Resident in the Maison du Portugal – ANDRÉ DE GOUVEIA Tenured
International Campus: Marco, tell us about your career.
Marco BIRGHAM: As a teenager I lived in Figueira da Foz in Portugal, but I started my university studies in Belgium in Louvain-la-Neuve. These studies led to my becoming a computer security and audit consultant in Belgium, in the Netherlands and then in China.
But in 2009 I realised that I really missed studying and research, so I started a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh, which I am now continuing in Paris with a thesis on Neuroscience.
What motivated you to stand for election as Tenured Resident Administrator on the International Campus?
The International Campus is a particularly privileged and special place. We are really fortunate to live here, for it is a very beautiful site, and into the bargain is located right in the centre of Paris. Its 40 residences put on a constant programme of artistic, cultural and pleasure events, which makes our stay here unforgettable.
But most of all the treasure of the International Campus is the residents. They come from all over the world, and their cultural and religious diversity are what makes the richness and singularity of this place.
I stood as candidate at the ADCR in order to continue to develop the structures which aid the development of the residents’ artistic, scientific and technical expression and also to promote exchanges between them.
I see my involvement with the ADCR and my Residents’ Committee as a means of giving back to society that which I have learned from contact with other people throughout my professional and university career.
What are your plans and objectives at the Campus?
We would like the ADCR to focus on improving the means of communication between the Residents’ Committees and the residents. So that they can develop their plans, we would also like to create inter-residence coordination.
5 details about Marco
Date and place of birth
19th December 1972, Luanda, Angola.
His present study
Doctorate in Computational Neuroscience
His year of arrival and his residence at the International Campus
September 2010, Maison du Portugal – André DE GOUVEIA
A glass of good Belgian beer, a good music concert and solving problems.
His favourite quotation or saying
“Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants”
Resident of the Maison des étudiants canadiens,
Tenured Resident Administrator
The International Campus: Ghassane, tell us about your career
Ghassane BENMIR: I am a young, dynamic Moroccan student and I have lived in the Maison du Canada for two years now. I completed all my higher education in France.
I am currently in the last year of a Master’s Grande Ecole in Information Systems Engineering and I am particularly happy to be part of the International University Campus in Paris. It is an extremely enriching experience in human terms, for I have had the opportunity to meet people from all sorts of nationalities and to talk with them on sometimes the most improbable topics.
What motivated you to stand for election as Tenured Resident Administrator?
I think life is an adventure – both a human adventure and a succession of coincidences which fashion existence and give it a colour and a texture. I like meeting people, I like to get involved, I like to give pleasure to other people and that is what made me stand at the elections for Tenured Resident Administrator. My previous experiences in the Maison des étudiants canadiens and the CIUP made me realise that getting involved and making things happen in everyday life were the keys to living successfully in a community. I want to bring people together and to use what I have learned, my convictions, my principles, my values and my cultural heritage to improve the life of the residents.
What are your plans and objectives at the Campus?
My main plan is based on two major axes: cultural exchange and creating prestigious sports events. I am totally convinced that these two major axes should be paramount in our lives on the Campus. One way of achieving this would be to set up an information system to link these two central elements.
5 details about Ghassane
Date and place of birth
7th May 1989 Mohammedia (Casablanca), Morocco.
Master’s in Information Systems Engineering (ISI)
His year of arrival and residence at the International Campus:
Arrived in October 2010 at the la Maison du Maroc, moved to the Maison des étudiants canadiens in September 2011.
Having a good time 😉
His favourite quotation or saying
“The more I learn, the more I am aware of my ignorance.” [Translated from the Arabic.]
Mamadou DIALLO, resident in the
Maison des Élèves Ingénieurs Arts et Métiers
Mamadou, tell us about your arrival at the International Campus.
It was a dream! I was going to become part of a place just like an American campus.
I quickly realised that there were plenty of things to do at the International Campus. You meet lots of people here. There is a huge amount of diversity, which makes our stay here very interesting. I discovered that there is a wide programme of exhibitions, concerts, theatre visits and access to various sports facilities.
But I also realised that the residences function in a relatively independent way. Especially my residence, the Arts & Métiers, which is a bit isolated from the rest of the International Campus because of where it is located [Editor’s note: the Maison des Élèves Ingénieurs Arts et Métiers is on the other side of the ring road].
I said to myself that I ought to take on responsibilities, that I had a role to play in opening up the residence to the rest of the Campus. So I became involved in the Residents’ Committee and the ADCR of the International Campus.
So, you are the President of the Residents’ Committee and Tenured Resident Administrator on the Management Board [ADCR] of the International Campus. What are your objectives and your resources?
You have forgotten one post. I am also a member of the Union des Élèves d’Arts et Métiers ParisTech. This makes me responsible for the internal affairs of the residence. Working very closely with the Residence Director, I sort out everyday problems and I maintain the link between the management of the residence and the residents.
As President of my committee, my objective is to extend the influence of my residence across the International Campus. I would like to open the residence to other Campus residents and let them find out about where we live and the activities we offer.
I was fortunate to be elected to the ADCR and thanks to this, I have been able to create a network with the Committees of other residences. In this way we find it much easier to exchange information. For example, soon we are going to organise a series of concerts in my residence. I am sure that with their help the concerts will be accessible to everyone on the International Campus.
Finally, I am going to get involved this year in the Campus Festival [Editor’s note: 1st, 2nd, 3rd June 2012]. My aim is to organise a variety of activities. To do better than the previous year. We are, moreover, in search of artists who want to perform on stage during the week end of the Festival – a notice for music lovers and performers!
Do you think that your stay at the International Campus will be of use to you in your future career?
You know, living on the International Campus is a very enriching experience. The residents have enormous potential. The residents with whom I have formed links today are, for the most part, pursuing prestigious career paths and I think that they will become the decision-makers of the near future. It is always interesting to keep in touch with such people. But we will find out ten years from now [laughs].
5 details about Mamadou
You favourite residence at the Campus
Arts & Métiers. Not a very original reply, but it is the only residence where I have lived.
The least typical nationality encountered on the Campus?
I have a friend who is Pakistani-Bangladeshi.
Your favourite month on the Campus?
Without doubt March to April. The grounds are so beautiful then!
Your favourite Festival?
The Festival of Morocco last year, I helped to organise it. It was really splendid!
Your Campus in one word?
Resident of the Fondation BIERMANS-LAPÔTRE
Hannah, how did you get to know about the International University Campus in Paris?
You know, the International University Campus in Paris is a bit of family history. My grandfather, Marcel COCUDE, was a resident in the Collège néerlandais (Editor’s note: from 1955 to 1958). He then became President of the Alliance Internationale (1971-1984). He is still very active today in the International Campus. He takes part in a variety of events, especially at the RIAC (Rencontres Internationale des Anciens de la Cité). My mother has also told me a lot about this magical place since she worked at the Fondation Nationale when she was younger. She worked at the Admissions Service. She has always told me that she enjoyed it very much.
So I have always known about the International Campus. On the other hand, the idea of coming here came to me some time later. Two years ago, when I was living on my own in a flat in Paris, I met some Campus residents who absolutely convinced me that I ought to come and live here. I applied straight way to the Fondation des Etats-Unis and I was accepted!
You have lived in two Residences in two years; tell us about “your” International Campus?
There is always something new to discover! Here you come across all sorts of different cultures, which I would never have had the chance to encounter elsewhere. I go into the kitchen in my residence and I find myself with a dozen different nationalities. It is incredible and unique! What is really interesting is that we all have very different backgrounds. This is a cosmopolitan universe of incredible wealth, where scientists meet arts students and artist rub shoulders with engineers, for example. Totally unusual, isn’t it? And then, life in the residences is really great. There are concerts, exhibitions and a variety of events every week. Without mentioning the facilities: performance halls, music halls, fitness rooms etc. It is a privilege to be a resident on the Campus, because you have the advantages of living in Paris without the disadvantages. You are surrounded by two large parks, in very good conditions, at affordable rents. You are 10 minutes from Notre Dame. I challenge you to find anything better in Paris [laughs].
Hannah, I believe that you are involved in the life of the residents on the Campus, can you tell us about that?
In fact, when I arrived at the Campus, I was hoping to find a way of meeting the largest possible number of residents and to experience the diversity which is so characteristic of the Campus. I got involved in the Residents’’ Committee at the Fondation des Etats-Unis last year and in the BIERMANS-LAPÔTRE committee this year. You know, perhaps that it can be easy to return each evening to the Campus and to go back to your room to work without meeting a soul. It seemed a shame to me to live on the Campus and not to benefit to the full from this opportunity to meet people from the four corners of the Earth. For me to have failed to get involved would have been to miss out on part of the experience. Last year, for example, I got very involved in organising the Campus Festival. It was a superb experience. This year, unfortunately, my studies will not allow me to get involved as I did last year. But I will be there nonetheless as back-up to give the benefit of my experience. And of course, don’t forget that this year I am still a member of the ADCR.
Do you dread leaving the International Campus?
Of course, like everyone else, but I think that you never really leave the International Campus, once you have learned to love it. We carry it with us throughout our lives. Obviously, I shall find it a sad day, when I leave, but that’s life. We are bound to keep in touch with our friends from the Campus. And I’ll let you into a secret; in any case, the day I leave, I shall enrol at the Alliance Internationale!
5 details about Hannah
Your favourite residence on the Campus?
That is a very difficult choice [laughs]. I don’t want to create jealousy between the Fondation des Etats-Unis and BIERMANS-LAPÔTRE, so I would say the Maison Internationale.
The most unusual nationality you have encountered on the Campus?
I have a friend who is Russo-Algerian. I didn’t think that that existed [laughs].
You favourite season on the Campus?
Spring. The grounds are so magnificent and the lawns are covered with residents, who go there in the evening to enjoy an aperitif.
The most memorable festival?
Last year’s Campus Festival, it was really great!
Your International Campus in one word?
L’Assemblée des Délégués des comités de résidents (The Assembly of Delegates from the Residents’ Committees, ADCR)
Each committee sends two delegates to represent the residents on the International Campus scale ( 1 tenured and 1 deputy). They discuss subjects concerning the community with the administrators.
The Resident Administrators
The members of the ADCR elect from their number four Resident Administrators (2 tenured and 2 deputies). These sit in their own right on the Management Board of the International Campus.