History and philosophy

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An institution at the service of international mobility

In the aftermath of the First World War the International University Campus in Paris was born of the dreams and desires of exceptional men.

In the pacifist mood of the inter-war years André HONNORAT, Minister of  Education conceived the idea of creating a “campus” intended to house foreign students and thus to contribute to the construction of peace in the world in a place dedicated to international exchanges, where the youth of the world would learn to live together.

Thanks to the support given in the early days of the project by the industrialist, Émile DEUTSCH DE LA MEURTHE and Paul APPELL, the Rector of the Paris Academy and the President of the Council of the University of Paris, the Utopian dream became a reality in 1925.

Although town planning was a science still in its infancy in France, from the very outset a general land management plan for the international Campus and its grounds was drawn up. 

At that time, the public authorities wished to increase the number of students in Paris. But the accommodation crisis made it impossible to offer those students a roof over their head. The International Campus was at the time a humanist solution to a concrete problem.

The founders of each residence had a completely free choice of style of architecture. This explains the diversity of styles, which combine national references and modernist design. Thanks to this mixture of eclectic architectural styles, the value of the listed buildings and the landscaped grounds, the International Campus boasts an exceptional heritage.

The International Campus has entered a new phase of renewal. The result is that an architectural and landscaping master plan has been drafted with the involvement of the City of Paris, the Chancellery of the Universities of Paris and the Architectes des Bâtiments de France.

Supported as part of the Campus Plan – Student Life process, this operation has been selected from among the 13 priority projects for Higher Education and Research in Paris. The vast patronage programme is also part of a development programme for new projects to make the site more cohesive and to enhance its cultural heritage, in a context of sustainable development. It is envisaged, for example, to build new residences and to protect the site from noise pollution.

A “school of human relations for peace”

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The globalisation of higher education presents an incomparable opportunity for all students to encounter diversity and the excellence of knowledge and to become open to other ways of being and of thinking in the world.

The mission of the Campus, since its inception, consists in promoting mobility international for students and researchers for one purpose only, which is to say, as a catalyst for the Universalist values of peace and solidarity.

The Campus offers to the 12,000 students, doctoral candidates, young researchers and young artists from 140 nationalities, whom it accepts every year more than the best possible conditions of reception and lodging.

Its whole aim and purpose is to encourage them to form lasting bonds of understanding, confidence, if possible, even of friendship, by responding to their deep need for contact with other students, to exchange ideas and viewpoints and share their desires for the future. This is the underlying originality of the Campus, which makes it a unique facility and an exemplar in the global university landscape.