Past Event

Sylvie Kauffmann, in conversation with Alexander Stille about The Blindsided: How Berlin and Paris Cleared the Way for Russia

April 15, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall
Campus security decided to restrict campus access to Columbia ID holders for the entire week. If you do not have a Columbia ID, our Associate Director Fanny Guex will meet you at the 116th/Broadway gate between 11:30-11:45 AM to escort non-affiliates to the Maison Francaise. Please arrive on time.

On February 24, 2022, Russia blindsided most of Europe with its all-out invasion of Ukraine. This forced an overdue reckoning for Europeans on the failures of their Russia policy and the realities of Vladimir Putin’s agenda. In particular, France and Germany had been hoodwinked by promises of cheap Russian energy supplies, as well as the pipe dream of a common European security architecture with Moscow. In Sylvie Kauffmann’s new book Les Aveuglés: Comment Berlin et Paris ont laissé la voie libre à la Russie (The Blindsided: How Berlin and Paris Cleared the Way for Russia), she asks how and when France and Germany could have acted differently and changed the path of history. At what point was it clear that Putin was heading down this path? And why did Europeans, again and again, ignore the warning signs? Will Europe emerge more unified or more divided by this war that has opened its eyes?

Sylvie Kauffmann is a foreign affairs columnist for the French newspaper Le Monde. She also contributes to the opinion pages of the Financial Times and has been a contributing writer for the New York Times. She was the editor-in-chief of Le Monde in 2010-2011. She joined the newspaper in 1987 as Moscow correspondent. Since then, she has been Eastern and Central Europe correspondent, U.S. correspondent based in Washington D.C., New York Bureau Chief, and reporter-at-large in Asia, based in Singapore. Prior to joining Le Monde, Sylvie Kauffmann worked for Agence France-Presse as a foreign correspondent, in London, New Caledonia (South Pacific), Warsaw, and Moscow. Sylvie Kauffmann is the author of Les Aveuglés: Comment Paris et Berlin ont ouvert la voie à la Russie (2023), a book about France, Germany and Putin’s Russia.

Alexander Stille is a journalist and author who has written extensively on Italian subjects, among other topics. His books include Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism; Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic;

and The Sack of Rome: How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi. He has written extensively for a wide range of American publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and the New York Review of Books as well as La Repubblica in Italy. His most recent  book is on a decidedly un-Italian subject: The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune. It tells the story of a psychoanalytic institute in New York that evolved into an urban commune and devolved into a cult.

Event organized by the Columbia Maison Française and co-sponsored by Le Monde, and Columbia Global Centers | Paris.

Journalism and Crisis:  April 15-17, 2024

This event is presented as part of a series of events on Journalism and Crisis that facilitates discussions about some of the most critical questions facing journalists and journalism today, particularly in an international context. Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Le Monde, and the Columbia Maison Française, invite you to these vital conversations, held in New York City from April 15 to 17, 2024. The full program of events is listed here.

Columbia Global Centers | Paris addresses pressing global issues that are at the forefront of international education and research: agency and gender; climate and the environment; critical dialogues for just societies; encounters in the arts; and health and medical science.

Le Monde is France’s leading newspaper. It has provided news coverage, unique perspectives and in-depth analysis to francophone readers all around the world since 1944. Le Monde in English, founded in 2022, brings the best of our award-winning journalism from France, Europe and all around the world, to anglophones.

For more than a century, the Columbia Maison Française has been a leader in fostering intellectual and cultural exchange between the United States and France, Europe, and the French-speaking world.