June 28, 2019 will mark one hundred years since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, an event that reshaped the world following the end of the First World War. To commemorate the occasion, scholars, historians and diplomats convened on May 24–26 for the Paris Centennial Conference, the first of a planned pair of conferences to be hosted by the Center for Critical Democracy Studies at The American University of Paris (AUP) in partnership with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. AUP was a natural choice to host such an international conference; its student body hails from over a hundred countries, and it serves as a meeting place of informed and globally minded people who will shape the future of international relations. Conference venues included the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, a prestigious social club founded following US entry into the First World War; the Franco-American friendship association France-Amériques; and AUP’s Student Life and Learning Commons. Learn more
On May 3 2016 Justice Stephen Breyer came to AUP to receive an honorary degree. We chose this opportunity to speak with Justice Breyer about his new book on international law, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities, and to ask him a series of questions on justice and free speech around the world which are captured in the video series below.
Watch more videos of Justice Breyer:
Improvisation, empathy, cooperation: signatures of jazz and qualities that critical democracies can take to heart. This evening brought to light a number of parallels between jazz and the potential of modern democracies.
The Marcus Roberts Trio played several pieces of their own composition and some classics during their discussion with Mr. Gregory Clark. The second act was entirely musical and clearly illustrated the lessons that Mr. Roberts and Mr. Clark had conveyed during the first act. Great music happens when the entire group plays, not just for itself, but for the betterment of the piece.
It was clear that this was an ongoing dialogue for both men. Their work together, be it in these public conversations, or in Mr. Clark’s book Civic Jazz, reinforces the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the Center that they were in Paris to launch. As the Center’s press release puts it, “[T]hey are exploring the influences for good that can emerge from jazz.”
While Mr. Roberts and Mr. Clark explore jazz, the Center for Critical Democracy Studies, through the work of Dr. Stephen Sawyer among others, will examine the influences for good that can emerge from interdisciplinary, interlingual, and intercultural dialogues and events that revolve around critical democracy. Dr. Sawyer, director of the new Center, said, “We cannot tackle these questions working alone,” and invites us all to join in the conversation about democracy. “There is no department or scholar at AUP and beyond that cannot actively contribute to this reflection.”
Take a look at the video and photo gallery below to get the highlights of the evening: