Sciences Po

I have just given half of a class about cultural governance to the graduate students of the Sciences Po, the elite school of political administration (Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques) which was established in Paris in February 1872 by a group of intellectuals, including Hippolyte Taine, in order to train candidates for the French civil and diplomatic service. What was interesting was how idiosyncratic the British system of corporate governance looks by comparison to the French which was standardised in 1982 to include one third representatives of the state, one third subject experts, and one third representatives of staff, whereas British boards are in theory constituted as independent bodies, but appointed by the Prime Minister, which is fine as long as government chooses not to interfere, but not so fine when it does.

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