€4M to Create 21st-Century Centers for Teaching and Research

The generosity of the AUP community will enable us to support five interdisciplinary, cross- curricular centers for innovative, faculty-mentored research that have been designed to break down boundaries between disciplines and cultures. All of AUP’s centers encourage cross- cultural teamwork and travel-based, applied learning that go far beyond the traditional classroom experience. Our centers deliberately link teaching and research in a hands-on learning environment, enable student/faculty collaboration on projects of 21st-century importance, and foster a greater sense of global engagement in our students, the university community, and the world that surrounds us.

Each of our centers will have a distinct purpose of its own, directed by an AUP faculty member:

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention, thanks to a founding gift from two AUP parents, is the first center in France to host the complete collection of the USC Visual History Archive of 54,000 video testimonies of survivors of genocide worldwide. Imagine a research center in which students, faculty, and both French and international scholars work together on untangling the causes of genocide and mass violence, discovering together the best ways to circumvent such violence in the future; where a trained archivist teaches the community to access nearly 115,000 hours of audio-visual testimony; and where student fellows receive grants to pursue their own thesis research, travel, or collaborate with faculty on major projects in the field. All of this activity is embedded in an interdisciplinary curriculum built around the Archives.

The Joy and Edward Frieman Center for Environmental Science

The Joy and Edward Frieman Center for Environmental Science, partially supported by a gift from the wife of a beloved trustee emeritus, will convene international scholars to collaborate on high-level climate change research, develop new pedagogies for environmental science education, raise public awareness, and champion undergraduate research alongside faculty mentors. Some of our students are already co-authoring scientific papers with their professors.

The Center for Critical Democracy Studies

The Center for Critical Democracy Studies, aiming to revitalize and rethink our current practices of democracy, has taken over the prestigious Tocqueville Review, hosted several major conferences on the state of our contemporary democracies, and is now turning its attention to teaching. With support, the Center hopes to create a summer Democracy Institute at AUP with its partner institutions and to launch a “Democracy Lab”: a design-thinking initiative that will encourage student experimentation with democratic principles and practice in tandem with traditional course work. 

The Center for Writers and Translators

The Center for Writers and Translators aims to understand the cultural impact of edging literary works across borders; to that end it hosts visiting translators and authors, sponsors numerous publication projects, and offers internships to student translators and editors. Some of our students have identified references that have long eluded trained scholars as they worked on the publication of the letters of Samuel Beckett. With additional support, the Center will extend our Cahiers series, highly acclaimed publications of original translations and writing in multiple languages, and host conferences, roundtables, and editing projects that foreground cultural translation.

The Center for Global Governance and Diplomacy

The Center for Global Governance and Diplomacy will capitalize on AUP’s European location to stage global debates featuring prominent diplomats and to provide students and faculty with opportunities to find workable, pragmatic, and empowering solutions to international political problems; the Center will feature an innovative, hands-on undergraduate curriculum for global explorers who will return to their native countries as leaders and creative thinkers. 

In addition, at the heart of the centers and serving as a hub for new curricular development is a Civic Media Lab, for which the University has received seed money from The A.W. Mellon Foundation. This "design studio" linking research, student learning and hands-on practice will feature specially configured spaces and multiple technologies to nurture project-based learning, and collaborative and creative thinking within the AUP community; a sandbox for experimentation, the Lab will have as its mission to enlist faculty and student passions in support of new curricular vehicles and interdisciplinary majors. Find out more about AUP's Research Centers and their current events and activities.