The Sciences Po – Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Executive Education Programme
This morning at the Paris Political Studies Institute (Sciences Po), Arnaud Lagardère, Chairman of the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation, and Richard Descoings, Director of Sciences Po, launched a pioneering new training programme for top-level athletes. The objective is to offer champions the opportunity to plan for their professional futures through multidisciplinary training courses, made available to them throughout their athletic careers. This initiative by the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation and Sciences Po represents a trail-blazing cooperative effort between two, often-disparate worlds: competitive sports and higher education.
A first in France – the combined pursuit of athletic and academic excellence
The Sciences Po – Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Executive Education Programme is an innovative pilot project that offers competitive athletes at various stages in their careers the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge and special expertise in preparation for their post-athletic careers.
This project originated from two observations: first, that sports are often relegated to second-class status in the world of higher education, and second, that issues involving the role of sports and top-level athletes’ place in society have still not been sufficiently addressed. “Competitive athletes can offer much to the community, but until now the French educational system has done nothing to help them realize their full worth,” explains Arnaud Lagardère, Chairman of the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation.
By associating top-level athletes with a prestigious, selective institution of higher education, the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation and Sciences Po aim to extend the influence of competitive athletes beyond the sports world. Sciences Po Director Richard Descoings stresses that this is a genuinely civic-minded approach: “This search for excellence is nourished by the diversity that high-level athletes contribute to society,” he says, adding, “We felt we had a duty to stand behind these champions.”
The first class of 17 students
For the programme’s first class, Sciences Po picked 17 athletes at various stages in their careers from a variety of different disciplines (tennis, athletics, triathlon, badminton and modern pentathlon). The students – all selected through TeamLagardère and the Lagardère Paris Racing club, which serve as veritable breeding grounds for French champions – were chosen after a personal interview on the basis of their motivation and career plans.
The class of 2007-08
- Arnaud Assoumani (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Disabled Athletics);
- Julien Benneteau (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Tennis Elite);
- Kevin Botti (TeamLagardère – Tennis Espoir); Fabrice Calligny (TeamLagardère – Athletics);
- Stephanie Cohen-Aloro (Lagardère Paris Racing – Tennis);
- Alizé Cornet (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Tennis Espoir);
- Juliette Darras (Lagardère Paris Racing – Modern Pentathlon);
- Arnaud Di Pasquale (Paris Jean Bouin, monitored via TeamLagardère – Tennis Elite);
- Youlia Fedossova (Lagardère Paris Racing – Tennis);
- Richard Gasquet (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Tennis Elite);
- Olivier Ibañez (Lagardère Paris Racing – Modern Pentathlon);
- Ayodélé Ikuesan (TeamLagardère – Athletics);
- Michael Jeremiasz (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Wheelchair Tennis);
- Paul-Henri Mathieu (Lagardère Paris Racing, monitored via TeamLagardère – Tennis Elite);
- Fabienne St Louis (Lagardère Paris Racing- Modern Triathlon);
- Julien Tchoryk (Lagardère Paris Racing – Badminton);
- Laurent Vidal (Lagardère Paris Racing- Modern Triathlon).
A multidisciplinary approach, providing a solid foundation for a new future
To ensure that athletes receive training relevant to their needs, the Sciences Po – Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Executive Education Programme offers several continuing-education modules. Depending on their level of studies, students can enter one of the programme’s four certificate courses: an initial, in-depth, improvement or specialized course. Earning the certificate is a two-step process: students first participate in a continuing-education stage, completing specific assignments throughout the year, and then they must pass a final examination, with a choice between an oral exam and a short paper.
The Sciences Po – Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Executive Education Programme offers a solid grounding in general culture with a focus on major contemporary issues, followed by a specialization stage in one of the following four majors: corporate management, the non-profit sector, the media, or international relations. Courses are held at two primary locations: Sciences Po and the Lagardère Paris Racing club.
The teaching team, comprising senior lecturers from Sciences Po, secondary school teachers and university professors and coaches, will ensure that students receive personalized attention throughout the year. In order to familiarize students with the business world, they will also participate in sessions led by executives from the Lagardère group and from the programme’s partner companies (BNP Paribas and Clifford Chance).
The Sciences Po – Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Executive Education Programme will be granted academic accreditation, so that athletes can prepare to meet admissions requirements for Sciences Po master’s programmes.
The Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation
The aim of the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation is to create excellence, nurture confidence and foster social cohesion in the fields of sports and culture. With these goals in mind, the foundation supports talented young creative minds and sponsors of social-solidarity projects. It endows France with exceptional venues for sports and culture and engages in committed social action at the heart of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. TeamLagardère and Lagardère Paris Racing represent the foundation’s goals in the realm of sports.
Continuing education at Sciences Po
As an extension of its programmes for students enrolled in initial-education programmes, Sciences Po has been offering continuing-education programmes for more than 30 years, aimed at executives and managers from the private and public sectors.
More than 5,400 trainees participated in the nearly 400 programmes offered in 2007, drawing on Science Po’s extraordinarily rich array of human, documentary and logistical resources, with the objective of maintaining and enhancing their professional skills base. Science Po’s course offerings are constantly being enriched with intensive seminars and executive master’s programmes in order to meet the needs of businesses and public-service agencies by providing customized solutions for their training requirements.