Laura Haim on “France and Europe: Made in Macron?”

Laura Haim's seminars will be held on Mondays at 12:30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

All IOP Pritzker Fellows Seminars will be held in the IOP Living Room unless otherwise noted. 
All seminars are students only and closed to press/off the record.


The recent presidential election in France has changed the way that France and Europe are perceived in the world. The arrival of 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron put France back on the international stage, and his desire to see a new generation participating in politics will be significant for France in the years ahead. Just one year ago, Emmanuel Macron had neither a political party nor a role in the government, having resigned as Minister of Finance after a disagreement with President François Hollande.  He then launched his own movement based on fighting populism and on bringing new faces into politics. He also wanted to ensure that Europe would become an important player in the world. For months, he traveled all over France, trying to build momentum in a very divided country with his message of democracy versus populism. His agenda included the moralization of political life, the renewal of a political generation, the fight against terrorism, and he introduced important major labor reforms which became extremely popular during his campaign. How did he convince his followers? What will happen next? This seminar series will explore how, from out of nowhere, Macron became the symbol of change in France and in Europe and the impact he is having; how he structured his movement and continues to build his party; and what we can expect from the new French president.

Session 1 (October 2): A French Campaign – Democracy versus Populism | RSVP

In September of 2016, Emmanuel Macron decided to launch a movement called En Marche in order to change the way the French people looked at politics. With a very small dedicated team, all under age 30, he traveled around  the country and gave speeches about his desire to reform France and Europe in an unprecedented way. This seminar will explore the inner workings of the Macron campaign and its path to victory: how Emmanuel Macron and his team created an original political campaign and the challenges they faced; how they developed their message; how the last months of the election unfolded against a contemporary global backdrop that included the threat of cyberattacks and of terrorism; how Macron dealt with foreign leaders during the campaign; and how he built a successful strategy against rising populism in France to win against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Session 2* (October 11): The Future of Europe | RSVP
*Please note, this week's seminar will be held on Wednesday, October 11.

This seminar will look at some of the biggest challenges facing European democracies today.  We will discuss recent German election, Brexit repercussions, and the Catalan Referendum.   In this context, how is President Emmanuel Macron trying to build a new Europe?  What are the challenges facing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and how are they similar or different?  Can European democracies survive current global trends?  Or will illiberal democracies prevail?

Special Guest: German Consul General Herbert Quelle 

Session 3* (October 16): Is Europe Failing Countries on the Frontline of the Refugee Crisis? | RSVP
*Please note, this seminar will be held from 2 – 3:15pm, following the IOP's public event with David Miliband. 

In 2013, the Prime Minister of Malta warned that the Mediterranean was becoming ‘a cemetery.’ He was speaking shortly after the second Lampedusa shipwreck, in which a migrant vessel capsized and at least 34 people drowned. Several thousand migrants die crossing the Mediterranean each year, with a record 5,000 drowning in 2016 alone. How are EU countries away from the frontlines of migration helping, or not helping, the countries most affected by the crisis? Can the EU come to consensus? Is there a political answer to the refugee crisis in Europe?

Special Guest: David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee

Session 4 (October 23): Generation Macron | RSVP

A few weeks after winning the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron and his movement En Marche also won the parliamentary elections. For the first time, hundreds of deputies (the equivalent to members of the House of Representatives in the US) were elected, some who had no experience at all. This complete political renewal was historic. How did they do it and what is the Macron generation all about? Can they succeed against the traditional establishment and also against the far left, which is now extremely inspired by Bernie Sanders?

This seminar will explore the En Marche generation with special guest Beatrice Augier, a French photographer and wife of the mayor of Deauville. At age 67, she joined En Marche during the presidential campaign and became passionate about the movement. Many people were surprised by her engagement since her husband is a Republican and the mayor of the conservative “French Hamptons.” Ms. Augier documented the En Marche generation at their meetings and then campaigned with them all across Normandy to make sure their deputies would be elected. She will explain the En Marche generation from an insider’s perspective.

Special Guest: BeĢatrice Augier

Session 5 (October 30): Family, Same-Sex Marriage & Conservatism in the French Election & Europe | RSVP

As in the United States, the pro-life movement and gay issues have become a daily part of presidential campaigns in France and Europe. And in Europe the populist parties are exploiting those themes. A symbol of this debate in France is the face of a woman: Christiane Taubira was elected to the National Assembly of France four times (representing French Guiana), where she was the driving force behind the 2001 law that recognized the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity. In June 2012, she was appointed Justice Minister of France. In that capacity, she oversaw fundamental penal reforms that prevent recidivism and promote rehabilitation, and introduced a law that both legalized same-sex marriage in France and allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.

Thousands of people took the streets to protest the law. The issue became extremely sensitive during the presidential campaign, and before her resignation the Minister was personally attacked by the Republicans and also the far right. This seminar will explore how candidates are dealing with these issues.

Special Guest: Christiane Taubira

Session 6* (November 6): Anti-Semitism and Racism in France and Europe | RSVP
*Please note, this seminar will be from 1:30 - 2:45pm

In the past year, racism and anti-semitism have dominated political life in America and Europe. Populism and far rights movements have been on the rise in France, Germany and Austria. Islam, Radical Islam and the fact that European Jews are moving to Israel has become part of the daily political discussion for candidates in Europe.

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. Often referred to in France simply as BHL, he was one of the leaders of the "Nouveaux Philosophes" (New Philosophers) movement in 1976. The Boston Globe has said that he is "perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today.” Among his dozens of books are American Vertigo, Barbarism with a Human Face, and Who Killed Daniel Pearl? His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications throughout Europe and the United States. His films include the documentaries Bosna!and A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Levy is the co-founder of SOS racism a powerful European movement denouncing racism all over the world. Lévy is proudly Jewish, and he has said that Jews ought to provide a unique Jewish moral voice in society and politics. Lévy was one of six prominent Jewish public figures in Europe targeted for assassination by a Belgium-based Islamist militant group in 2008, but never stopped talking or going to war zones. He criticized the international community for their acts during the Bosnia genocide. In the past 30 years, Lévy went to a lot of countries. He was in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 1994, in Libya during 2011-2012 for the Libyan War, and in Ukraine during the Maidan Revolution in February 2014, actively promoting the news and people fighting for freedom.

Special Guest: Bernard-Henri Lévy, French philosopher 

Session 7 (November 13): The Place of Women and the Role of First Ladies in France and Europe | RSVP

Today in France, the most popular person in politics is Brigitte Macron, the president’s wife. At 63, she is creating an image that the French people love. Last summer, President Macron wanted to give his wife an official role, and put forward the idea of creating an office of the First Lady, similar to the U.S. system. In less than three days, over 250,000 people had signed a petition to oppose the creation of an official role for the French First Lady. In their minds, Brigitte Macron should just be the wife of the president. At the time, the issue was a huge story in France.  This seminar will explore in a crucial global time for women; the role of the First Lady in France; what Brigitte Macron is trying to do; and the history of women in power in Europe, from Prime Minister Thatcher to Chancellor Merkel. 

Special Guest: Christine Ockrent, a journalist and feminist who was the first woman to anchor an evening news program in France.

Session 8 (November 20): Media & Politics in Europe | RSVP

France is very different from the rest of Europe, and even more so from the United States. There are no political advertisements on television during campaigns, so the journalists’ beat is extremely important. What are the differences between France, Europe and America for journalists covering political campaigns? How did the Macron team capitalize on those differences? How did his team organize and prepare for the televised debate against Le Pen? This session will explore the role of the media in Europe in elections and different strategies used by the campaigns, and compare campaign coverage in France and the US.