For security reasons (Vigipirate plan), the entrances to 15 bis, 23 and 37 bd Jourdan and 7 rue Emile Faguet are currently closed. All other entrances remain open.
Thank you for your understanding.

Francesco Torrisi

Interview with the Director of the Maison de l’Île-de-France


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

I’m a forestry and water resources engineer, I also earnt my Master 2 in environmental law and have a doctorate in agricultural and environmental economy and I’m part of the professional order of Agronomic and Forestry Engineers.

I worked as a teacher-researcher at the University of Florence and then as the director of the employers’ organisation of agricultural and forestry contractors at Confindustria and as a board member of the European organisation in Brussels.

My marriage with Laure bought me to Paris, where I’ve since worked as an independent expert in the field of environmental and territorial development for several countries such as France, Italy, Belgium and Tunisia.

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

The Cité was founded on diversity as a common ground. This practical application of multilateralism in the domain of academic teaching has resulted in an institution that houses tens of countries engaged in the promotion of culture and in the housing of students and researchers from all origins and disciplines. The Cité is both an accelerator and an incubator for ideas thanks to confrontation and exchange and it is also a breeding ground for talent.

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?

Bâtiment ZEN (Zéro Energie Net) is the first collective living building that is energy positive in France. It is the result of the Île-de-France’s region’s desire to invest in renewable energy and energy autonomy and it also helps to reaffirm the Ciup’s ecological and innovative ambitions.

A reference house for sustainable initiatives for the entire of the Cité, it is the place of promotion and meeting for all residents who are active in sustainable development projects. Living at the MIDF, it’s a real daily practical application of a sustainable development model and allows for the possibility to have a relationship with people who share the same understandings.

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

Tolerance: practiced daily by the intermingling of residents of different nationalities and disciplines in the Maisons, tolerance represents the basis for coexistence and hence a climate of peace and reciprocal acceptance. In a word, the spirit of the founders.


Vanessa Scherrer is General Delegate of the National Foundation Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. She was appointed on 11 January 2024 by a joint decision of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the national foundation and the Rector of the Île-de-France academic region, Rector of the Paris education authority, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris and Île-de-France.

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