The official opening ceremony of the Fondation des Etats-Unis,
April 28, 1930
The Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CiuP) was created in the years immediately following the First World War as a means to promote peace and understanding among students coming from all corners of the world to pursue their studies in Paris. During the first phase of construction which extended until 1937, 19 houses of different nationalities were erected, along with the Maison Internationale, a generous gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr, housing several meeting halls as well as cultural and administrative services.
Among the first houses to be constructed was the Fondation des États-Unis, designed by the French architect Pierre Leprince-Ringuet. After two years of extensive construction, the Fondation held its opening ceremony on April 28, 1930 in the presence of its founders, American surgeon Homer Gage and his wife Mabel Gage, the American Ambassador Walter E. Edge, and Gaston Doumergue, President of the French Republic. The Fondation has conserved its Art Deco architecture and its Grand Salon is home to six rare frescoes by the Franco-American artist Robert La Montagne Saint Hubert. In 2009, the Grand Salon was officially listed as a national historic monument of France.
Today, the Fondation des Etats-Unis remains one of the largest and oldest residences on the CIUP campus, along with the Fondation Deutsch de La Meurthe (collection of six buildings, inaugurated in 1925), the Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre (inaugurated in 1927), the Maison des Provinces de France (inaugurated in 1933) and the Fondation Franco-Britannique (inaugurated in 1937).
When the Fondation des États-Unis was created, its founders, Homer et Mabel Gage, wished for the Board of Directors to be presided by the Rector of the Académie de Paris, then Sébastien Charléty. This decision anchored the Fondation in the Universités de Paris and invited projects and collaborations between American students residing in Paris and French students. The FEU is therefore presided by François Weil, Head of the Paris Regional Education Authority (recteur de l’académie de Paris).
Since 2010, the Fondation des États-Unis is amongst 400 Fondations reconnues d’utilité publique (FRUP) in France, a dozen of which are at the Cité internationale. Its board is made of Ex-officio Members (appointed because of their position) and Qualified Members (appointed based on competence and specific knowledge).
American Ambassador in France
Recteur de l’académie, Chancelier des universités de Paris: Gilles Pécout (rep. François Neuville).
Before becoming Associate Professor at Université Paris-Diderot, Sophie Vasset spent a year at UCLA.She was delighted to live in California, which is not difficult, and very happy to be welcomed and guided by the University and the Fulbright Commission. She knows how a year abroad can transform one’s life and hopes to contribute to making American students feel welcome in France. She knows the French system well since her research in 18th c. medicine and literature has her work with doctors in History, Literature and even Medicine. She has published several books in this field. A graduate of the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique Régional d’Orléans, she is pursuing her theatrical endeavours at the Drama Workshop. At the United-States House, she loves to: have coffee with residents to find out what they are up to, take breaks with the staff, get tips on how to use her computer, listen to the musicians work on Sunday afternoons.
Having partly grown up in the US and spent a good part of her student years at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple, in Philadelphia, Anne feels right at home at the Cité Internationale and the Fondation des Etats-Unis. She loves old buildings and majestuous trees in a modern, multicultural environment. She is Associate Professor at the University of Paris-West Nanterre, where she specializes in American popular culture and translation for the media. She has published several books and papers in this field. When she is done dealing with suppliers and security regulations, and even when she’s not, she delights in organizing film concerts and art exhibits.
Razika has been working at the Fondation for almost 20 years. She is responsible for admissions, the room plan and rent payments and also manages the cleaning and maintenance team. While Razika will chase you up if you don’t pay your rent on time, she is also there to help resolve issues and always has an open ear. Speak to her in French, it is good practice during your stay in Paris !
After receiving a BA in Language & Cultural Studies from University College Cork, Noëmi did a Masters in French “Creativity, Literature and Film”. Having fallen in love with Paris during her Erasmus year (which she incidentally spent at the Cité Universitaire!), she came back in 2008 with the dream of making it in Paris. Before joining the Fondation in July 2015, she worked in the film industry (producers workshops and co-production markets) for 6 years. Noëmi manages all aspects of the Fondation’s cultural program (events, Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, communication…) and oversees all group requests and venue rentals for corporate events.
Katarzyna had received her foreign language teaching degree in 1995 before she decided to leave her native country, Poland. She moved to London first, then to France, where she received a BA in English at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Civilisations at the University of Orléans. She worked in student accommodation for 15 years before joining the FEU in 2018.
Jean Adelson, originally from Haiti, has been in France since his teenage years. Before joining the FEU team some 22 years ago, he worked at two other houses at the Cité: Deutsch de la Meurthe and Maison des Etudiants Canadiens. Jean is in charge of maintenance and knows how to fix almost anything! Known as « Jeannot » to some, he also manages the left luggage area with Pierrette.
Upon leaving Nigeria, Waibi Abiola lived in several countries – including Italy and England – before settling down in France almost thirty years ago. He has been working at the Fondation for 21 years. Very meticulous, he works with Jean on all aspects of maintenance. He is also in charge of cleaning the Rectangle and BBQ area – please don’t make him pick up your cigarette butts!