go to college.) To return to the idea of “cultural intelligence” (CQ), right up there with “emotional intelligence,” this is a set of skills that can be learned, developed, and even measured and is a powerful predictor of performance on the (global) job market.  Articles in the Harvard Business Review have covered the idea, and there are multiple organizations devoted to cultivating it. AUP students don’t need to seek it elsewhere, or make any special effort to build those muscles, because you have the AUP classroom—with its characteristic mix of cultures, nationalities, languages, ideologies, and faiths—in which to develop your own CQ: that self-reflexive ability to shift context as you confront and consider ideas very different from your own.  It should be no surprise that developing CQ is linked to language learning, because language is culture; it’s a window onto a very different worldview. Proficiency in language learning is associated with a higher degree of self-understanding and CQ. Not a single AUP student should graduate from the University without having mastered, at least, French. More on that in future issues . . .  

To read the complete the version of the blog click here

We would like to invite you to join the AUP community in celebrating the University's 55th Anniversary – Global Alumni Weekend. The weekend will be held from May 19 - May 22, 2017, and includes an extraordinary line-up of events!
Online registration is now available until April 30th, with an Early Bird rate that closes on February 19th! If you would like to review the full schedule of events, you may visit our website or contact alumni@aup,edu.
Would you like to be a Class Rep for this year's Global Alumni Weekend?

As those of you in our community know, the preparations for the 55th Anniversary - Global Alumni Weekend are in full swing. We are currently reaching out to our alumni in seeking volunteers interested in mobilizing the participation of their former classmates. If you would like to assist the Alumni Affairs Office as a class representative, we would love your help! Please contact the Alumni Affairs Office at to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

Now in its tenth edition, our latest Global Talent brochure is available for viewing from the Career Development Office. This useful brochure promotes current AUP students seeking both internships and longer term employment. We invite all those in our community to review the student profiles and/or pass on the brochure to fellow colleagues in search of dynamic and adaptable English-speaking candidates from AUP. If you are interested in discussing an internship or position within your company, please contact our Career Development Assistant, Safia Benyahia at


Alumni Updates
Davina Durgana '12, has recently been listed in Forbes'  "30 Under 30 - Science". Since completing her degree at AUP, Davina has set herself on the professional road to success by securing an internship at the White House, working in Vice President Joe Biden's Public Engagement Office, then accepting a Ph.D. program in International Relations with the American University in Washington, D.C. Davina has taught an AU-credit course at Harvard and is a regular speaker at academic conferences, presenting her post-doctoral work.
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Congratulations to AUP alumnus Mike Spits '86, who organizes the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues to raise awareness for elephant conservation. After meeting the injured Mosha in Thailand in 2006, Mike and Marc Spits, father and son, launched a campaign to support the life of elephants. 

Today the annual parade is supported by celebrities including His Royal Highness the Prince Consort of Denmark, Katy Perry, Khloe Kardashian and Leona Lewis.

Among the companies sponsoring the parade are Ferrari, Aston Martin, Disney Theatrical, Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Smith and others.
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Academic Events
"Ecosystème": Vernissage and Exhibition by Artist Florence Pinel in the Fine Arts Gallery

Thursday, January 19, 2017 to Saturday, February 11, 2017

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Fine Arts Gallery

Join the Fine Arts Gallery and the AUP community for an exhbition entitled "Ecosystème" by artist Florence Pinel. The exhibit will be on display from Thursday, January 19th through Saturday, February 11th.

Florence Pinel said the following about her work:
"As emphasised by the title, painting is for me an ecosystem – a balance of life and artistic accomplishment. It is a force that leads to and brings on action. My universe is rather oneiric and reads like a diary, where what I imagine mingles with what I actually live. Painting the mixture of dream and waking truth makes my existence lighter. I have the possibility to intervene and transform my reality. To the painter of history, open to the exterior, I offer to be the painter of introspection and to touch his or her share of secrecy. What each person seeks to hide or silence…that is what I strive to paint."
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Women's Leadership Panel

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 18:30 to 20:30

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 104

Never has there been a more perfect setting to bring together women leaders to discuss their successes and challenges in leadership and the workplace. Join us to hear from four amazing women as they discuss issues of:
  • Discrimination in the Workplace
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Importance of Mentorship
A short networking cocktail will follow the Q&A section.

This event is co-sponsored by the AUP SGA Executive Team, the Office of the President, and Paris for Her

Paris for Her is an international community that aims to facilitate face-to-face meetings; to streamline the ways women, from many different places and professional sectors, do business; and assist them in building stronger networks.

Non-AUP guests are welcome and required to register their attendance.  Please be sure to bring a photo ID for entrance at the door. 
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Super Bowl 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 20:30

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Amex Café

Join us in the Amex for the 51st Super Bowl face-off between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. 

The Amex will open up at 20:30 with entry stopping at midnight. Beer and free food will be served all night long.

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Colonial Mass Violence and/or Colonial Genocide? (RE-Interpreting Colonial History with Oliver Lecour Grandmaison

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 18:00

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 104

Nineteenth and early-twentieth century colonialism shaped the modern world in fundamental ways with effects that still impact us today. By the 1930s, more than a third of the world population had been incorporated into formal imperial systems whose creation, maintenance and expansion was characterized by structural material and symbolic violence – the physical violence of conquest and of colonial rule, and the daily experience of suppression and cultural subordination of indigenous peoples. In settler-colonial areas such as Australia and the United States, external intrusion and the forced “removal” of indigenous peoples led to catastrophic human ecology crises and demographic collapses. In others, such as Algeria, colonial violence coupled with severe ecological impacts led to mass deaths. The Japanese empire’s expansion in China was likewise characterized by unspeakable mass violence. Since Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism, the question of colonial genocide has been much debated. There were genocidal tendencies in colonial expansion but is genocide a relevant category of analysis in the colonial context?
The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention has asked Olivier Lecour Grandmaison, a distinguished specialist of French colonial history, to address this question as well as the ways in which colonial history continues to shape the present.  
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Gens de Paris / People of Paris: A Soundwalks Collection to Rediscover Paris and Its Story Through the Voices of Its Former Inhabitants

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 17:30

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 103

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention are pleased to host an evening with Sarah Gensburger. Sociologist of memory and historian of the Shoah in Paris, as well as one half of the team who created the collection of soundwalks, Gens de Paris.

Gens de Paris is a collection of soundwalks recounting events that took place on this street corner, in the shade of that tree, in that building over there. Based on the lives of former inhabitants, it tells stories from their perspectives. The collection aims to cover all time periods, places and themes, as there are available characters to bring the past to life and in-depth historical research to give them meaning, situating them in a social context.
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Film Screening of the Documentary FREE TO ROCK

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 18:30 to 20:00

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 104

Through a special arrangement with the US Embassy in Paris, AUP invites you to a film screening of FREE TO ROCK, directed by Jim Brown.
FREE TO ROCK examines the Cold War period of 1955 - 1991, and the ways in which the soft power of American rock & roll music from the West significantly weakened the ability of the Communist government to control the thoughts and activities of its youth. 

The film further explores how, after three decades of dramatic conflict between adolescents and the Kremlin/KGB (as well as their Eastern European allies), the music and its culture contributed to the collapse of the totalitarian system behind the Iron Curtain. 
FREE TO ROCK has been accepted to showcase at the FIPA / Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels, in Biarritz, France, this month.
Please visit the film's website at  
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Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing with Jim Waller

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 17:30

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 102
The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention is pleased to host Dr. James Waller, the Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, New Hampshire, to discuss his work on ordinary people committing genocide. He will further explore how these same perpetrators step back into the community to try to transform the societies they once tore apart.
Dr. Waller has held numerous visiting research professorships, including his current visiting position as Honorary Research Professor in the George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Justice and Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In policymaking, Waller is regularly involved, in his role as Director of Academic Programs with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), as the curriculum developer and lead instructor for the Raphael Lemkin Seminars for Genocide Prevention.  These seminars, held on-site and in conjunction with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, introduce diplomats and government officials from around the world to issues of genocide warning and prevention.   
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The Evolution of International Courts and the Reassembling of International Society with Mikael Rask Madsen

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 18:00

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 104

Mikael Rask Madsen’s research is focused on globalization and the role of legal institutions and professionals in these processes. His current research concerns the special interaction between law and global integration, the role and power of lawyers in globalization, the increased importance of supranational legal institutions and, more generally, the international transformation of law and authority towards networked expertise. 

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention has asked Mikael Madsen, as the director of the innovative Danish research center iCourts (Centre of Excellence for International Courts, University of Copenhagen) and well-known specialist on international justice, to address the impact of international tribunals on the ‘reassembling’ of international society.  


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Alumni Events

The AUPDC Holiday Party was held on January 5th. A special thank you to Judith Ogilvie '65, for hosting the evening and La Jambe for contributing the grand prize raffle item. During the event, the chapter raised over $300 for the Coup de Pouce fund. Many thanks to all those who contributed to a lovely evening! 

Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series: A Talk by Dr. Emel Akçali

Monday, February 20, 2017 at 18:30

The American University of Paris
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007
Room 104

In conjunction with the Department of Comparative and International Politics and the AUP Alumni Affairs Office, we are delighted to announce the second speaker in our Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series.
Professor Emel Akçali is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Politics and International Relations at Swansea University. Since completing a degree from AUP in 1997, with a Bachelor in International Relations, Professor Akçali went on to complete her Ph.D. in Political Geography at La Sorbonne. Her work has been published in numerous journals such as Political Geography, Eurasian Geography and Economics and The Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Most recently, Professor Akçali has published a book entitled Neoliberal Governmentality and the Future of the State in the Middle East and North Africa. 
Professor Akçali has been invited to AUP to speak on the current Syrian refugee crisis. The framework of her discussion will follow her paper, The New Aleppo: the Neighbourhood Experiences of Syrian Refugees in Turkey and the Llimits of Refugee Governmentality. This in-depth and revealing work opens the debate on traditional ideas of citizenship, territories, space and populations on the move.  

All are welcome to attend. If you or your guest(s) do not have an AUP ID card, we require that you RSVP in advance to to be added to the security list.  
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The American University of Paris West Coast Reunion for Classes '62 - '69
Friday, February 17 - Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel
450 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

From the Quai d’Orsay to the city by the bay, alumni from the classes of 1962 to 1969 are invited to celebrate the early years of ACP in San Francisco. Join alumni organizers Tessa Wardle Kohn '63, David Boyle '63, Grant Plemons '64 and Mimi White Swensen '63 for a memorable weekend in Union Square.

If you are interested in receiving further details, please contact the Alumni Affairs team at
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American University of Paris · 6, rue du Colonel Combes · Paris 75007 · France