The discreet end of Sciences Po’s partnership with Total

Since 1ah As of January 1, TotalEnergies is no longer a patron of Sciences Po. The decision not to renew an almost twenty-year-old partnership was only communicated at its own discretion in the first week of April. Mathias Vicherat, the school’s new director, personally phoned the student representatives, including Titouan Le Bouard, from the National Union of Students of France (UNEF). “He told me that Total was closing and that he was looking for new funding from other companies,” says the student.

At the World the management announces that it is a “Mutual decision” not to renew the contract without “no specific reason”. “It’s the classic life of partnerships at Sciences Po, there’s a form of turnover”We add.

This great modesty raises questions about the reasons that led to the end of this collaboration. The story goes back to the early 2000s when former principal Richard Descoings created a new avenue to push for more social diversity in schools. Selected through an oral selection process, the new recruits, who come from high schools with priority education, will be provided with scholarships funded in part by French oil giant Total.

Gradually, the patron of the arts established himself through his foundation through the financing of excellence scholarships for international students of the master’s degree in public affairs and the Europe-Africa program. As of 2011 overall “participate actively” to the OMER Club (World Observatory of Issues and Risks) and “Support” the Center for International Studies and Research (CERI), recalls a press release from the institution, which at the time welcomed the signing of a new one “strategic partnership” over three years. More recently, between 2017 and 2021, the company helped launch the “First Campus” program, aimed at high school students on scholarships to prepare them for entry into higher education.

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“The agreement was due to end in December 2020, but at Sciences Po’s request, we have extended it by one year to deal with the precariousness caused by the health crisis.”says Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, General Delegate of the TotalEnergies Foundation, which puts the company’s annual contribution at 200,000 euros. “Sciences Po believed that implementation of priority education agreements could be sustained by other partnershipshe continues. In more than fifteen years we have done a great deal of good together and we will now let other structures benefit from our grants. » However, the door remains open, adds the General Delegate, who has declared his willingness to do so “to sit around the table again if the management of the institution wishes it”.

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