French-American Alliance Program celebrates its 20th anniversary

On 13th March, hundreds of participants gathered at a conference on climate change to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Alliance Program, which brings together four leading institutions of higher education: Columbia University, École polytechnique, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sciences Po.

Five years after the "Bridging Ideas" international symposium held at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to mark the fifteenth anniversary of Alliance, representatives of partner institutions and former beneficiaries of the program met at Sciences Po to highlight the achievements of an innovative and unique partnership between France and the United States.

Twenty years of transatlantic cooperation

Since its establishment in 2002, the Alliance Program has become a major platform for French-American dialogue by placing higher education institutions at the heart of transatlantic relations.

"I would like to thank all the professors and students who have taken part in this program since its launch. They are now ambassadors of French-American relations" emphasised Matthieu Peyraud, Director for Culture, Education, Research & Networking Coordination of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Thanks to the support it has received from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs since its very beginning, the Alliance Program has developed unique initiatives that have enabled the mobility of nearly 500 doctoral students and several hundred professors between France and the United States, the funding of joint research projects in a wide range of disciplines and the organisation of more than 1,500 scientific events on both sides of the Atlantic. Over the past twenty years, thousands of students have also benefited from the 10 international degrees co-developed under the Alliance Program, such as the double degrees in law and art history between Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Columbia University. "The Alliance Program is a fundamental strategic priority for the internationalisation of our institution" stated Christine Neau-Leduc, President of Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Provost of Columbia University Mary Boyce, President of École Polytechnique and Institut Polytechnique de Paris Éric Labaye, and Director of Sciences Po Mathias Vicherat also expressed their enthusiasm and praised the many accomplishments of the program over the past two decades.

Climate change at the forefront of discussions

Four months after COP27 and in order to mark the anniversary of this already historic program, a debate entitled "Climate Change: Toward A Paradigm Shift?" brought together leading researchers from the four partner institutions: Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, Professor at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Patricia Crifo, Professor at École Polytechnique; Joseph Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University; and Laurence Tubiana, Professor at Sciences Po and Director of the European Climate Foundation.

"I am particularly pleased to be here today as I have myself benefited from the Alliance Program as a visiting professor" recalled Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist, before giving some initial answers on the conference topic to Emmanuel Kattan, panel moderator and director of the Alliance Program.

While many challenges remain in the fight against climate change, the discussions between the speakers and with the public proved how valuable this transatlantic cooperation is, by sharing perspectives and carrying out collaborative thinking in an attempt to identify solutions to major contemporary issues.

Besides climate change, representatives of the four partner institutions announced that artificial intelligence should play a significant role within Alliance's cooperation projects in the coming years.

Learn more about the Alliance Program