AUP Commencement 2016

AUP’s commencement ceremony on May 24, 2016, at the Théâtre du Châtelet, was an especially reflective affair. In the midst of celebration, there was a sense that our graduates’ training as global explorers would be especially necessary in our uncertain times. The ceremony itself served as a call to arms against indifference, for as President Celeste Schenck noted, “Your generation’s potential to reshape the contours of the world is boundless.”




Bertram (Bertie) Lubner, philanthropist and humanitarian, sadly passed before he was able to receive his Honorary Degree. While accepting this honor on his behalf, his son Mark Lubner, and his granddaughter, Takara Lubner '14 served as moving examples of how Bertie’s efforts to improve the lives of the least-privileged had permeated into his family. Mark is now the head of the family-run organization MaAfrika Tikkun—deriving its name from the Jewish concept of “tikkun olam” or “engaging in acts of kindness to repair or perfect the world”—and Takara created AUP Cares, now an umbrella organization for all on-campus social entrepreneurship, philanthropic, and volunteer activities. President Schenck explained that, “The Lubner family believes that politics without principles, education without character, science without humanity, commerce without morality, are not only useless, but positively dangerous.” Mark would later share a favorite saying of his father’s: “You make a living by what you earn, but you make a life by what you give.”

During Justice Stephen Breyer’s video interview, our second Honorary Degree recipient discussed how, upon graduating, he’d been unsure as to what to do next. It would be the former Dean of Stanford Law School, Bayless Manning, who would tell him, “When you make decisions, you’ll probably know less than 2% of what you’d like to know. So, you’ll just have to decide, and you’ll see that your life will wrap itself around your decision.”

Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, the third Honorary Degree recipient, and deliverer of the Commencement Address, expressed his belief that we are living in a time when human rights values are increasingly under deliberate attack. Citing the probable cause as worldwide insecurity, he explained, “In such times, there is a tendency to retrench, to seek shelter among those who seem most like you, to shut the gates to others. That instinct provides the platform for the growing voices of hate.” He urged the graduates to accept responsibility for countering these attacks and to reject the assumption that hatred and intolerance are inevitable. He reminded them that communities and political movements often have humble beginnings. “Even if you start with just a few people, there’s a ripple effect. If all of you graduating today do your part, the ripples can become waves, even tides.”

The ceremony ended with two student speakers, both of whom spoke on how AUP’s values help create uniquely global thinkers and scholars. Luljeta Malota '16, the undergraduate speaker, appealed to her fellow graduates to live in the present. “Whatever is happening, is happening right now. It’s all right now.” The graduate speaker, Habiba Belguedj MIN '16, urged them to unite. “I challenge you to take the enthusiasm that surrounds us today out into the world with you.” Both wished the graduates joy, along with success.

We heartily congratulate the 2016 AUP graduates and look forward to seeing what future journeys they choose for themselves. We hope that they will continue to make their voices heard in the struggle for human rights and against indifference.




Welcoming Dr. Marcia Grant to AUP

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Marcia Grant will join our community as Interim Provost for the 2016-2017 academic year, arriving on campus August 16th, and continuing into early summer next year. Scott Sprenger will be taking administrative leave for a year.

Dr. Grant has had a fascinating global career as an academic entrepreneur, serving as founding dean at three American-style international universities abroad. Her work has always been characterized by a deep interest in student learning, in excellent teaching, and in faculty development. Grant helped to found Effat University, the first women’s liberal arts college in Saudi Arabia, the arts and sciences division of a liberal arts university for the Aga Khan in Pakistan, a new curriculum at Foreman Christian College in Lahore, and, most recently, the liberal arts curriculum of an American University in Ghana known as Ashesi, the brainchild of fellow Swarthmore graduate Patrick Awuah who just won a MacArthur for his work. Dr. Grant has been highly lauded for her academic leadership and her work as a political scientist and as a practitioner—with over 10 years of experience as a United States Foreign Service professional in both Paris and Mexico City. She is a graduate of Swarthmore and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, as well as London School of Economics, where she did her doctorate. 

As former Provost at the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris, Dr. Grant knows French language and culture, and is very familiar with French labor laws. She also has a home in France. We encourage you to learn more about Dr. Grant and to hear her voice in this montage made by students at Ashesi University College for her birthday.




MAGC 10-Year Anniversary

Earlier this month, the Master of Arts in Global Communications (MAGC), one of the most successful masters’ programs at AUP, celebrated its ten-year anniversary. This commemoratory event was the achievement of eight months of tireless planning by the MAGC program director, Robert Payne, In collaboration with other members of the MAGC community. The three days of merrymaking, from May 19th to May 21st, attracted alumni from all across Europe, the United States, and beyond.

We kicked off the anniversary with some celebrity panache, as our keynote speaker, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, led a talk on Thursday evening, where he spoke on a variety of topics, including the recent shifts in US politics, and the state of modern-day journalism. We swung into high-gear on Friday afternoon with a professional showcase, followed by student presentations, and a lively cocktail in the Amex Café. The festivities ended on Saturday, with a full day of activities, including alumni and professional showcases that featured alumni working in corporate, non-profit, and entrepreneurship areas of communications, among others. The weekend culminated in an elegant gala at the Pullman Hotel Tour Eiffel, where guests feasted and paid tribute to MAGC’s founder and former program director, Professor Waddick Doyle.

All pun intended, this weekend was surely MAGiCal for the many who participated. We hope to celebrate countless more anniversaries for this incredible program in the years to come.






Academic Events 


"D'autres universels": International Conference 
Monday, June 6 - Wednesday, June 8, 2016
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007

AUP is co-organizing and hosting an international conference, "D'autres universels", June 6th to June 8th, bringing together internationally renowned scholars interested in the question of the universal. Conference speakers include Dipesh Chakrabarty, Etienne Balibar, Alain Badiou and Gayatri Spivak, among others. To learn further details, visit our website





 – Théâtre du Châtelet
Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 8:00 PM
Théâtre du Châtelet, 1 place du Chatelet, 75001 Paris


“Welcome to, where you can be whoever you want to be.” After Monkey: Journey to the West, the English pop rock composer, Damon Albarn, returns to Châtelet with a musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Young Aly is unhappy at home and is bored at school, escaping whenever she can into the virtual world of She becomes Alice, a beautiful and courageous adolescent who encounters strangely familiar characters…

Manchester International Festival, National Theatre of Great Britain
Manchester International Festival, National Theatre of Great Britain, Théâtre du Châtelet



Chocolate Walk
Thursday, June 9, 2016; 4:00 - 6:00 PM
6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris

The meeting point will be at the Combes lobby and the tour will begin near Louvre-Rivoli metro stop (Line 1).

Discover the history of chocolate and why Paris is the capital of fine chocolate. Visit a variety of excellent chocolatiers and utilizing all five senses, particularly taste! Learn how to choose and appreciate quality chocolate. To read more, visit our website.



To keep abreast of upcoming campus events, please visit the events page of our website



Alumni Events    

London Alumni Event 25Feb11 AUP Alumni Event in London
Thursday, June 2, 2016; 6:00 PM 
L'etranger, 36 Gloucester Road, London SW7 4QT

Join our hosts Amr Al-Yafeai '04 and Michael McNeilly '09 for an evening in London! Everyone in the alumni community is encouraged to attend - spouses and guests are welcome. Drinks and canapés will be provided.

If you would like to attend, RSVP for you + guest(s) to




Faculty and Research Updates


Thamer Salman Student Media Center

AUP held an official ceremony to inaugurate the Thamer Salman Student Media Center located in the Combes building. The Student Media Center was first launched in 2014, as part of the university’s Student Life Center.

The Thamer Salman Student Media Center is home to a student-run board of eight student editors, two MA assistants, faculty and staff advisors, meeting regularly to decide on editorial policy and content for AUP student media. The space integrates the main newsroom, the Pat Thompson video production studio and a multimedia office. Over 100 students use the space regularly both during and outside of class hours.

United Arab Emirates born Thamer Saeed Salman (1977-2013) graduated from AUP with a degree in International Business Administration in 1998. He then went on to become the Vice President of the Ajman University of Science and Technology, the first private university in the UAE, founded in 1988. He also sat on numerous educational boards within the region.

In 2013, Thamer was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by AUP. The inauguration was held in the presence of Thamer’s friends and family.