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Highlights of the Researchers' Official Presentation Evening

20 oct 2020 13:30 - 30 oct 2020 13:30

On Monday, October 12, the official presentation evening of the 2020-2021 Research Fellows of the Institute was held. An evening that took place exceptionally, due to sanitary conditions, essentially virtual.

For those who could not follow the event live, we invite you to discover the official speeches of Saadi Lahlou, Director of the Paris IAS, Marie-Christine Lemardeley, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of higher education, student life and research, Dominique Schnapper, President of the Paris IAS, and Boris Jamet-Fournier, Paris Councillor and Paris Centre Councillor.

We also invite you to watch the researchers present their research projects on video!

Official Speeches

Saadi Lahlou, Director of the Paris IAS

Welcome to all

Dear members of our International Scientific Council and Board of Directors

Dear Deputy Mayor and Councilors of the City Halls of Paris and Paris Centre, Ile de France Region

Dear Presidents of Universities, COMUEs and Grandes Ecoles,

Dear Friends of the Presidency of the Republic, Ministries, major research organizations, foundations and research networks

Dear Research Fellows and fellow scientists, in France and abroad,

Dear friends of the Institute, whatever your institutional affiliation;

Thank you for coming in such large numbers this evening to participate in this presentation ceremony of the 2020-2021 cohort of researchers invited for long-term residence.

These researchers, who have come from all over the world, are the elite of the social sciences and humanities, the result of a rigorous selection among the very many candidates who wished to be hosted at the Paris IAS. I note that they have all made a special effort to ensure that their research is in line with the major societal challenges of our time, and I thank them for this. The contribution of the social sciences and humanities in these difficult times is more essential than ever.

This year, Covid makes it necessary for us to hold this reception online; it deprives us of a cocktail in our magnificent premises, but it also allows us to be more numerous.

The program is as follows:

First, a word from Professor Marie-Christine Lemardeley, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Higher Education, Research and Student Life. Marie-Christine, we are happy and honored by your presence.

Then Boris-Jamet Fournier, Councillor of Paris and Councillor of Paris Centre, who also gives us the honor and the pleasure to speak on behalf of Paris Centre.

Finally, a word from the president of the IAS, Dominique Schnapper, director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, a word that I am pleased to read for her, who is following us in video, because the quality of the sound is better from here than what we manage to do remotely with the complex device we use.

Next, a presentation of the research fellows, both intense and brief since we will introduce them to you in 21 minutes.

I wish you all an exciting and productive year.


Marie-Christine Lemardeley, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of higher education, student life and research

Good evening  to all of you,

I am very pleased to be here today alongside Saadi Lahlou and Dominique Schnapper to welcome the researchers who will be spending the next year at the Institut d'Études Avancées de Paris.

Of course, this year the conditions are special and we are at a distance. I would like to thank the IAS for taking all prudent measures against this virus.

We are at a distance, and yet, here you are, present in our City, in Paris.

Your presence, even at a distance, is already a victory against the virus.

We wanted this IAS for you. To welcome each year 25 researchers, among the most brilliant from around the world, to spend a year in Paris.

This year in our city is an opportunity for you to be freed from all other tasks. No teaching, no administrative tasks, but the opportunity to devote yourself exclusively to your research.

However, the IAS does not offer you a parenthesis out of the world. On the contrary, it is a unique opportunity to go to a new city and meet researchers from the other side of the world who are exploring fields you may not even have known existed. It is a chance to discover, to exchange, to engage in a dialogue that mixes languages and disciplines.

It is a Tower of Babel that feeds on differences but whose only language is intellectual curiosity.

For Paris it is a unique chance to have you.

Our City has a long history of sharing knowledge. It is in this melting pot that some of the most fundamental discoveries of our century have been made, in a wide range of disciplines. Many of the researchers who made them came from elsewhere, but chose Paris for the prestige of its laboratories, but also for its quality of life.

This is also why accommodation in the 14th arrondissement at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris is available.

Paris is a city that vibrates with a unique architectural heritage, a place in which culture takes center stage. A city where researchers enjoy an unparalleled aura.

To conclude, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris joins me in thanking you for choosing our City and we wish you a wonderful year, a year of fruitful work but also of exchanges, pleasure and discoveries.


Boris Jamet-Fournier, Councillor of Paris and Councillor of Arrondissement Paris Centre

Thank you, Madam Mayor.

Madam President,

Ladies and Gentlemen University Presidents and Vice-Presidents,

Mr. Director, dear Saadi,

Dear Researchers,

Dear members of the IAS team,

Dear all of you,

My name is Boris Jamet-Fournier and I am representing Ariel Weil, the Mayor of Paris Centre. He is unfortunately detained this evening alongside our Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, with whom he is participating in an event on 5G. I accompanied Ariel to this ceremony for the last two IAS cohorts and I know how much he would have liked to be there, as we enjoyed very much these moments of exchange. Of course, I would like to begin by congratulating you, the researchers of this cohort, for being selected after a process that I know is long and demanding.

Since last June, I have been a Paris City Councillor, in charge of the Participatory Budgeting, Citizen Participation, Neighbourhood Councils and Innovation for Paris Centre. In my opinion, it makes perfect sense for me to be in charge of citizen involvement in the life of the city, and innovation; this participation must be innovative and innovation-in your case, in science-can only be citizen-based.

I therefore welcome you and remind you that you are at home here in Paris.

You are at home at the Hôtel de Lauzun, a magnificent place offering you incredible conditions to work and advance your research. We don't know if a stay at the Hôtel de Lauzun is authentically Parisian, because it corresponds to the cliché of the beautiful French building with an incredible height under the ceiling or, on the contrary, very far from what makes the daily life of authentic Parisians - not everyone, I'm afraid, benefits from private mansions like this one. I invite you to go and meet them! The life of the people in our city, of our city, is now your life too.

You are at home in Paris Centre, four arrondissements with many research institutions to work with, libraries, cafés, museums and bakeries... everything you need to produce good research! As you may know, Paris Centre City Hall is fond of research and experimentation. Moreover, Ariel is an economist and I myself work in the world of research in civil life. So don't hesitate! Ask us for help! Propose us projects and collaborations. We will welcome you to discuss them as we did with a researcher from a previous year, Marylène Lieber, sociologist, professor in gender studies, with whom we have carried out a superb project on the place of women in the public space. I had met her during the presentation of her cohort and it is from our discussion that this quite amazing project was born.

You are finally at home in Paris. Paris is a city that loves and supports research: it is the leading city in the world in terms of investment in research and development. It is also ranked as the second university city in the world. The City of Paris supports the Institute, Paris Centre collaborates with it and we look forward to continuing this partnership!

As you will have understood, we love the Institute, and you too, I think, love it for the same reasons.

Its excellence.

Its transdisciplinary character.

Its truly extraordinary setting.

The slightly crazy bets that are born in the head of its director, to whom I again extend my warmest greetings.

I reiterate my most sincere congratulations and I conclude with a quote from Henri Michaux: "Every advance in science creates a new ignorance". So, with great enthusiasm, I wish you, this year, to create a lot of ignorance!

Thank you very much.


Dominique Schnapper, President of the Paris IAS

Every year, the ceremony for the presentation of new IAS research fellows is a particularly happy moment in the collective life of the Institute. It is an opportunity to get to know the new fellows and to prepare the intellectual encounters that will take place throughout the year, to exchange projects and thoughts with them as well as with the officials of the Paris City Hall and the presidents of the institutions with which we collaborate.

This year, this meeting, like many of our other projects, is taking on a new form. I don't underestimate the inconveniences that it will entail for many of you. As far as I am concerned, whatever the advantages of information technologies in these circumstances, it seems obvious to me that, for some relationships, there is no substitute for a real presence. This is the case when it comes to knowing and recognizing each other. And to put it simply, I deeply regret not being here, in the beautiful IAS building, with all of you together.

However, I do hope that we will have the opportunity to meet "for real", as the children say. I hope so, all the more so as this year's program seems to me particularly attractive, thrilling would say our English-speaking friends.

What is striking when reading these projects, all of high scientific quality, is how much they contribute to the questions that our societies are asking about their destiny. Research on the decomposition or possible end of democracies, on the dangers that mafias and violence pose to their functioning, as well as on their ability to respond to the challenges of ecological transition, are obviously at the heart of the reflection of all of us, and if you forgive me, especially mine. You do not avoid painful subjects or so-called sensitive issues, dealing with the transatlantic slave trade of Africans, the Algerian war and its aftermath, or the Holocaust in the streets of Paris during the Second World War. You know neither the problems of teaching nor what the debates on bioethics reveal to us. I am also very mindful of the fact that several of you, philosophers, specialists in cognitive or social neurosciences, are contributing to the program created and developed by Gretty Mirdal, our first director, "Brain, Culture and Society", in dialogue with historians and philosophers of science. And we will be able to think about our immediate future with economists, right now we need their help!

And because the most recent and hottest problems can only be understood if they are inscribed in the most ancient history, I am delighted to see one of you dealing with medicine in the Talmud, I have no doubt that this erudition will also be, in its own way, useful during the period we are going through. Physicians and medicine are the object of sharp criticism in times of pandemic, perhaps the Talmudists will have some answers for us. We are counting on them.

Whatever the drawbacks of the pandemic period, I have no doubt that, with the support of the admirable team responsible for this house, you will be able to take full advantage of a research stay, without external administrative constraints, where you will be able to meet at the Institute and in the universities of Greater Paris all those whose work you have read without ever having met them.

We will take advantage of your presence to learn, to reflect and to exchange ideas. A virus must not prevent intellectual life from developing. Together we will do everything to keep it alive and fruitful this year.

Enjoy your stay.



30 Oct 2020 13:30
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