Pierre Du Bois

Pierre Du Bois

Pierre Du Bois was born 1943 in Herzogenbuchsee, in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland. From 1945 to 1947 he lived in Tanger. After the death of his father he returned with his mother to Switzerland. From 1950 he attended the École Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Chailly, then Collège de Béthusy and Gymnase de la Cité in Lausanne, where he gained his college diploma in 1962.

In 1961 he won the first prize in a general knowledge radio competition “Echec et Mat”, a question and answer quiz organised by the Radio Suisse Romande, a trip around the world with Swissair, which he made for three months the following year. He made the front page of the newspapers: the first participant to win the first prize in general knowledge and at such a young age!

From 1964 to 1966 he was foreign policy editor at the Radio Suisse Romande (RSR) in Lausanne where he discovered his passion for the media – radio, newspapers, later television – which never left him. 

In 1965 he obtained his Masters in Political Science from the University of Lausanne. From 1966 to 1968 he was historical chronicler at the Feuille d’Avis in Lausanne. In 1967 he went on a three month trip to Africa. On behalf of various media, he met and interviewed, among others, Léopold Sedar Senghor (President of Senegal), Mokhtar Ould Dada (President of Mauritania) and Modibo Keita (President of Mali).

In 1967 and 1968 he founded and developed in Lausanne the Club Jean Davel a centre for political thought. This brought together the cream of intellectuals, future academics, journalists, the men and women in the political foreground.

In 1968 he returned from Paris, where he received a moderate beating during the riots in May of that year and met Irina Tamas in Lausanne. Irina, a Romanian emigrant to Germany, was a chemistry student at the Ecole Polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (later the EPFL), who became his wife.

From 1968 to 1970 he was awarded a scholarship and finished post-graduate studies at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris. He followed the seminar of Raymond Aron at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes, and was passionate to gain new knowledge in history and for The Annales. He made friends with Fernand Braudel, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet. He started his PhD-thesis on Drieu La Rochelle, which he continued and later finished in Lausanne.

In 1969 he set up the first monthly newspaper for the Swiss-French area, ‘Nonante’, and becomes its Editor in Chief. Due to lack of finances, only one edition is published.

In 1970 he took his first trip to the USSR. From 1972 to 1978 he was Professor of History at secondary school level in Lausanne. From 1977 to 1985 he was Lecturer in contemporary history at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In 1978 he obtained his PhD in history from the University of Lausanne.

From 1980 to 1992 he became Professor at the Institut Universitaire d’Etudes Européennes de Genève. He started to become fascinated with the European community, the history of its integration, its identity, the history of its relations with Switzerland, of its evolution, its growth, European monetary history and cultural history. Europe became one of the principle areas of his teachings, research and publications.

From 1986 to 1994 he was a Visiting Professor at the Diplomatische Akademie in Vienna, Austria. From 1986 to 2000 he was an Associate Professor at the University of Neuchâtel. From 1990 to 2007 he was a Visiting Professor at the Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg, France.

In 1991 and from 1993 to 2005 he was Professor at the Summer University of the Foundation Titulescu/Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania. From 1992 to 2007 he was Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) in Geneva.

He was a member of many leading and scientific committees: Swiss Association for Wilton Park (1984-1994); Forum Helveticum (1987-2001, Vice-president 1992-2001); Rencontres suisses (1987-2001, President 1996-2001); Cercle littéraire de Lausanne (from 1989); Foundation Titulescu (from 1990); Société européenne de culture (from 1990); European Community Studies Association (from 1995); Europaeum (1995-2001); Fondazione Venezia per la ricerca sulla pace (from 1997); Société d’études économiques et sociales (from 1998); Centro per la diffusione della cultura (from 2000) and the Kommission für die Diplomatichen Dokumente der Schweiz (from 2000).

He was a member of several editorial committees: Revue d’Allemagne, Dosarele Istoriei, Revue roumaine d’histoire, Relations internationales (Co-president from 1998), Limes, Revue française de géopolitique, Studia Politica/Romanian Political Science Review.

References: http://www.fondation-pierredubois.ch/en/Pierre-du-Bois/curriculum-vitae.html (translated and slightly shortened by editor)

© Prof. Jens Drolshammer, office@drolshammer.com,  www.drolshammer.net

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