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Renaud Dehousse Celebrated as SAIS Europe’s Inaugural Rector

January 31, 2024

In a momentous ceremony held at Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy, Renaud Dehousse was formally installed January 31, 2024 as the inaugural rector of SAIS Europe and vice dean of SAIS. The event, attended by Johns Hopkins University and SAIS leaders, SAIS Europe faculty and students, as well as esteemed guests from the Italian and United States governments, underscored the profound importance of cross-cultural collaboration in academia and celebrated the longstanding partnership among Johns Hopkins, the University of Bologna, and the city of Bologna.

International journalist Barbara Serra served as master of ceremony, introducing a lineup of distinguished speakers including Alejandra Flores Renteria, SAIS Europe student and student body president; Matteo Lepore, mayor of Bologna; Giovanni Molari, rector of the University of Bologna; Vera Zamagni, SAIS Europe senior adjunct professor; Jack Markell, U.S. ambassador to Italy; SAIS Dean James B. Steinberg; and Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels.

"We are thrilled to welcome Renaud Dehousse to Johns Hopkins at this important moment for SAIS Europe and the global society we serve," said President Daniels. "A scholar and leader with decades of experience bringing impactful research to the public square, he will be critical in forging connections across every part of our university and further expanding SAIS Europe’s role as a vibrant hub for education, research, public policy formation, and cross-cultural dialogue."

"Our center here in Bologna, founded nearly 70 years ago, was similarly inspired by the importance of sustaining a deep transatlantic link connecting both policymakers and scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, as together we faced the challenges of the Cold War and the need to defend democracy and freedom," Dean Steinberg noted. “Today, the continued importance of this mission is clear and perhaps more important than ever.” 

In his remarks, Dehousse echoed Steinberg's words, emphasizing the significance of institutions like SAIS Europe in a world where tensions and distrust among global players and their citizenry run high. "We now witness the emergence of a multipolar world, a world in which the Western worldview faces many challenges, as was evident in reactions from the global South to the Russian aggression against Ukraine," he said. "Despite this increasing polarization, global cooperation remains imperative to address a number of challenges like climate change or the exponential growth of technology."

"Johns Hopkins is one of the world’s top universities,” Ambassador Markell stated. “I’m thrilled to see it making important contributions to Bologna, just as it has to its home city of Baltimore. SAIS Europe is an academic powerhouse offering a truly global education to the next generation of leaders who will take on the incredible challenges we are facing.”

Dehousse brings a wealth of experience to his new position, having previously served as president of the European University Institute and held distinguished professorships at institutions such as Sciences Po Paris. During the installation ceremony, Dehousse also shared a personal connection with SAIS Europe, revealing: "I spent the first year of my life in Bologna while my father, Jean-Maurice Dehousse, studied at SAIS Europe."

Emphasizing the significance of his new role, Dehousse also said he is "honored to take on the role of such great responsibility.” He added: “SAIS Europe students assume leadership positions around the world. Their impact on society is significant, and the role of SAIS is to provide them with critical thinking, knowledge, and a global perspective to support the decisions they will make throughout their journey."

In concluding his remarks, Dean Steinberg expressed how pleased he was to have Dehousse on the SAIS leadership team: "Renaud brings to this new position a distinguished career as a scholar, educational innovator, and an important voice on policy issues in Europe and beyond. I look forward with great enthusiasm to partnering with Renaud, our wonderful faculty, amazing staff and students, and our dedicated alumni and supporters, as we launch this new chapter of SAIS Europe." 
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