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Home / Education / Alma mater to seven presidents

Alma mater to seven presidents

Renowned for its illustrious alumni, Sciences Po Paris, at a more basic level, helps students gain a direction in life.

education Updated: Mar 05, 2013 15:18 IST
Ayesha Banerjee
Ayesha Banerjee
Hindustan Times

Considered to be a good training ground for civil servants and policymakers and changers, Sciences Po Paris also boasts of alumni that include seven presidents of France, including present incumbent Francois Hollande, a secretary general of the United Nations, four managing directors of the International Monetary Fund and various head honchos of prominent corporate houses.

According to Capucine Edou, head of the centre for Asia, Africa and the Middle-East, the institute was set up as École Libre des Sciences Politiques after Germany defeated France in 1870 and a group of businessmen, intellectuals, politicians felt there was a need to train politicians for implementing a strategic vision.

“India, for this institute, remains a priority and we have a representative office functioning there since 2007,” says Marie Azuelos, international affairs manager for Australia, India and other countries. With its focus on internationalisation, Sciences Po offers dual degrees with Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Fudan University etc. In India, the university has signed more than 10 partnerships with Jawaharlal Nehru University, St Stephen’s and Jamia Millia in Delhi; Xavier’s and Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and IITs, among others.

A memorandum of understanding has recently been signed with the Young Indian Fellowship (YIF) in India, the one-year residential postgraduate course focused on the liberal arts, which takes in young graduates to create India’s next batch of well-rounded socially conscious leaders. Students from Sciences Po and YIF will travel in an exhange programme to both countries for two semesters. (See interview with Sciences Po vice president for more details).

Jusmeet Singh Sihra, who studied at St Stephen’s and is in Paris on an exchange programme, says a course he did at Sciences Po on cities in a globalizing world narrowed down his focus to “very relevant water issues.”

“We were looking at planning in cities and I got interested in governance and water conflict. From then on I kept building on my knowlege on water issues.”

Keen to bring his knowlege back to his country, Sihra says he hopes to do an internship with French multinational Suez, which deals with water, electricity and natural gas supply. Sneha Vijaykar, who is doing a second master’s in communication, having also done her postgraduation from the University of Pune, says she is delighted with the teaching methods in class and finds it very interactive. Peer learning helps you learn a lot too, she adds.

Owi Kale, who did her BA from Xavier’s in Mumbai, feels Sciences Po is the ideal setting for her to hone her skills in international economic policy. She has worked with the French embassy in India, doing pilot projects on Indian and French cooperation. Her work involved vetting projects for French companies and doing feasibility studies for those interested in investing in India.

On course
Three years UG courses include two years in France followed by a compulsory year abroad. There are seven campuses each with a geographical focus: North and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Core curriculum has political science, economics, history, international relations, law and sociology Masters prorgrammes (in English):
Development practice
Environment, sustainable development and risks
Environmental sciences and policy
Human rights and humanitarian action
International development
International economic policy
International energy
International public management
International security
European affairs
Corporate and public management
Economics and public policy
Finance and strategy
Governing the large metropolis
For more, check

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