Bertrand Cosson

Interview with the Director of the Fondation Victor Lyon

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

I’m a professor at the University of Paris and I’m a teacher-researcher who has always loved actively participating in social and cultural life. I had the pleasure of developing a welcome culture at an educational, scientific and cultural level, especially concerning mobility and exchanges with different European universities. My arrival at the Cité internationale corresponded to this desire to support academic mobility which will only continue to increase in the context of growing international competition. I am happy to contribute, on my level, to the cultural life of my town and to promote residents’ development through organising activities that favour exchanges in order to promote this open debate space within the Cité internationale on major cultural, political and scientific issues of the modern world.

What do you think makes the Cité internationale a unique campus in the world?

The first welcome site for the mobile public in Île-de-France, the Cité internationale, is not only a place for accommodation but also a true place of multicultural life. The Cité internationale welcomes a large diversity of populations of students and researchers from all nationalities and disciplines within a remarkable architecture. This structure promotes exchanges between residents, the diffusion of cultures, research and peace. It’s very probably this intellectual bubbling in a cultural melting pot that makes the campus so unique on an international level.

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

Residents at the Cité internationale have the incredible chance to be able to participate in more than 1000 events every year. With its simple concerts, world events and intimate meetings with people from all fields, the Cité internationale is an extraordinary adventure to become a citizen of the world involved in social, political and cultural life.

At the Fondation Victor Lyon we predominantly welcome Ph.D students and researchers. Meetings, especially within the Researchers’ Club, are intense interdisciplinary moments of exchange, or where everyone can find cultural and professional fulfilment.

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

Peace: it’s a universal value that has been cultivated at the Cité internationale since its creation. The meetings between residents from different cultures, backgrounds, professions, with different political or religious convictions, during cultural or festive activities are the backbone of universal understanding between peoples.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”  John Lennon.