Watch Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe interview with ESA DG

11 May 2012

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, was interviewed on 3 April 2012 at ESA Headquarters in Paris by the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe.

The interview (in French) is published here under a special agreement with the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe.


About the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe

Born in Cognac, France, in 1988, Jean Monnet is universally recognised as the Father of the united Europe. During his career, he managed to retain the archives of an experience that led him to establish the foundation. He ceded his archives in 1978 to the Foundation which he himself created, and gave it the mission to preserve the memory of conflicts, reconciliation and union of Europeans. His aim was to ensure that the insights gleaned through these accumulated experiences would be passed from generation to generation. Jean Monnet died in March 1979 at the age of 91.

In 1978, Jean Monnet established the Foundation to which he donated his entire collection. Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Foundation provides material to researchers, guides them and performs its own research and continues to inform the public via the 'Cahiers rouges'. The archives maintained at the Jean Monnet Foundation illustrate the commitment of the protagonists of European construction and have become a mandatory resource for those who are interested in the birth and development of the European communities. The documentary resources are continually augmented by new donations.

The archives of Jean Monnet constitute the majority of the papers. These comprise some 1500 files, tens of thousands of documents, which allow us to follow his experiences and work, and which cover major events of the century over several continents. The other archives preserved by the Jean Monnet Foundation are those of Robert Marjolin, Robert Schuman, Paolo Emilio Taviani, Robert Triffin, Lord Strathallan, Jacques Van Helmont and François Fontaine. In addition, there are some 80 transcribed interviews of people who have worked with Jean Monnet, or contributed particularly to the implementation of the Treaties of Rome.

A specialised library contains several thousand works, many bequeathed by Jean Monnet and others, which focus on European issues from the perspective of both history and current events. The media library of the Foundation aims to safeguard the image of the builders of a united Europe. Over five thousand photos, some six hundred drawings and caricatures about the League of Nations, some hundred interviews and speeches from protagonists of European construction, some thirty films on events in the 1950s and about one hundred recent television or radio programmes are available to the open public. In addition, the Foundation continuously supplements its programme of filmed interviews. These gather testimony from personalities who have participated in one form or another in European construction, in Switzerland and in Europe.

This development of a photographic and audio-visual memory corresponds to the expectations of all those who today feel the need to know the face, voice and gestures of the men and women who built Europe, as well as to the growing demand from those who explore new technologies. Journalists, publishing houses, television channels, film directors and website managers, exhibition organisers, museum curators, municipalities and other institutions, schools and universities, a very wide public has recourse to the services of the media library.

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