Refugees, Le Pen & Polls

By Megan Evershed

On the first day I went to go visit the refugees, there was a dead bird desiccating on the pavement outside of their apartment building. I turned to Lili, the girl who I was volunteering with, and made a face at her.

Before getting on the bus to a part of town I had never been to before, we had been given strict instructions not to give the refugees our phone number, not to tell anyone else in the apartment complex what we were doing there, and to keep a low profile. Needless to say, I was nervous and the rotting bird corpse was not helping my peace of mind. Nonetheless, we rang the doorbell to their apartment and were buzzed through the door.

Climbing four flights of stairs, I didn’t know what to expect. I had signed up to Interagir on a whim. I had never had any experience working with social justice issues, but I felt that I needed to do something to get outside of my campus bubble. Now here I was, notebook in hand, heart in my mouth, knocking on the door.

In 2016, there were 85,244 applicants seeking asylum in France. Out of these, there were 18,555 people claiming refugee status. The majority of these refugees are from Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania, and Syria. About 150 of those with refugee status have settled in Champagne-Ardenne. Noor and Mustafa and their two daughters are four of these refugees, and are the family who I work with.

Over the nine months I worked with them, they quickly became staple figures in my life. Noor welcomed us each week with a warm “Bienvenue,” Mustafa following with a jolly “Ça va?” As we built up a friendship with them, they became more comfortable with us. Noor would pray in the room while we were there, which Lili and I took as a profound display of trust. We would talk about laïcité in France, the upset Noor felt at having to remove her hijab to take a government photo, and the strange looks they got from neighbors.

In a country where Islamophobia and xenophobia have gripped the ongoing presidential election, the wariness Noor and Mustafa’s neighbors felt upon a Syrian family moving in next door isn’t that surprising. France has been in a state of emergency since late 2015 when the Paris attacks took place, and terrorism and immigration have been central topics in tabacs, kitchens, and cafes ever since then. Marine LePen, presidential candidate for the Front National, has made crushing terrorism a vital part of her platform. And the French are responding to her calls.

In a historical election where none of the mainstream political parties were elected to the second round, it’s safe to say she’s gotten her message through. The vote followed the death of a policeman on the Champs Elysées, who was killed by an “Isil-inspired” French national. Following the news of the attack, Le Pen called for the reinstitution of border checks and the expulsion of foreigners who are on watch lists. Many of her critics feared the attack would increase her voting percentage in the first round, which she passed with 21.7% of the vote.

In fact, she seems to be increasing her popularity. On April 27th, Presitrack recorded that Marine Le Pen would likely garner 41% of the vote in the second round, which was up one percent from just the day before. It’s plausible that with the intense atmosphere of xenophobia already bubbling in France, Le Pen’s percentages could grow before the May 7th voting date.

Of course, it’s not just France where we’ve seen presidential candidates capitalizing on fear and Islamophobia. In Trump’s America, where two travels bans have been passed and the government is attempting to fulfill the campaign promise of banning all Muslims, we need openness more than ever. I have lived in the US for ten years and became a green card holder only a few years ago. The first travel ban included a restriction on the entry of green card holders. Going to school in France, it struck me that if I came from Iran instead of the UK, I wouldn’t be allowed to go home.

More importantly, however, a family like Noor and Mustafa’s would not able to seek refuge in a country purportedly devoted to liberty and welcoming the “huddled masses.” For the sake of Noor and Mustafa, I hope we won’t see a repeat of the US presidential election. They’ve already suffered enough, and having Le Pen in the Palais Elysée would be an insult to their struggle.

SPE Debate: April 19th 2017

Moderators: Megan Evershed and Gaelle Fournier for the Sundial Press

For Greenception: Cyrielle Goldberg, Grégoire D’Allest

For Specimen: Anton Mukhamedov, Jake Jackowski

Megan: Okay we’re getting started…Zak you’re transcribing? If both teams could just present their programs in two minutes to begin?

Cyrielle: We are Greenception. Our program is mainly based on the idea of being a stronger bureau in Reims. Our main points are to develop the panier bio, especially for those who benefit from bursary funds; to do another Cop simulation, because the COP 22 worked really well. Regarding the city itself, we’d like to be further implanted inside the city with more partnerships, more deals with restaurants, and more initiatives to have a greener city and be more present.

Gregoire: And as the fourth bureau, we’d like to see us influencing the other three bureaux to make them more responsible, to make them greener. Rather than buying plastic cups all the time, to buy large amounts of eco-cups– say 300– and share them at the beginning of the year.

Anton: We’re Specimen. I’m Anton, I’m president, and this is Jake, who will be responsible for the Paniers bio if he’s elected. We think that Sciences Po Environnement has a huge potential to connect many actors on campus as well as on the local level. Here on campus, a lot of people are motivated to help the environment, but many people either don’t have opportunities to help out or they are not aware of them. Our plan is to make these issues more accessible by hosting regular spaces to discuss environmental affairs and assist in integrating that into student life. We don’t believe that we are too small to make change, but rather that within the prism of this campus that we can make the campus more sustainable. But for that, we need the information to make the campus more sustainable. We’d like to install a carbon and material footprint report that would be published monthly. We also plan to increase all the current projects in place on campus, by creating a partnership with farmers to make a farmers market on campus and sensibilizing students to important agricultural issues on campus.

Gaelle: If you had one project you could implement, what would it be?

Cyrielle: Cop 23 would be the most important. This year when they did it, it was really difficult to organize. But we’ve seen just how much of a success it’s been, and how people can get more involved in the environment on a political level. For COP 23, I think we’d like to go farther, and implement it as a tradition.

Gregoire: I really want to have COP as a discussion space to pool students from really diverse origins. RIMUN this year was very successful, and If we can make cop 23 as successful as RIMUN, that would be excellent.

Jake: The most important part of our platform would be a carbon footprint report. I think finding the extent to which we contribute to global warming and finding concrete steps to reducing our footprint– reducing water use, for example, would be a really concrete action.

Anton: Carbon footprint is not seen as a single measure but as something that really connects everything. It would allow students to feel responsible and help us form working groups to reduce that footprint together once we have that information, and whether we can utilize things like rain water for Sciences Po Potager and other projects. It wouldn’t just be a solid figure or number, but a series of sectors that would let us know about the various “ecological weights” on campus.

Gregoire: If I might, the footprint of food products at the CROUS is available on campus in the cafeteria.

Anton: Yes, but we don’t know the monthly level of carbon–

Grégoire: But especially for the Crous–

Anton: But we don’t know how much per month is consumed. We need that in order to negotiate and find more sustainable options.

Gregoire: But on an individual level, you already know, and that’s what allows you to —

M: Alright, let’s move to the next question. What will you guys do different from the current bureau?

Anton: Well, we actually appreciated a lot of the projects that SPE did this year. We would like to expand what’s already been done. For COP 23, I don’t want to plagiarize but it really is an important project and we’d like to invite ecologists on campus to give feedback and really expose us to their knowledge. We’d like to see greater exposure with the Panier bio and the potager programs. We also think that despite the great work SPE does, many students do not feel a part of it. We want to create stronger ties between the bureau and the student body.

Cyrielle: We think that one of the main things might be communication, so every student feels like they can act at their own level to see how they can be useful and what impact they can have. Sometimes when we speak of the environment, it feels far away, like we can’t affect it; we wanna sensibilize people onto the impact they can have.

Gaelle: Why did you want to run for SPE?

C: I wanted to run because at the start of the year I wasn’t really implicated  in  the association. As I kept working, I saw just how much we could do with so little. On a personal side, I’d like to work in environmentalism and I come from a city that has a lot of political and social action dedicated to environmental affairs– like bike lanes and sustainable design for example. I’d like to see similar actions being implemented in Reims.

G: For the whole first semester I wasn’t engaged in any association really, but the one that stood out the most on campus was SPE. I didn’t do COP 22, but I heard so much about it that I regretted doing it. We took Panier Bio in 23nd semester and always regretted not doing it before. I think that it’s really important to show that it’s an association that can take from the beginning of the year to the end. I’m tired of missing opportunities.

J: I don’t think any of us aren’t environmentalists. I wasn’t really in the loop for SPe events in the first semester and really want to continue with what I did in high school in environmental associations and push for activism here on campus.

A: On a personal level, I’ve always been interested in ecological problems on the macro level– I’ve read a lot of analyses. Then I realized it was much more interesting to apply this in terms of local solutions, because for each problem there are several solutions. Even in food waste, for example, we see there are so many alternatives to living a different life and using our waste effectively and creating. Having talked to other people I felt like I could bring some more connections to create this list.

M: How did you guys come up with the name?

A: We hesitated about our name for quite a while, but when we heard Specimen we kinda fell in love with it. Because of the meaning that the word Specimen carries; it means a lot of stuff and the very definition of it is something that stands out to represent a species. It makes people think.

J: Our original team name was “special snowflakes”, I’m really glad we changed.

C: We had lots of ideas, but one day it was like “Green Ception”

G: Shout out to [not clear]

C: Everyone voted unanimously for it because we liked the idea of “planting ideas” in people’s heads like they do in the dream, only we’re planting, not stealing ideas. We’re creating urgency to make change.

G: We also liked the ideas of layers– layers of the dreams, layers of action. We both have good names.

Gaelle: Did you form your list based on friendship or other opportunities?

J: Not just on friendship. For example, I didn’t know a lot of people in the list. Anton was the person who roped me in I would say– so I think everyone connects back to him in a certain sense, but we draw from a diverse pool of students– many are international, some are LGBT, and other students all come from diverse walks of life.

A: I connected the people, but I didn’t know many of them before speaking to them about this project. I spoke to a lot of people to see how motivated and environmentalist they were. So this list was based on ideas. When people had an idea I thought was interesting, we were inclusive with it. Even if someone wasn’t friend’s with us, we always welcome them into our list to suggest things. Friendship was the goal but not criteria.

C: We asked everyone from the association this year what they expected for next year. We drew in a mixture of motivated old people as well as new people, based fully on personal motivation as well as the fact they must be environmentalists. Friendship ties played a minimal role, which is what makes it really diverse.

G: I wasn’t in the association before, and I didn’t know most of the people before. Cyrielle and Ines were really successfully in pulling interested and competent people into the final project.

M: Okay, now we’re taking a question submitted by the student body. “How is your vision different from the other list? I’m worried because often communication is in French, or the English translation is riddled with errors. As an English speaker I’m concerned we’ll be ignored next year” That seems like two questions, so let’s start with the second.

C: Well, sorry for the mistakes, but we have anglophones in both our lists….

J: And we’re doing the debate in English.

C: We do everything bilingually.

C: There are english people in our list, of course they’ll be involved.

A: I didn’t spot any grammatical mistakes in our programs. I think the question is fair because something could be lost in translation, though. Some of the criticism we heard is that we have too many anglophones, but I’m confident that this problem can be resolved as I’m a french speaker, and we have many strong french speakers or francophones on our list. There are solutions to any problem, and the posts we make are usually translated. When we make a post just in english, it’s to quickly get the point across in a  time of urgency.

M: So how is your vision different from the other list?

C” I don’t think it’s that different. Maybe some technical things, but it’s not like we’re so different. We like the same things and have the same vision of ecology

G: I really think that what is going to be the decisive factor for voters are who we see more as enviro-friendly, or maybe just competence. Competence more than the former. I think we’re all for the same cause in the end. And regarding the last question. I don’t see how SPE could favor francophones.

A: Well the first question is hard to answer without trying to interpret the other lists vision, which I wouldn’t dare to do. But even when we speak about such a common goal like ecology, there are differences. We’re united by a lot of the same principles, but we really tried to offer something unique with our program. I personally want people to vote on programs, whether they are relevant and applicable. The vision our list has, I would say, is holistic in that it tries to create links between levels and actors in a systematic way– not only thinking of small things we can improve but also how we can make the system work in such a way so as to improve as many things as possible.

G: From that, we might be more bottom-up. We won’t be able to go further– like to the national level– and are scared we might lose ourselves, even with our operations at the regional level we’re already stretched thin.

A: The only thing we can dare to do on the national level is cooperating with other SPE programs to share ideas in the country, and possible put more pressure on the sciences po administration in the national level. But systemic change only comes with bottom up pressure, so we need to be responsible and transfer some of that to the student body whenever they are ready and committed to doing it. Decentralization is important to us.

G: Another question from the student body: What new events and programs to you plan to bring to the campus?

A: For instance, we mentioned water collection on campus for Potager. This is something very small that has a very symbolic impact, it might seem small or silly but there’s a lot that can be done in that. Ecology is also about dealing with what we have already, and the student lounge might become a very welcoming space if we can bring plants and discussions to the space to use it properly.

J: Making recycling more visible on campus is a small and easy concrete step, as well.

G: We have a fridge in the student lounge that is basically always empty. We like to see what’s happening with Residium and bring it to campus, so that when you leave on a holiday you can leave things there and people can take it and eat it in the idea of limited waste. People are also lost as to what they can throw in the recycling box– their greasy pizzas and such–, so I think we need more communication on this.

A: I think people also feel that recycling is a bit useless, that waste all goes in the same place. Our questionnaire found that recycling came up really often and was a big priority on campus.

C: I think people need to understand what happens to the rubbish they throw out– it’s not just going in the bin. People might see SPE as a joke, but we really need to make clear that we are necessary.

M: How do you justify giving out free meat and plastic cups when there are detrimental effects for the environment?

C: Well, we had a bbq with the AS and we were attacked by Specimen–

A: There is someone from our list who posted a comment. Whether I agree with that comment or not is irrelevant, but we took no official stance.

C: We’d like to respond that we are aware of the effects of meat on the ecosystem. But it was an interlist event and it’s the AS, of course they’re going to have meat. We didn’t contribute to buying meat, we had organic fruits and vegetables for people who wanted a different meal. We only brought recycled eco-cups for the list.

G: And plastic dishes that we washed and reused. The meat we gave out was taken from someone who would have otherwise thrown it out, so it would have been wasted otherwise.

A: I think the more useful strategy for this campaign is not to condemn. Our alternative to that event is the vegan bbq on saturday to which you’re all invited. We don’t want to involve ourselves with anything involving meat, but we’re aware of the plastic problem and we have cups made from a recyclable, returnable plastic from the same material as your cups. We bought plastic cups for juice but only because we didn’t have enough of the former cups. We’re aware of the problem and are switching our strategy.

G: Some people have complained about their mental health on campus– any solutions from SPE to address these issues?

C: Of course we can work with other bureaux. We’re trying to get a nap room on campus because students are just so exhausted.

J: I think that de-stressing is wonderful. We all need to do it and alleviate our stress.

A: I wanted to just mention our vice president is Monica. She is one of the people who is most committed to personal welfare and health, and she teachers yoga and added most of the well-being ideas to our list. I would very much like to go in the direction of improving student life, because ecology is also about personal welfare and how you feel. A very big chance that would transform a lot of stuff would be negotiations to remove classes between 8 and 10 AM, because studies have claimed that it is actually equivalent to torture in terms of mental health. I think having that discussion and working about working in discord with your own biological health would bring welfare.

C: I feel most effective in the morning, personally.

A: I’m not a scientist, but generally I think there needs to be a student- wide discussion on whether those classes are important for personal health.

C: I’d rather take away the ones from 5-7.

G: I think it’s also eating well– that’s important for mental health, which is why we need the panier bio. During exams you need carbs, things like potatoes, pasta, and rice to get people eating and sleeping well.

M: We’ll now open up to questions from the audience.

Teddy: Regarding Greenception’s point; you say the other list had a semblance of being active without being pragmatic–

G: We said we are more bottom-up.

A: One of the 4 sections of our platform is about student implication, actually.

Teddy: You said the COP 23 simulation was the most important thing to do. So the accusation of the other list of being pragmatic– don’t you think engaging in real change is more important than eating meat, simulations, having your T shirts made in Bangladesh…

GREENCEPTION LIST MEMBER: Our shirts are made in Belgium, actually.

Teddy: So if I take a peek back there, there won’t be any Bangladesh?

GREENCEPTION LIST MEMBER: I think you looked today actually, and you saw it was Belgium.

Teddy: Fair enough.

G: The COP 23 is not giving an example but rather to show– when you do a MUN simulation, for example, that stimulates interest in the subject and makes you passionate about it. For individuals doing the simulation that will likely be really important for them. It’s about engaging the individual into understanding what are the problems with doing environmentally friendly policies around the world, but also about what is happening. You need the causes to find the solutions.

C: In resolutions, you actually get to see what could be done about the problem. COP 23 is important for us, we agree on that, and we also agree on reducing sciences po’s carbon footprint– light, heating, and printing, because we know people like to get involved in that kind of thing.

GREENCEPTION LIST MEMBER 2: It’s also just not a symbol. Personally, I didn’t have interest in environmental protection during the COP 22, it’s’ really to deepen awareness of the student body. I think it’s great to change the lightbulb, but it’s also a great objective to make each student think about their own actions.

Teddy:  But is environmentalism not more about collective action more than individual reflection?

Marianne Carre (Greenception List Member): But you don’t have collective action if you don’t have action. COP 23 is more about the fact that if you’re talking about student engagement, and you’re saying that you need to engage students in environmental life, then this is the greater example to engage them. They’re loving what they’re doing, discovering a lot of things… you cannot force people to be environmentalists.

Teddy: I think it’s an interesting response. I’ve never had good experiences at MUN… I just seep people in suits, drinking and partying. I would prefer that the most important project be real environmental change.

C: The other projects are just as important.

Teddy: Fair enough.

G: Just to reiterate from the previous question: the plastic plates were reused.

Mark: Are you guys elected, or did you just assemble the lists?

C: We had a discussion of who wants to do what, and no one else wanted to be president. People liked their polls and I wanted to do more than just work in one poll, and I was very motivated to take concrete steps regarding the environment. And they said “sure”.

G: It was consensual.

A: When we started working on the list we were 3-5 people trying to get other people who are motivated and engaged. Since the beginning when the discussion positions of leadership happened, I said that I could be the president, but I would be fine with anyone else who is as engaged to be president. So yeah, there were no elections but it was very consensual. At one moment, we thought about whether Monica would be president, and I actually proposed that. We wanted to be co-presidents, but apparently it’s not possible, which is a pity.

Audience Member: Sciences Po students don’t meet other people at Reims: We have the other 3 Bureaux who organize things with other schools, other ideas?

C: Currently, we’ve written a petition for more bike paths in Reims which NEOMA and other students are helping us spread. We’d like to have a closure of this petition and then do something with them after, acknowledging that they have environmental associations that we can also work with. People are asking for petitions a lot– we’ve been told 5-6 times to ask for more recycling bins in Sciences Po.

Audience Member: But a petition is not about involvement– for example, trips that you do to Epernay maybe?

C: I mean, we are so far away from them [URCA], we don’t even know they exist. We’d like to organize more hiking trips with them if we can.

A: To get to know other students in Reims, we have to see what we can do together. Sciences po Reims students are far from the only ones with bikes, we’ve discussed partnering with an association that helps repair and recycle bikes. Very few people know about it that they can get their bikes to be repaired for free or even repair them themselves. with that, we could propose cooperation with other campuses in Reims by showing its in all of our interests to use this kind of service. As for more bike paths, for it to happen we’d need a lot of people interested in this who are willing to participate and willing to organize and put pressure on the Reims mayor.

C: Which is why we also participate with them [the bike association].

Mark: How politically engaged do you want to be? Would you endorse a candidate who is more ecologically friendly?

C: I don’t think that really matters. We’re apolitical, the important thing is that we support the environment and ecology.

A: We don’t endorse anyone officially. A lot of people in our list don’t have the same political opinions, and I don’t think it should be relevant. My opinion is that ecological candidates need to unite together, and that’s great for debate, but I think endorsing someone is counterproductive. No candidate can end climate change.

Teddy: How is ecology and the environment apolitical?

C: I think you can be right wing or left wing and still be an environmentalist; just in different ways. Left wing wants to stop consumerism and change growth, and the right just wants sustainable growth. They’re different ideas in the same list.

Teddy: Where do you place yourself?

C: I don’t think that matters. I support Hamon, but you could support Fillion and still be an environmentalist.

A: Same conception of this. Some of our ecology prizes are books, one of which analyzes the ecological propositions for all the candidates. Environmentalism might be political, but it shouldn’t reduce itself down to candidatures. That’s counterproductive.

Audience Member: Do you plan on organizing more conferences with guests?

C: The problem with conferences is you never know who is going to show up. If we can have more people here to speak that’d be great.

A: It was a great pity that there were not enough environmental activists or scientists or activists on campus this year. It’s a very crucial point, and while preparing for the campaign we received responses saying they’d be very willing to come next year, including people from Terre et humanisme and other permaculture organizations. We’d love to organize more discussions and conferences in a convivial setting.

Audience Member: Do you have any partnerships with restaurants in Reims?

C: We have le Cabasson, Chez Lou, and Symbiosez *(soap shop, organics) we do already have quite a few. Le cave a pain, as well.

A: We circled the bakeries in and outside of Reims to see what’s happening with food waste, and we were happy to see that a lot of them are in agreement with us. Bakeries and shops usually give unsold food to the homeless, which is something that is obviously really important. There are good things happening here, and if we’re not specifically talking about food waste, we don’t have many partnerships with restaurants. We focused on local urban agriculture organizations.

« Parce que je suis plus grand, je suis plus fort, j’ai des flingues. »

By Sarah Tosca Levy, photos by Juliette Briey.

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Samedi 1er avril, dans le vieux réfectoire, le sol était constellé de miettes –celles d’une brioche effritée, celles d’un immeuble éventré, celles des corps disloqués. Le petit déjeuner est servi. Au menu ? Un kamikaze, deux amants qui batifolent, une quarantenaire presque folle, une fille jetée à terre, une psychologue, des condoléances, des danses hallucinées. Drama’thalia, la troupe de théâtre du campus de Reims, nous offre une interprétation bilingue de « War and Breakfast » des plus goûteuses.

« War and Breakfast », c’est d’abord une pièce de Mark Ravenhill, publiée en Angleterre en 2008, soit cinq ans après le début de la guerre en Irak menée aux côtés des Etats-Unis, sous le gouvernement Blair. Initialement composée de seize scènes, la pièce aborde des sujets aussi variés et puissants que la guerre, le terrorisme, l’intolérance, sans pour autant sacrifier une certaine fraîcheur et une impertinence chères à Nathanaël Ruestchmann, le metteur en scène. « On a choisi de jouer six scènes, deux en anglais, quatre en français. On a aussi ajouté deux scènes de transition, qui sont plus légères et optimistes. Pour nous, il était important de réussir à faire sourire le spectateur, le faire décompresser entre deux scènes difficiles par leur violence.»

Les défis étaient multiples pour Drama’thalia, troisième troupe française à n’avoir jamais interprété War and Breakfast : le texte, poétique et noir, peu apprivoisable pour la mise en scène ; l’engagement frontal de la pièce et l’humilité qu’implique l’incarnation des victimes et bourreaux de la guerre. C’est d’ailleurs avec l’aide de Guillaume Piketty, professeur d’histoire à Sciences Po Paris dont les recherches portent entre autres sur le phénomène guerrier au vingtième siècle, que la troupe a pu nourrir son interprétation du texte.

Le résultat ? Une pièce mémorable au sens originel du terme – une pièce qui laisse des marques sans laisser indifférent, une expérience sensorielle portée par une troupe dynamique et émouvante. On se prend à fredonner « Où va le monde », chanson de La Femme ô combien pertinente et amère dans le contexte de la pièce ; on se crispe face aux sanglots d’une mère amputée de son fils mort au combat ; et surtout, on réfléchit, on n’arrête pas de réfléchir, on ne veut plus arrêter de réfléchir. Comme un enfant qui poserait des questions sur ce qui l’entoure, sur ce qui est évident aux yeux de tous – qui est bon, qui est mauvais, qui meurt et fait mourir.

Prochaine et dernière représentation le jeudi 13 avril de 19h15 à 20h45, Salle François Goguel (Paris 7ème)

Réservations et informations sur la page Facebook de la pièce :

Humans of RIMUN

By Gaëlle Fournier.


Gustave Lebeau, Irak Delegate, League of Nations Committee, ESPOL ” Je viens de Lille, c’est pas loin, c’est le cas de le dire. On est vraiment contents d’être venus au Rimun, on est trente de l’ESPOL dans notre délégation cette année. Le campus de Sciences Po à Reims est super agréable. J’étais déjà venu l’an dernier, et ça m’avait bien plu. La conférence d’entrée au Centre des Congrès hier était vraiment sympa, et celle de l’an dernier aussi. Le concert à Capella était vraiment cool. C’est pour toutes ces différentes raisons que nous sommes revenus. Et puis, c’est toujours intéressant de découvrir le fonctionnement d’assemblées internationales, et ce qui se passe en réalité en politique. “



Karim Baghdadi, Venezuela Delegate, Security Council, Euram 1A ” Rimun is a unique opportunity to step into a mysterious world. »



Yann Le Meillour, Russian Federation Delegate, ECOSOC, Euram 1A ” J’ai choisi de participer à Rimun afin d’apprendre des ‘new skills’ en anglais, mais aussi pour me permettre d’approfondir et de comparer avec les autres pays la politique extérieure de la Russie par les recherches que j’ai eu à faire pour préparer cette assemblée. Rimun, c’est également des rencontres avec de nombreux étudiants d’autres campus de Sciences Po et d’autres universités pour discuter de ces affaires internationales. “



Michele Cingolani, Sciences Po, 2A, Campus de Poitiers ” J’ai choisi de faire Rimun car je l’avais déjà fait l’an dernier et j’ai déjà fait plusieurs MUN. Rimun, c’est toujours une excellente occasion de se rapprocher des autres campus, l’ambiance est très détendue, c’est super. “



Aminaa, Australia Delegate, SOCHUM Committee, 2A Administration Economique et Sociale, URCA «I’m from Mongolia and I study here in Reims in Université de Champagne Ardenne. I decided to come here to experience something new because I have never done any MUN before. For now we are adopting a resolution draft. It is going pretty good and I’m loving the experience, by getting to meet all these students from all over the world and discussing the topics that usually I don’t feel particularly interested in and reading in my everyday life. So I’m getting a lot of knowledge out of it and that’s great. “



Adèle Rivet, Australia Delegate, WHO Delegation, Euram 1A ” Quitte à ne pas avoir notre mot à dire dans la vraie société, autant avoir l’impression de l’avoir à Rimun ! “



Agathe Semlali, Venezuela Delegate, WHO Delegation, ESPOL “C’est mon premier MUN. Faire Rimun, c’était un peu stressant au début, mais je me suis dit qu’il fallait me lancer. Je n’ai pas eu beaucoup d’entrainement jusqu’à présent. Je pense que Rimun peut m’offrir un aperçu des situations auxquelles je serai confrontée si je deviens diplomate et si ce métier est fait pour moi. Rencontrer des étudiants qui viennent de partout, et aborder tous ensemble des sujets très divers, c’est une expérience unique. Je conseille vraiment de s’inscrire et de participer au Rimun (le campus de Reims est génial !) ou d’autres MUN en général. “



Anne-Claire Kaiser, WHO Delegation, Euram 1A ” J’ai choisi de participer à Rimun car c’est vraiment un événement phare de Sciences Po, qui rythme l’année. Mais Rimun, c’est également la possibilité de rencontrer les étudiants d’autres campus et l’occasion de travailler mes ‘skills’ à l’oral . “



Benedetta Schiavone, Chair Committee, DISEC, Euram 1A “I do Rimun for the same reasons why I played being a princess when I was younger. You do what you want to be in the future. You are not sure whether you’ll become a delegate or an active member of the Chair Committee because you are realistic that this would not probably happen but you can still pretend to be one. It is nice to see how working hard during a committee, being either chair or delegate, brings you something. You create something by coming at the end with the draft resolution and just seeing it is really rewarding. “



Samuel Teichman, Saudi Arabia Delegate, DISEC, Euram 1A ” Rimun permet de se mettre dans des situations dans lesquelles je n’aurais jamais été. Par exemple, en étant dans DISEC, le comité qui se charge de limiter les armes, je représente l’Arabie Saoudite et vend donc des armes à tous les groupes terroristes possibles et imaginable et je trouve ça … génial ! C’est génial d’être là et de nier toute responsabilité en faisant genre ‘ non c’est pas vrai, c’est pas moi’, d’autant plus que les autres pays ne peuvent rien dire, vu que je leur vend aussi du pétrole. Grâce à Rimun, je me mets dans des situations dans lesquelles je ne me retrouverai vraiment jamais et c’est trop bien “.



Mathilde Renaudie, Nigeria Delegate, DISEC, Euram 1A ” Je représente donc le Nigéria dans le comité DISEC qui s’occupe de la sécurité et du désarmement international. En participant à Rimun, j’avais envie d’élargir mes horizons, de découvrir des étudiants de nationalités différentes mais aussi de collaborer non seulement avec des universités françaises mais aussi étrangères. Pour le moment j’ai trouvé ça super enrichissant et ce malgré le poids très infime que j’ai sur la scène internationale (rires ). J’ai contribué à l’éradication du commerce noir – illicit arms trade – en Afrique qui a fait de nombreuses victimes avec Boko Haram par exemple. Et merci pour les pains au chocolat, ils étaient fort appréciés ce matin, merci Rimun, on vous aime ! “



Claire Mouchotte, Pôle Relations Publiques, RIMUN Team, Euram 1A ” Je ne connaissais pas RIMUN avant, je n’en avais jamais fait dans mon lycée. Je me suis dit que le fait d’être dans l’association et de voir comment ça se déroulait de l’extérieur pouvait être vraiment intéressant pour une première approche. Faire partie du pôle relations publiques, qui est un pôle en français, me permet d’apprendre à gérer tout ce qui concerne les contacts avec l’extérieur, les partenariats et c’est vraiment intéressant. Avec RIMUN, j’ai appris à avoir le sens des relations et à promouvoir un projet. “



Andreea Flora, Security Council Chair and RIMUN Team, Euram 2A ” RIMUN is a great opportunity for us to finally get to practice all that we have been learning about in class. I’m a MUN addict so I do a lot of MUNs. RIMUN is an amazing experience, it is a great weekend and I’m really happy this happens in Reims.”



Clara Martín, Security Council Chair and RIMUN Team, Euram 2A ” RIMUN is a great way to meet new people, to be aware of the issues that we face today, to become familiar with them but also to have a ton of fun in a diplomatic context. “



Sitara Herur, Chair of UN Women Committee and her Vice Chair “I chose this committee because I’m really passionate about women’s rights issues. Moreover, I chose to come to RIMUN and chair here because I participated last year and I really wanted to contribute to the growth of this initiative.” “I was really interested by the fact that we have a Women’s Committee. I also got to get out with friends from primary school, so this is really nice! “


By Alexis Romet.


L’esprit fécond de juin fertilise la terre ;

La flore explosant, une festive éclosion

Parsème la forêt de germes de mystères.

Fol endroit, où s’opèrent ces transformations,

Dirige moi au travers de ton monastère,

Et montre moi cet arbre fort en ton bastion.


Gravé dans l’écorce de ce bois ancestral,

Un visage convulsionné se tord de peur.

Le temple sacré fait des fleurs ses vestales,

Prophètes le parfumant d’un fluide trompeur.

Au milieu de ce champêtre champ de pétales,

L’homme paralysé glisse dans la torpeur.


Les rameaux antiques du père trop âgé

Dissimulent la vérité aux yeux profanes,

Qui se fait feuillé dévot d’un voile ombragé.

Les sens étourdis par la jouvence diaphane,

Dans la pénombre se noient au lieu de nager ;

Puis, tel un bouquet, dans la vive passion fanent.


Avant que tu ne files dans la vieillesse,

Profite de ce vaste monde qui t’oppose ;

Laisse la nature surgir en ta jeunesse.

Libérant ton corps chaste d’une fin morose,

Elle te déflorera pour que tu renaisses.

Divulgue toi avec cette métamorphose.

The December Rate Hike

By William Labasi-Sammartino

In this month’s highly anticipated Fed decision, it is widely expected that the Federal funds rate  will be raised. At time of writing, futures markets point to a near certain increase and a similar consensus is emerging from financial media outlets. Even though it may seem that the Fed leaves us absolutely clueless of their next move, we can actually estimate the appropriate nominal interest rate by trying out different rules which have historically predicted Fed behaviour. The Taylor rule is the most important.

The Taylor rule

In a famous 1993 paper(1), Stanford economist John B. Taylor estimates the Fed’s behaviour from the Volcker Disinflation to the the beginning of the 90s.

ff=  1.5π + 0.5yt + 1

π is the inflation rate, ff is the Fed Funds rates, and y is the output gap. It’s important to recognize that the nominal interest rate increases faster than inflation. Modified Taylor rules have replaced the coefficient on the output gap for 1 and have found to be more accurate. In any case, Taylor’s rule works well in explaining Fed policy until the early 2000s:

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 1.08.53 PM.png

Under this rule, interest rates behave as expected: If inflation is on target at 2% and the output gap is 0, we should see interest rates at 4%. A caveat that should be highlighted — especially in light of our recent discussion on the level of the natural level of interest — is that Taylor’s original equation assumes a constant 2% interest rate that is consistent with full employment. A more detailed rule gives us room to change some of these assumptions:

fft=rt* + πt + 0.5(πt-πT)+0.5yt

where πT is the inflation target and rt* is the interest rate consistent with full employment. Without redrawing the curve, we can still see that the regular estimates are too high since rt*has recently been at much lower levels (around 0). The Taylor rule nevertheless gives us an idea of where monetary policy should be heading. Given the uptick in inflation and unemployment being at its natural rate, the current Fed funds rate is too low.

How monetary policy can offset swings in aggregate demand

We have inadvertently outlined a mechanism detailing how the Taylor rule could be used by the Fed to offset fiscal policy. If the US government ramps up fiscal policy, the Fed would be forced to react by raising interest rates so inflation doesn’t get out of control. This is one of the reasons why spending increases from a Trump presidency would therefore have limited stimulative effect on the demand-side of the economy. But this could also work in reverse: how does the Taylor rule work in a severe recession? As seen in the graph, the Fed should lower rates. If deflation and the output gap become problematic, the Taylor rule might actually dictate a negative rate which is obviously impossible to achieve under current arrangements. The point is that in normal circumstances, the Fed could offset any changes in aggregate demand — negative or positive. As previously mentioned, this exercise becomes a bit trickier when rates are at zero and they should be lower (when the economy is in a liquidity trap).

Even if there is more to a central bank’s reaction function than a simple interest rate rule, this is a good start. In a recent blog post, the Fed’s last chairman, Ben Bernanke, shares his views on the Taylor rule. (2)


(1) Taylor, John B. “Discretion versus Policy Rules in Practice.” Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 39 (1993): 195-214. Web.

(2) The blog post can be found at this link:

An Interview with Kellan Anfinson on Climate Change

By Cassandra Betts

What is the link between philosophy and climate change? How does one approach the climate change issue from a perspective other than the scientific one? Where does optimism fit into the picture? What can individual students do when faced with climate change? Kellan Anfinson sat down with the Sundial to explore all these questions and more. The teacher of multiple political theory courses at Sciences Po, Anfinson also teaches a course entitled “The Politics of Climate Change: Representations and Responses.” One of the most sought after courses during IPs, this class approaches climate change from sides beyond the traditional ones, exploring the links between climate change, Christianity, the economy, denial, and violence (to name a few.)

Anfinson, who is trained in political philosophy but has always been interested in environmentalism, started to dive into the issue more deeply for his dissertation, and was inspired by Kierkegaard’s theory of how one comes to believe in God. He asked himself the question: “What would it mean to believe in climate change the way that Kierkegaard believes in God?” From there, he took different concepts from different philosophers, including Nietzsche, and used these concepts to approach the momentous issue of climate change. “I got the idea to see what a class would look like where we try and just see it from a bunch of different sides, and see if some of those speak to us more and if some of those speak to us less. [We can see] where our own personal tipping points are, where we move from knowing about the issue to caring about the issue, or from knowing about the issue to finding our selves involved with the issue.”

Sundial: Talking about getting involved with the issue, it’s a really big issue and kind of daunting, do you think that individual actions do make a difference?

Anfinson: Yeah, definitely. Everything makes a difference. There’s always the question of scale and “a difference to what” but if it makes a difference to you to do one thing rather than another then you’ve already made some kind of difference. Sometimes I’ll talk to people and they’ll be like “well, I’ve become vegetarian or I’ve become vegan for environmental reasons and it produces these very difficult conversations with my family and even bigger problems when I visit my family, especially around the holidays.” I have friends who had to start cooking for themselves when they were twelve years old because their parents refused to accommodate their chosen eating style. And then when something that is a very minor issue in this way (for example saying I don’t want to have whatever cheese or some kind of dairy added to my vegetables) becomes a huge conflict, then you can see that it matters. Even if it doesn’t produce a change, even if it doesn’t convert your whole family, it makes them confront the issue. And when people get angry about it they deny it. And then that can extend all the way up.

You can have really momentous individual actions, like participating in protests, whether it be a march or, as people [including climate scientists] have been doing more in the United States, chaining themselves to the fence outside the White House. [This means that] there are very respected figures wearing suits who the police have to carry away. I think this matters even more. It puts more energy behind [your actions] and then you might decide not to fly. That seems like a very small thing that only you do, but every flight that you take, I forget exactly what the statistic is, but for example the flight from New York to London, if you just do that once [the emissions are equivalent to those of] the average driver in the UK who has a car. Just a one way flight takes a car off the road.

I think that everything is interconnected, and [actions] do build up. You get a level of resonance between personal action, community action, political action, and global change. An optimist would say ‘maybe all these things are starting to resonate together eventually and we will get some kind of meaningful global response in maybe the next ten years.’

Sundial: Optimism is a big question, it’s something that you’ve covered in your class, how optimistic do you think you are personally?

Anfinson: I’m an optimist in a dark way maybe? We all enjoy the world to various degrees. One of the questions at the heart of dealing with climate change is: could you still enjoy a world and love a world which was none the less capable, as this one seems to be, of catastrophic climate change that has the potential to plunge very large portions of the population into quite high degrees of suffering? Is that a world that you could find a home in for yourself, a spiritual home or an emotional home? I think if you can say yes to that question, if you can affirm that, then that’s not necessarily the most optimistic thing but it is …I would prefer to substitute the word ‘optimism’ with affirmation. Can you affirm various circumstances, even if you don’t want to predestine thing or believe that things will be good, especially when you want to be able to tell the truth about things that are not very nice to talk about and that sound very un-optimistic? There’s the argument that optimism gets in the way, that the desire to make things sound good, sound manageable, gets in the way of the ability to tell the truth about those things.

Sundial: Climate change is often associated with the hard sciences. What do you think is the role of other studies, like philosophy in the future of climate change?

Anfinson: You have one scientific view that will still insist that the data is there, that we just have to come to terms with the data and act on the data. But it doesn’t seem like that’s the way humans are, particularly in this instance. There are other scientists who are coming to terms with this. Maybe they’re not engaging in philosophy, but they’re saying that we need to engage in politics, we need to break down this idea that there has to be a strong division between objective science and political engagement.

If one of the key things that philosophy is trying to do is help us think about the meaning of our place in the world, then this is an immense time for philosophy. I think everyone is in some way a philosopher. Everyone likes to tell you how they see the world. When we start talking about things like the anthropocene, which might have a clear scientific definition that places it in a clear scientific category, using science we can say “we will be able to tell by the geological records that this is a new phase in the history of the earth.” That limits it in one way, because the whole label of the anthropocene opens up a philosophical question about what the role of humans on the earth is, what the meaning of human activity is, what the limits of humans are. I think it opens a lot of questions. I’m not saying that it’s the role of philosophy to answer them, but it’s useful to think about them philosophically and to explore them, and then maybe we can come back to the politics and the science with a little bit of a broader imagination and a new way of seeing things that will also give the type of activities that we have to engage in meaning. A lot of people writing about it will say “it seems like we’re going to have to consume a lot less, and own a lot less things, buy a lot less things, travel a lot less. A lot of people see that directly as a loss of meaning in life, a loss of value in life, and some may even say a life not worth living, but I don’t think that’s true. I think philosophy can help you give meaning to that. Also, if you’re in the camp of people who, when you think about environmental destruction and climate change you think it’s really just a technological problem. [Some people think] we just need time, and then we’ll have sufficient technology to engineer our way out of it, take carbon out of the atmosphere, build new habitable cities. [But] that technology doesn’t exist yet. It’s an issue of faith or an issue of philosophy. [Some people] see humans as fundamentally these rational beings without limits, who can achieve anything. I don’t deny that it’s a very nice picture, it’s pleasing in a lot of ways, but that’s fundamentally not an empirical observation, it’s a philosophical observation when you start putting your faith in a vision of humanity like that. Everyone’s tied up in philosophy, even if they’re not actively doing it.

Sundial: You brought up the point that a loss of consumption being equated to a loss of meaning, but there are groups of people who have never enjoyed this consumption. What do you think climate change means for the people who are not the consumers?

Anfinson:  Well I’d say it doesn’t look good. If we think that the political situation in Syria has produced a lot of refugees, that’s nothing compared to the number of refugees that climate change is going to produce. It’s kind of fascinating and surprising when you think that when some people imagine not being able to consume in the way they want to consume, they see that as a life not worth living, when at the same time there are people who have to leave all their possessions and their homelands and their family behind and journey into unknown places where they don’t speak the language, aren’t familiar with the institutions, aren’t familiar with the ecology and geography of the landscape, and the seasons. And yet they still find it worthwhile being alive, and worthwhile fighting for. And I think it is very interesting to see that contrast, and it can maybe serve as a bit of a reality check for people whose first intuition is that they can’t imagine being deprived of their consumption habits. They might be able to abstract from their own position for a second and come back and see that it’s not really so bad if I don’t have access to giant box stores filled with goods.

Sundial: What advice do you have to people who want to get involved, want to learn more about this issue but just don’t know where to start, because it seems so big and hopeless at times.

Anfinson: This is another place where small individual actions can be good. If people feel a lack of confidence and they feel ineffectual, even a small change can bolster their confidence a bit. I think every student when they get a nice grade on a paper (especially if it was higher than they were expecting) feels a nice surprise at their own efficacy and their own ability. Even if there are still problems, and even if there are still critical comments, they’re still feeling good about it. And that’s just a tiny thing. It’s one assignment that you wrote for one class in one year of your studies that you probably won’t look at again. [Climate change is] certainly something that can consume a lot of your time and energy if you want to give it to it, but it’s also enough to be a vigilant reader of the news. You can’t just read the front page because the environmental news gets slated to the bottom of the webpage, or to a separate section if you actually have a physical newspaper. Check those things out. Don’t just follow what’s happening with the next round of negotiations and agreements, try and follow the science sections as well. You don’t have to understand all of the science but we have very skilled science writers out there who are trying to translate the new things that science is seeing with climate change into a new language that is available for broader consumption. As you’re hearing something that might be a bit disturbing it’s also fascinating and empowering as well. You do really have a new knowledge about the world at that moment, and that’s a new knowledge that can inform the conversations you have with other people, the way you vote to the way you behave, the way you consume, whatever. You could give a lot, but you could also just start by looking at, first, the way you live your life, and second, how you read the news, which I think are very small entry points and very manageable for even a very busy student.