Henri Rieben was born in Epalinges in the Canton of Vaud the son of a farmer. He studied economics at the University of Lausanne where he joined the student association Valdésia. He obtained his doctor degree in 1952. In 1956 he became the first full professor on a newly instituted chair on questions of European integration, the first of its kind in Europe. Rieben founded the Institute for European Research. Rieben in the 50’s and the 60’s cooperated with the French statesmen and visionary for Europe – Jean Monnet, who is considered to be with Robert Schumann one of the founders of the European Community (and the present European Union). In 1978 Rieben founded the foundation “Jean Monnet for Europe”. This foundation provides scientists and students with an archived documentation on the foundation and the development of the European Community. It is a publicly accessible Mediathek of 8000 items of Jean Monnet regarding European integration, including interviews with pioneers of Europe, old film materials on Monnet as well as a collection of television and radio programs. The archive of the foundation contains approximately twelve tons of documents left by Jean Monnet. The foundation “Jean Monnet for Europe” is among others publishing “Rote Hefte”, on European topics.
Rieben was a secretary general of the action committee for a unified Europe and as a president of the foundation “Jean Monnet for Europe” was awarded several prizes, among others in 1973 the Gold medal for European Achievements and in 1990 the Freedom Prize. Henri Rieben was named a chevalier d’honneur of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He also was elected to the French Legion d’Honneur. During civil war in Angola Henri Rieben was mandated to mediate between the International Red Cross and the UNITA.
Henri Rieben among others was the co-founder of the organisation to promote the economy of the Canton de Vaud and a member of the managing comitee of the national fair EXPO 1964 in Lausanne.
The maker of documentary films Philippe Nicolet has made a documentary movie on Henri Rieben for the foundation “Jean Monnet for Europe”.
Weblinks: Foundation “Jean Monnet for Europe” http://www.jean-monnet.ch/anglais/pFondation/fondation.htm; “Henri Rieben verstorben” (Bieler Tagblatt 12. Januar 2006) http://www.bielertagblatt.ch/article.cfm?id=206281&startrow=5&ressort=Schweiz-BE&kap=bta&job=7921310
References: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Rieben (translated by editor).