Culture for Students
Secondary School


The Cultural Center’s lecture series gives students, faculty, staff and parents the opportunity to meet leading authorities in a wide range of fields, from literature to politics and economics to science.

Our Terrestrial World with Frédérique Aït-Touati

Y12 | Wednesday, October 26 | 8:20am - 9:30am

Frédérique Aït-Touati is a director and a researcher who together with Philosopher Bruno Latour has been creating philosophical experimentation that will be shown at the Crossing the Line Festival at French Institute Alliance Francaise. In The Terrestrial Trilogy,  they reflect on the need for a profound renewal of our representations of the terrestrial world, living and non-living. Frédérique Aït-Touati teaches at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. 
She will talk to the Terminales students about her work. 

History of Haiti with Laurent Dubois

Y8, Y10 | Friday, October 28 | 1:40pm - 3:20pm

Laurent Dubois is the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History and founder of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. His main areas of research deal with the history of Haiti and the politics of soccer. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. His book A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 won the 2005 Frederick Douglass Prize.

Past lectures

Laïcité and Diversity with Patrick Simon

Monday, January 31 | 11.45am-12.45pm

Patrick Simon is a socio-demographer, Director of Research at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) in the "International Migrations and Minorities" unit and associate researcher at the Sociological Change Observatory at Sciences Po. This presentation will attempt to present the different parameters of the controversies over secularism and Islam in France by contrasting the political and legal framework with data from recent surveys on religious identities and practices and the forms of stigma and discrimination targeting Muslims in France.

Baldwin Day with Rokhaya Diallo and Jonathan Scales

Friday, February 18th

On February 18th, the Lycée will celebrate the life and legacy of novelist, essayist, and activist James Arthur Baldwin. This year, the day's theme is "Thoughts for our Future," based on Baldwin's essay "A Letter to My Nephew," published 50 years ago.
The Lycée will welcome two exceptional guests: Jonathan Scales, singer and composer, who will perform in the auditorium, as well as journalist and author Rokhaya Diallo, who will present her new documentary. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in various workshops organized by Lycée faculty

The Mali Empire with François-Xavier Fauvelle

Y7 | Thursday, March 10th | 10.15am-11.55am

François-Xavier Fauvelle is Professor at the Collège de France. He is an expert in African History and has published over twenty books translated into fifteen languages. He will hold multiple conferences with different grades. Students will get to discuss topics such as colonization, African borders and attempts at creating one History for all of Africa.

Stéphane de Freitas

Y10 | November 9-10 and December 7-8
Y11 | December 1-2

Artist and Director, Stéphane de Freitas is also a social entrepreneur. Founder of “La Coopérative Indigo”, an organization which aims to recreate social ties, he initiated the Eloquentia programs in 2012 in Seine-Saint-Denis, now present in many middle schools, high schools and universities throughout France. In 2016, he became known to the general public with his documentary "À voix haute, la force de la parole", released in theaters in 2017. In 2020, he directed his second film "On est ensemble", a documentary about militant commitment around the world.

Remembering 9/11, 20 Years After

Y9-Y12 | Friday, September 10 | 1:35pm

In commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, students will view a short film produced by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum which highlights first-person accounts of the attacks and their aftermath. Then, they will participate in a discussion between Clifford Chanin, Director of the museum and Camille Kelly, Lycée student and ambassador of the museum.

High School Climate Convention

Launch session: March 2 | Convention: March 31

Modeled on the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat organized in 2019 by the French government, the objective is for students from 9th to 12th grade to formulate proposals to preserve the planet by answering the question "How can we reduce our carbon footprint? ". The students were aided by experts on five themes: Transportation, Consumption, Housing, Producing/Working, Eating. Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director of Iddri (a think tank that facilitates the transition to sustainable development) will led a first launch session. Click here to read the students' proposals.

Covid and Vaccines with Arnaud Fontanet

Monday, January 13 | 11:25am-12:20pm

Arnaud Fontanet is a Professor at the Institut Pasteur and at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. Former resident doctor for hospitals in Paris, doctor of medicine (University Paris V) and public health (Harvard University), he specializes in epidemiology of infectious and tropical diseases. Since January 2002, he has headed the Unit for the Epidemiology of Emerging Diseases at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

Conference with Eric Barbier and Jennifer Auger

Wednesday, December 2 | 10:30am-11:25am

Eric Barbier, Director of Petit Pays, and the movie's Editor Jennifer Augé talk to students about bringing to life the story of a young expat boy growing up in Burundi during the 90s, while neighboring Rwanda is overcome by a civil war. The movie was adapted from the book of the same title by Gaël Faye.
In French. Mandatory for students in grade 9.

The French concept of "Laïcité" with Philippe Gaudin

Tuesday, December 1 | 11:25am-12:20am

Philippe Gaudin is Director of the European Institute for Religious Studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He has taught philosophy in terminale classes and in Preparatory Classes. His research focuses on secularism and religious facts as well as related public policies. He wrote many books including his most recent book: Storm on secularism: How to reconcile France with itself (2018).
In French. Mandatory for students in grades 9 and 10.

Elections and Voting Republican with Jordan Blashek

Thursday, October 29, 2020 | 3pm-3:55pm

Jordan Blashek is a businessman, military veteran, and attorney. Jordan invests in entrepreneurial efforts to grow the American middle class as a part of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. He is the co-author of Union: A Democrat, a Republican, and a Search for Common Ground (2020), the story of the two friends’ three-year journey across America. Jordan is a Republican and his co-author, Christopher Haugh, is a Democrat.
In English. Mandatory for students in grades 10 to 12.

Elections and Voting Democratic with Nita Lowey

Wednesday, October 28 | 11:25-12:20pm

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey is currently serving her sixteenth term in Congress, representing parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988 and served in the Democratic Leadership in 2001 and 2002 as the first woman and the first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She is also the first woman to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee. 
In English. Mandatory for students in grades 10 to 12. 

Antisemitism with Delphine Horvilleur

Wednesday, September 30 | 11:25pm

Delphine Horvilleur is a leading voice of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France. After attending the Rabbinical Seminary of Hebrew Union College (HUC) in New York, she was ordained a rabbi in 2008 and returned to France where she became the country's third female rabbi. In 2009, she became head of the Tenou’a review, where she is currently managing editor. She is the author of several books including "Des mille et une façons d’être juif ou musulman" (2017), cowritten with Rachid Benzine, and most recently "Comprendre le monde" (2020).

Intercultural Competency with Rachid Benzine, Emile Ackerman and Myriam Ackerman

Rachid Benzine is an Islamic Scholar who has taught at the Institute for Political Studies in Aix-en-Provence, as part of the Master's degree in "Religions and Society" and has been an associate researcher at the religious observatory. A prolific writer, he strives to think of an Islam in tune with our times and is also involved in the Islamic-Christian dialogue. He is the author of Letter to Nour and cowrote A Thousand Ways of Being Jewish and Muslim with Delphine Horvilleur. Held on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

Climate Change with Bill McKibben and Alexandria Villaseñor

Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist, and activist. In 1988, he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a common audience about global warming. He is a co-founder and Senior Advisor at, an international climate campaign that works around the world. Alexandria Villaseñor is a 14-year-old climate activist who, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, began her own solo weekly school strike for climate in front of the United Nations Headquarters in December 2018. This conference is organized in conjunction with Festival Albertine 2019, curated by Bill McKibben. Held on Friday, November 8, 2019.

James Baldwin Day

On this James Baldwin Day we are focusing on stories, both told and, in the case of our screening, untold. We will begin the day with a program conceived by jazz musician and scholar Sammy Miller on Albert Murray, American literary and jazz critic and friend of James Baldwin. In the afternoon we will screen Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché. She was a pioneer in the film industry, and although she created more than 1000 productions, her name seems to be forgotten today. Director Pamela Green will introduce her film and participate in a Q&A following the screening. Held on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

Sustainable Development with Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a leader in sustainable development and University Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He is the Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, serves on the UN Broadband Commission for Development, and acts as SDG Advocate for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Professor Sachs is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. Held on Monday, February 27, 2019, 2-4pm.

Islam and National Identity with Kaoutar Harchi

Sociologist Harchi Kaoutar conducts research on cultural nationalisms and the construction of national identities. She will talk to the ninth graders about the different markers of Muslim identity depending on the nation. How is the sense of feeling Muslim affected by religion, beliefs or ethnicity in France and Europe or in the United-States? Held on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 1:30PM-2:30PM, Y9.

Workshop on Slam Poetry with Gaël Faye

Gaël Faye, born in 1982 in Bujumbura, Burundi, is a French-Rwandan rapper, composer and writer. During the civil war in Burundi and the nearby Rwandan genocide, 13-year old Gaël was forced to flee his home country and move to France. Living in the suburbs of Paris, he discovered rap and hip-hop culture while starting writing poetry. In August 2016, Gaël published his first novel Petit Pays (Small Country by Hogarth Press), inspired by his childhood. The book received numerous prizes such as the Prix du roman Fnac, the prix Goncourt des lycéens and the prix littéraire du Lycée Français de New York in 2017. Held on Friday, October 26, 2018 - 2pm-4 pm, Y10.

James Baldwin Day with Mame-Fatou Niang

Mame-Fatou Niang is an Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. She conducts research on contemporary France, Sub-Saharan Africa, Postcolonial and Transnational Studies, Media, and Urban Planning. Her recent research examines the development of Afro-French identities, and the works of second- and third-generation female immigrant writers of the banlieue. In 2015, she co-directed a documentary entitled “Mariannes Noires: Mosaïques Afropèennes” in which seven Afro-French women unravel what it means to be black and French, black in France. Held on Friday, September 28, 2018.