Joan Divol

Interview with the Director of the Fondation des États-Unis

Tell us about your background and your arrival at the Cité internationale.

French and American, I have been an academic at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne for 20 years. In addition to teaching comparative intellectual property law and fashion law in particular, I have worked developing international relations to create transatlantic opportunities for training, mobility, scholarships and integration for students from all backgrounds and countries. My shared DNA with the US Foundation may explain my arrival at the Cité Internationale on January 1, 2020.

What do you think it is that makes the Cité Internationale a unique campus in the world?

In the post-war period, the Cité internationale took the gamble of bringing together several houses of different nationalities to provide young students, doctoral or PhD students, athletes, musicians or artists in residence or training in Paris with an ideal setting for learning, rehearsing, revising, lodging, eating, spending time, having fun, relaxing and meeting. …. The  pacifist and humanist values of diversity, equality, respect and tolerance that characterize the community located in the very heart of Paris makes the Cité internationale one of the world’s most unique campuses.

How does living in your house allow residents to have a different outlook on the world and how is it a springboard for their futures?

The house overlooks the Montsouris Park on one side and the campus of the Cité internationale on the other. It is large and offers to all residents a pleasant environment in which to live, study and enjoy French and American values and traditions. The 5th floor is reserved for artists’ and musicians’ studios; they occasionally participate in cultural events and artistic events that take place throughout the year in the Grand Salon. The house thus allows residents to enjoy themselves while developing relationships which over time and thanks to  their Parisian encounters, will be beneficial not only to their integration socially but also to their future profession.

If you had to sum up the Cité Internationale in one word, what would it be and why?

The Cité internationale opens a benevolent door on the world represented in all its diversity and richness. The word I choose is integration because that is also its purpose: to offer young people from all continents a place to live designed to facilitate their studies in France in an environment conducive to sports, cultural and artistic activities.

Christophe Kerrero, Rector and president of the Foundation

Christophe Kerrero is an Associate Professor for modern literature, a master’s graduate in literature (University Paris C-Nanterre) and has a degree in advanced studies in modern literature (University Paris IV-Sorbonne) under the direction of Marc Fumaroli (Académie française). His career as a literature teacher, which began in 1991, led him to become a deputy headmaster at the lycée Pasteur à Neuilly-sur-Seine (2002-2007), then the deputy academy inspector of the Seine-et-Marne (2007-2009). In 2009 he joined the office of the Ministry of National Education as the Technical Advisor for Cities, Priority Education and Sustainable Development. From 2010 to 2012 he was the Councillor to the Minister in charge of pedagogical affairs and equal opportunities.  In 2016 he became the General Director in charge of lycées in the Île-de-France region and then in 2017 he became the Chief of Staff to the Minister of National Education and Youth.