On March 6th, 2020, the Albert Hirschman Chair was officially launched at Iméra, the Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University, in the presence of Eric Berton, President of Aix-Marseille University; Thierry Fabre, Director of the Mediterranean program at Iméra; and Katia Salomon, the daughter of A. Hirschman. The Chair will support interdisciplinary research and exchanges between Aix-Marseille University and its German partners. The first Chair holder may be welcomed to Marseille at Iméra as early as 2021.
“A story begins, through which we hope to create new Franco-German connections,” introduced Thierry Fabre during the launch of the Albert Hirschman Chair at Iméra on Friday, March 6th, 2020, which he initiated, as part of the 3rd Franco-German Forum of the Mediterranean, and in the presence of Eric Berton, President of Aix-Marseille University. The Director of the Mediterranean program at Iméra developed the purpose of the Chair on this occasion. Albert Hirschman, who lived in Berlin, Marseille during the war, and later in Princeton, embodied interdisciplinary thought (economics, political science, sociology…) from his research at Princeton, particularly around “passions and interests,” to borrow the title of one of his books. A figure of the resistance, he embodied, especially in Marseille during troubled times, the idea of standing up and finding solutions. Hence the choice of this figure to “sponsor” this Chair on identity passions, between Europe and the Mediterranean, at a time when these passions strongly affect society. In addition, “it is time for Marseille to recognize the role and action of Albert Hirschman during the Second World War,” emphasized Thierry Fabre.
Following Thierry Fabre’s intervention, Katia Salomon, A. Hirschman’s daughter, then painted a portrait of her father, whom she hopes will be “inspiring” for the Chair, praising his moral courage, relentless questioning, and openness to the world. This was followed by historians Jean-Marie Guillon (AMU) and Jean-Michel Guiraud, President of the Varian Fry Association France.ce.