Sophie Nordmann

Interview with the Director of the Maison des étudiants de la francophonie

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

I’m a trained philosopher, former student of the Ecole normale supérieure de Fontenay Saint-Cloud, Associate of philosophy, Doctor of, and authorised to direct, philosophical research. I teach contemporary philosophy, ethics and Jewish thought at the Ecole pratique des hautes études (PSL). I arrived at the Cité internationale in January 2022 at the moment where the Maison des étudiants de la francophonie opened its doors and welcomed its very first residents.

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

The history of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, its architectural diversity, the richness of its houses’ cultural, artistic and scientific programmes make the Cité internationale a unique campus in the world, representing more than just a place of residents and lodging for international students.

The Maison des étudiants de la francophonie is unique within this because in no other part of the world can you find, as far as I’m aware, a place that brings together French-speaking students from all horizons and continents.

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?

At the Maison des étudiants de la francophonie we’re lucky enough to welcome residents from very diverse nationalities. Sharing the French language is an exceptional heritage and a very current project in the context of globalisation and the rise of digitalisation. It’s incredibly stimulating for our residents to live in contact with other French-speaking students who have very different backgrounds and histories from their own, to become aware of belonging to a community of 275 million people over 5 continents and to have the opportunity to create friendships which, I’m sure, will last into the future.

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

I would choose the word “sharing”, meaning the meeting point of cultures and nationalities but also the sharing of values and projects, both concerning reciprocal exchange and shared experiences, a sharing that takes place on a global scale at the Cité internationale but also in the neighbourhood and which, in my opinion, expresses the manner in which the Cité internationale enriches every person that encounters it and enriches themselves through the other residents.

Guillaume Tronchet

Guillaume Tronchet is the General Delegate of the national foundation Cité internationale universitaire de Paris since 9 January 2023. He has been appointed by a joint decision of Jean-Marc Sauvé, President of the Board of Directors of the national foundation, and Christophe Kerrero, Rector of the Île-de-France academic region, Rector of the Paris academy, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris and Île-de-France.

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