History of CIFE | European University Founded in 1954
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The Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) was created in 1954.
Its founders, in particular Alexandre Marc, understood the urgent necessity to train professionals and citizens in the subject of a united Europe.

Over the course of the years, CIFE has become an organisation without rival.
We offer postgraduate university courses; summer university programmes; general education by means of seminars and international apprenticeships; the furthering of knowledge and debate in conferences; the transmission of information and communication by means of our review L’Europe en formation and our various other publications.

This abundant activity has been nurtured over the course of the successive EU enlargements and has often anticipated these. In this way, as early as the end of the 1980s, CIFE multiplied its conferences and summer sessions from Prague to Moscow, from Vilnius to Budapest and then on to Sofia, and trained in its institute in Nice numerous students who have gone on to become today’s professionals in a new Europe.

Finally, CIFE has opened itself to the challenges new Europe has presented by complementing the natural openness which Nice offers towards Western Europe and the Mediterranean with the openness in Berlin towards Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea and the openness in Istanbul towards Turkey and beyond.

The culmination of our activities has been made possible thanks to the support of local, regional and national authorities, business and foundations, the largest of international organisations but most of all thanks to the confidence that leaders of the European Communities have placed in CIFE from the very beginning and which the EU has continually and resolutely supported.

This unparalleled assessment of service to a peaceful, prosperous and more just Europe owes much to CIFE’s presidents: Grégoire GAFENCO, Enzo GIACCHERO, Jean REY,  Lord George THOMSON, Gaston THORN, Émile NOËL, Michel ALBERT, Jean-Claude JUNCKER…
It also owes much to those who have been Directors, Alexandre Marc then Ferdinand Kinsky and all their collaborators, expert as much as loyal, to their objective. It owes much finally to all those who have answered the call for the development of the EU and passed on throughout the continent the message that CIFE has taught them.

Hartmut Marhold
Director General (2002-2013)


CIFE has a vision

  • Inspired by the European model: living together in peace, prosperity and with responsibility

  • With an international team and decentralised structures

  • With a federal concept of European education: “unity in diversity”

CIFE firmly believes that European integration is an historical achievement, a model of how people may live together in mutual tolerance and respect, in peace, in prosperity and with a shared responsibility. CIFE’s share of responsibility in a Europe looking towards the future, is to teach and learn about European integration and to enable students to share this knowledge, over and above pure scientific interest.

CIFE itself lives up to what it teaches : Its staff is international, with employees from France and Germany, Belgium and Italy, Lithuania and Bulgaria, Poland and Turkey. With offices in Nice and Berlin, in Brussels and Rome as well as in Istanbul, CIFE’s decentralised, almost federal structure allows for autonomous teams to run academic programmes to meet specific requirements, and yet binds the whole team together in terms of its European commitment.

In CIFE’s vision of Europeans living together, federal structures would best allow for a reasonable balance between diversity and unity. The choice of federalism means an ongoing, open process of addressing each problem, each task and challenge, at the level of governance best suited to deal with it – led by the principle of subsidiarity. Understood in this way, federalism is a method, an attitude, which must be continuously under review. CIFE is committed to this open-end method of reshaping the European model, together with its global academic network of colleagues and its students from all continents.