Jean-Herman Guay told an impressed audience in 2008: “My hairdressers take their resentment of politicians on my poor head as soon as they hear that I teach politics.” Were Professor Guay’s hair woes so tragic? No…
On this evening in January 2008, the School of Applied Politics was born. Yesterday, a close-knit community came together again, this time to celebrate the 15the anniversary of “his” department, affectionately nicknamed the EPA.
As you can imagine, the creation of the EPA has more to do with anger than hair.
Anger, for love
Indeed, politics emerges from strong emotions in the face of a threat or situation that calls for action. This act, which is initially personal—”I can’t let it go”—sometimes becomes routine. It is organized and shared. Politics is then realized through other feelings such as solidarity, empathy, and yes, love.
The action is never smooth. Action is not ordered or predictable like an equation. There is neither the purity of theory, nor the possibilities of dreams. Action requires negotiation, persuasion; requires leadership; he does not give up at the first difficulty; does not require perfection. For him, progress is important.
The first director, Jean-Herman Guay, in his speech at the opening of the School of Applied Politics
If all of these skills are manifested through EPA’s research or training activities, it is truly the heart that makes up the center.
For Emeritus Professor Sami Aoun, this is one of EPA’s greatest achievements.
We have the compassion to deliver educational content with great precision and without compromise, yes… And with love, with a preference for interaction. At EPA, there is a strong bond between colleagues and students.
Sami Aoun, Professor Emeritus, School of Applied Politics
This culture of attitude continues beyond education, as evidenced by Raïs Kibonge, who graduated in 2017 and 2021. “The importance of human relationships, beyond political parties and goals, is an asset cultivated by the EPA and I now wear it everywhere I go,” explains the man who is a city councilor and deputy mayor of the city of Sherbrooke.
Ghislaine Patry was the first executive secretary of the EPA, to which she devoted 12 years of her career. He still remembers the presentation ceremony and especially the speech by Jean-Herman Guay. “It was exciting, stimulating…”, she recalls. With tears in her eyes and a proud smile, Ms. Patry salutes the confidence and spirit of mutual aid carried by successive EPA directors, staff members, faculty and the student body that reigned there. it would last a long time! “, declares a 71-year-old EPA retiree.
Trust is also central to the memories of the recently retired Professor Pierre Binette. “For the application part of the training we aim to do, we have to trust the students…”, he emphasizes. Indeed, several of EPA’s educational activities or projects are proposed and developed by a community of students led by a team of teachers who value initiative and autonomy.
These specific experience requirements also apply to teaching staff. Emeritus Professor Gilles Vandal explains that EPA experts have been involved in civic life since the creation of the department, regularly appearing in the media to promote political reality. According to Professor Vandal, this popularization and the culture of connection between science and the population has reached the extent of spreading throughout the UdeS and has now established itself as a contributor to society.
Willingness to do different things
This warmth, this push towards others, was felt during the evening celebration of EPA’s 15th anniversary. A community of experts, EPA staff, students and alumni, FLSH leadership and the University of Sherbrooke commemorated the milestones that marked the department’s history.
Through the evening’s many speeches, one element always stood out: the applied component of political training and its various ways of working.
It is not political crises that have been missing for 15 years. We might think of 9/11, the rise of radicalization, or even the climate crisis. Again, the EPA responded. This can be seen in 9439 media events in the last 5 years alone. This is a great pride for UdeS!
Christine Hudon, vice-chancellor for research and international relations, Université de Sherbrooke
EPA is certainly a source of pride for UdeS, as well as for its faculty and dean, where it has lived for 15 years.
As dean of FLSH, I see every day that the creation of APE is a valuable addition to our faculty. EPA members are actively involved in the community and fully engaged in all aspects of university life.
Anick Lessard, Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities
The current director of the EPA, Professor Hugo Loiseau, also highlighted the key element of the success of the School of Applied Policy adventure, namely the students and alumni who design it.
Our greatest reward is the pride that inspires us when we see our students making a difference around the world!
Hugo Loiseau, current director of the School of Applied Politics
The celebration was also an opportunity to present the Sami-Aoun medal to the 2022 laureate, Gabrielle Goyet. In keeping with the spirit of the EPA, this distinction honors a student who places coexistence at the center of their actions and daily lives.
For Jean-Herman Guay, the School of Applied Politics aimed to prepare students to deal with the challenges, problems and tensions that organizations constantly face.
We want to produce graduates who offer more than dreams: dreams that become reality, turned into effective solutions.
He adds that in order to achieve this, it is necessary to understand and take into account the complexity… In short, it is necessary not to turn away from the fury of barbers, but rather to accept it in a certain way: to accept it, to break it down. and answer it.