Executive Committee


The Executive Committee sets objectives for the Program and is composed of the Provost of Columbia University, the President of the French participating universities, the French Ambassador to the U.S., and other deputies. It takes advice from the Scientific Committee.

  • John H. Coatsworth is the Provost of Columbia University, as well as Professor of International and Public Affairs and of History.

    Provost Coatsworth is a leading scholar of Latin American economic and international history. Previously, he was Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. Prior to his appointment as Dean in 2008, he served as a visiting professor at Columbia University (2006 – 2007) and Interim Dean of SIPA (2007 – 2008). 

    Before Joining Columbia, Coatsworth served as the Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs at Harvard University (1992–2007). He was the founding director of Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the chair of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies. Prior to his work at Harvard, Coatsworth was a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago (1969–1992). Other academic posts have included visiting professorships at El Colegio de México, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National University of Buenos Aires, the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Instituto Ortega y Gassett in Madrid.

    Coatsworth is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors of the Tinker Foundation and numerous professional associations. He is the former president of the American Historical Association and Latin American Studies Association. Coatsworth has served on the editorial boards of scholarly journals including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Economic History, the Hispanic American Historical Review and other social science journals published in Britain, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Spain.

    In 1986, Coatsworth was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has served as Senior Fulbright Lecturer three times, with appointments in Argentina and Mexico, and has received numerous research and institutional grants from public agencies and private foundations. He has acted as a consultant for program design or review to numerous U.S. universities and foundations.

    Coatsworth received his BA in History from Wesleyan University, and his MA and PhD in Economic History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Jacques Biot is the president of Ecole Polytechnique. An École Polytechnique graduate (Class of 71) and engineer from the “Corps des Mines”, Jacques Biot dedicated the initial years of his professional career to industrial recovery and innovation funding within the Ministry of Industry and Research. He then served as the Key Policy Advisor, in charge of “Industry and Technology” in the Prime Minister's office until 1985. In 1992, he founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of JNB-Developpement S.A. He also has experience in public office as Senior Policy Advisor, where he focused on issues related to development and restructuring in industry. 

    Mr. Biot also has experience with public administration and 7 years of experience in senior healthcare industry within two French pharmaceudical companies. He served as Head of the Chairman's Office at Roussel Uclaf (now part of Sanofi Aventis group) and as Vice President of Immunology at Pasteur Merieux Serums & Vaccines (now Sanofi Pasteur), where he solidified his understanding of biopharmaceutical issues and sharpended his skills in leading various business activities such as drug and biological development, business development and post-merger restructuring.

    Mr. Biot serves as the Chairman and Director of JNB- Developpement SA and also at Ecole des Mines. He has been a Member of the Board of Directors at Guerbet SA since May 21, 2010. He served as member of the Supervisory Board at Guerbet S.A. since May 25, 2002. He is author of numerous reports on the French and Europeanm health care systems, speaker in numerous symposiums and seminaries, and Advisor to several leading industry associations.

    Since 2004, Biot has been a member of the scientific and technical commission of the Corps des Mines, which supervises the PhD projects of young engineers who opt to pursue their education through research. He also actively participated, as Chairman of the École des Mines d'Alès, in working parties in charge of designing the strategy of the Écoles des Mines and particularly in the formation of the Mines Telecom Institute.

  • Gérard Araud was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in September 2014. He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, notably including that of Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), and, most recently, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014).

    Over the course of his career, Mr. Araud has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: the Middle East and strategic & security issues. As regards the latter, he was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2003 to 2006. In New York, at the Security Council, he notably contributed to the adoption of resolutions on Libya (#1970 and #1973), Côte d’Ivoire (#1975), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic, and participated in debates on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.

    He has written numerous journal articles, including one recently published in Commentaire, on the outbreak of World War One, and another in Esprit, on the search for a new world order.

  • Georges Hadded is the newly appointed President of Paris 1 - Pantheon Sorbonne. Georges Haddad, a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure, holds an M.A. in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Paris VII and a D.E.A. (postgraduate diploma) in mathematics from the University of Paris VI.  He also holds the Agrégation in mathematics and a doctorate (Doctorat d’Etat) in mathematical sciences.

    Professor Haddad started his career as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Tours (1975-1976), later on moving to the University of Paris-Dauphine (1976-1983).  From 1983 to 1984, he took up the position of Lecturer at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.  Appointed Professor in 1984 at the University of Nice, he has since been Professor at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.  He was President of the latter University from 1989 to 1994, and also First Vice-President (Chairman) of the French Conference of University Presidents from 1992 to 1994.  Professor Haddad was formerly Honorary President of the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.  He participated in the World Conference on Higher Education as Chairperson of its Steering Committee, from 1994 to 1999, and was also a member of the Task Force on Higher Education in Developing Countries (World Bank-UNESCO) from 1998 to 2000.

    He founded the “Marin Mersenne” research laboratory for mathematics, informatics and interdisciplinary applications and is a member of several scientific and educational councils.

    Professor Haddad’s personal commitment to education and sciences through mathematics, their development and multidisciplinary applications has been rewarded by honorary distinctions such as Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for Scientific Research and Commander of Palmes Académiques for Education, among others.

  • Frédéric Mion attended Sciences Po, Princeton University, the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), and the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA) where he specialised in public law and the humanities.

    He has held senior management positions in the public and private sectors. From 2007-2013, he served as Vice President of Canal +, France’s largest media group, and before this, worked as a partner at Allen & Overy LLP, where he led the Public Law team. Prior to his work in the private sector, Mion held positions at the Ministry of Education and the Conseil d’État (France’s Supreme Court for administrative justice).

    Frédéric Mion succeeds the late Richard Descoings. He takes the helm of an institution intent on remaining open to the world and its diversity, and at the centre of academic excellence and research in the social sciences.

    Frédéric Mion was appointed President following an open competition organised by Sciences Po’s two main governing bodies composed of faculty, students, employees and trustees.

  • As Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, Bénédicte de Montlaur facilitates French-American cultural relations and supports French universities and arts, literature and education organizations in the United States.  She also serves as the Permanent Representative of French Universities in the United States and develops French-American higher education exchanges, creating opportunities for researchers, scholars and students to collaborate.

    A seasoned diplomat, Montlaur has held several notable positions as a political and human rights advisor and negotiator with her experience focusing primarily on the Middle East.  Most recently, Montlaur served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for North Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, where she also taught international relations and diplomacy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.  From 2008 to 2012, she was Political Advisor for the Middle East to the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, after three years as a negotiator on Africa and the Middle East at the United Nations Security Council for the French Mission to the United Nations. Montlaur also held positions at the French Embassy in Syria from 2005-2008.  

    Drawing from her background working in the Middle East, Africa, and France, Montlaur aims to promote an image of France as a diverse and inclusive nation through French and Francophone cultural initiatives in the United States.  She also strives to fuel a spirit of intercultural debate and mutual understanding between France and the United States.

    Montlaur completed sociology studies at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Ulm) and public affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sciences Po, Paris.

    Beyond her vast experience in international relations and diplomacy, Montlaur is a polyglot – she speaks French, English, Arabic and Spanish fluently – and a New York culture enthusiast.  In New York, she served as Vice President of the Carrefour de la Francophonie, a social advocacy organization dedicated to New York’s French-speaking families, and spearheaded its fundraising efforts.  She was also member of New York Times literary critic Liesl Schillinger’s book club and created an original exhibition of photos entitled “Islam and the City” on New York’s relationship with the religion.  She also ran the New York City Marathon in 2011.

  • Mrs. Anne Grillo was appointed Director of Cultural, Academic and Research Cooperation at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September 2013.

    Previously, she served as Consul General of  France in Barcelona (2010-2013), Spain, and as Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of France in Morocco (2006-2010). From 2003 to 2006, Mrs. Grillo was Deputy Director for South Asia after being an officer in charge of development and development financing (2001-2003) at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mrs. Grillo was posted at the Embassy of France in China from 1997 to 2001, first as First Secretary in charge of bilateral relations and then as Deputy Counsellor in charge of technical cooperation.

    After graduating from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in 1993, Mrs. Grillo was appointed Head of the Legal Affairs Department at the French Ministry of Infrastructure Transport and Housing, and National Expert to the European Commission. 

  • Dr. Alessia Lefebure is Director of the Alliance at Columbia University, a joint-initiative for innovation in global research and education. In the position, which she assumed in 2011, she is responsible for leading and advancing the scope of the joint endeavor by expanding academic and public impact while creating new bridges with the corporate and cultural world in New York and in France. Under her leadership the Alliance gained visibility, increased threefold the number of grants applicants, grew financial resources and repositioned the focus towards innovation and sustainable development. 

    Lefebure is former Director of the Centre for Asia and the Pacific at Sciences Po, an international research university in social sciences committed to advance social and geographical diversity. In that role, she embraced new opportunities in the region, strengthened academic cooperation, and oversaw the three Sciences Po foreign offices: Beijing, New Delhi, and Tokyo. Based in Beijing, at Tsinghua University, for five years she acquired an in-depth understanding of the Chinese academic, political and business landscape, and she built durable ties. An affiliate member of the research center C.S.O. (Centre de sociologie des organisations), she holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Sciences Po and a J.D. from LUISS. Her current research focuses on higher education models and policies in China, Asia at large, and the United States.

    She joined Columbia’s faculty as adjunct at SIPA in 2011, and in the preceding decade, taught at both Sciences Po Paris and Tsinghua University in Beijing. An internationally recognized expert in global affairs and education, she serves as a member of several boards and international committees, such as the advisory board of the New York-based Dual Language Program, Data-Pop Alliance for Development, the U.N. Intercultural Leaders, as well as several not-for-profit engaged in sustainable development such as Africa e Mediterraneo or LINEGlobal. Her most recent publication is “Asia: The Next Higher Education Superpower?” (Institute of International Education, 2015), following a number of contributions on current global and comparative issues for several international higher-education journals and reviews.

    Lefebure leads change by believing that respect, cooperation, and inclusiveness are key to successful projects and people. She has been recognized for her leadership, honored as recipient of a Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2010, awarded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and, in 2014, by the French-American Foundation Partnership of Excellence, awarded by Prof. Phelps, 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics.

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