Founding Week 2023 Reflects on AUP’s International Values


Founding Week is AUP’s annual celebration of community members past and present who have made The American University of Paris what it is today. On March 27, 1962, AUP’s founder, Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater, signed the original charter of the American College in Paris, thereby realizing his vision of an American international institution in the heart of the City of Light. Founding Week, which this year took place from March 27 to April 2, brings community members together both in Paris and across the world to engage in conversations that continue our founder’s legacy, as today’s global explorers carry forward DeLamater’s belief in the importance of our international community.

A flagship addition to this year’s celebrations was the Founder’s Day Forum, an academic exploration of how AUP’s founding values of international cooperation and cultural exchange are showcased by the work of our global community today. “AUP continues to deliver on this vision,” said Dr. William Fisher, AUP’s Provost, introducing the Founder’s Day Forum. “It’s a place that nurtures multicultural and multidisciplinary perspectives, where experiences are designed to lead students outside their own original cultural and intellectual comfort zones to develop understanding and compassion for others.”

Faculty speakers Professor Susan Perry, Director of AUP’s MAs in International Affairs, and Professor Stephen Sawyer, Director of the Center for Critical Democracy Studies, reflected on how DeLamater’s vision has inspired their own work. Both delivered lectures that explored current events — in this case the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing protests against pension reform in France — in the context of AUP’s sixty-year academic goals: to teach students from all over the world to thrive in international environments, to respect and engage with multiple perspectives and to strive for collaboration across borders, languages and cultures.

Spirit Day took place on Tuesday, March 28. This on-campus event encouraged community members to wear their AUP colors and share their school pride. The lobby of the Combes Student Life Center was transformed into a community spirit hub, where students, staff and faculty could take part in games and activities and win AUP gear. The Office of Communications and Outreach teamed up with the Office of Human Resources to host tables on the day, and student clubs from across the University also shared their projects with the on-campus community. Elsewhere, AUP staff and faculty celebrated the week with their own gatherings, including a coffee roulette event run by Human Resources, which brought together groups of colleagues in cafes across the 7th arrondissement, and a series of excursions with AUP’s Leadership Team to museums, shops and cafes across the city.

AUP’s global alumni community also marked the occasion with 16 alumni events across the world, in cities ranging from San Francisco to Singapore as well as an online Zoom gathering organized by Black Alumni at AUP. The 145 alumni who attended these events used the occasion to catch up with old friends while reflecting on AUP’s mission and celebrating their ongoing membership of an extraordinary international learning community. “It’s wonderful to see so many alumni come together to celebrate the University’s founding principles,” said Kilian Ordelheide ’13, Director of Communications and Outreach. “As an AUP alumnus myself, I’m thrilled to be part of a worldwide community who share their perspectives and collaborate internationally on a regular basis.”