1954-2024: We're celebrating the 70th anniversary of CIFE!

We wish all our readers – friends, partners, students, former students and faculty members of CIFE – a happy, peaceful and successful year in 2024.

For us, it will be a very special year, as we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of our institution. In fact, it was in autumn 1954 that the French intellectual Alexandre Marc founded the Centre international de formation européenne, together with other activists of the Union of European Federalists (UEF). It was a critical moment of European integration, because the year 1954 saw the failure of the European Defence Community (EDC), when its treaty was not ratified by the French National Assembly. European federalists had set high hopes for the project of the EDC, especially because it would have meant a decisive push for a European political community. Even bigger was their deception when the project failed. For Marc and other European federalists, a new approach had to be taken to pursue the goal of a unified Europe: educating European citizens to make them espouse this ideal and further it in their professional lives. With this objective in mind, CIFE was founded.

Shaping Europe's Future Through Education

70 years later, we live in very different Europe. The Cold War, which considerably shaped the world in which the founders of CIFE lived, is over. The exclusively western Europe of six members has grown into an encompassing union of 27 member states. The scope of European policies, at that time limited to coal and steel, has expanded impressively. However, many of the questions which were important to Marc and his generation remain valid today. We still don’t have a common European defence and the return of war to the European continent since the Russian attack on Ukraine makes us more aware of it than ever. And we still don’t have a European political community, in the sense it was intended by the federalist movement. CIFE has changed too – it has evolved into a European institute of higher education receiving more than 150 graduate students each year, a growth we can be proud of. However, the mission of our founders remains as valid today as it was 70 years ago: Shaping Europe’s future through education. 

Matthias Waechter, Director General of CIFE


Herman Van Rompuy, President of CIFE
Matthias Waechter, Director General of CIFE