“As soon as my barbers hear that I teach politics, they will take their opposition to politicians to my poor head,” Jean-Herman Guay said in 2008 to a very moved gathering. Were Professor Guay’s hair misadventures that tragic? Not…
This January evening in 2008, the School of Applied Politics was born. And yesterday, a close community gathered again, this time on the occasion of the 15the anniversary of “his” department, affectionately called the EPA.
As you can imagine, the creation of EPA has more to do with anger than hair.
Anger, because of love
In reality, politics hatches out of strong emotions in the face of danger or a situation that calls for action. This initially personal action—”I can’t leave this”—sometimes becomes commonplace. It is organized and shared. Politics then materializes through other feelings such as belonging, empathy and yes, love.
The action is never smooth. Action is not ordered or predictable like an equation. He has neither the purity of theory nor the faculty of dreams. Action requires negotiation, persuasion; it requires leadership; does not give up before the first difficulties; it doesn’t require perfection. Progress is important to him.
Jean-Herman Guay, the first director, in his speech at the opening of the School of Applied Politics
And if all these skills are manifested through EPA’s research or educational activities, it is truly the heart that forms the center.
For Sami Aoun, professor emeritus, this is one of the EPA’s greatest achievements.
We have compassion in delivering educational content – with great precision and without compromise, yes… But also with love, privileging interactions. At EPA, there is a strong bond between colleagues and students.
Sami Aoun, professor emeritus of the School of Applied Politics
This culture of relationships continues after studies, as evidenced by Raïs Kibonge, who graduated in 2017 and 2021. “The importance of human contacts, beyond political parties and goals, is a wealth cultivated by ‘EPA, which I now carry everywhere I go,'” explains the man , who is now a member of the city council and deputy mayor of Sherbrooke.
Ghislaine Patry was the very first Executive Secretary of the EPA, to whom she devoted 12 years of her career. He still remembers the opening ceremony and especially Jean-Herman Guay’s speech. “It was electrifying, stimulating… goosebumps! “, he recalls. With moist eyes and a proud smile, Ms. Patry salutes the trust and spirit of mutual aid that reigns there and is carried by successive EPA directors, staff members, faculty and the student community. “Part of me would go on for a long time! “, declares the one who left the EPA at the age of… 71 years.
Trust is also at the heart of the memories of Professor Pierre Binette, who recently retired. “For the applied part of the training we’re aiming for to work, we have to trust the students…”, he emphasizes. In fact, the student community designs and develops several learning activities or EPA projects, overseen by a teaching team that values initiative and autonomy.
These specific requirements of practice also apply to the teaching staff. Gilles Vandal, professor emeritus, reveals that EPA specialists have been involved in civic life by regularly appearing in the media to popularize political reality since the creation of the department. According to Professor Vandal, this culture of popularization and connection between science and the population has grown to such an extent that it has spread throughout the UdeS, which now positions itself as a contributor to society.
The desire to do things differently
This warmth, this dynamism towards others was palpable during the evening’s celebration of the 15th anniversary of the EPA. A community composed of specialists, EPA employees, students and alumni, FLSH management and the University of Sherbrooke commemorated the milestones marking the department’s history.
Through the many speeches of the evening, one element always stood out: the applied component of political training and his different way of doing things.
These are not political crises that have been absent here for 15 years. We can think of September 11, the rise of radicalization or even the climate crisis. Still, the EPA responded. And this can be seen in 9439 media events in the last 5 years alone. This is a great pride for UdeS!
Christine Hudon, vice-rector for studies and international relations at the Université de Sherbrooke
EPA is certainly a source of pride for UdeS, but also for the faculty, where it has been located for 15 years, as well as for its dean.
As dean of FLSH, I see daily that the creation of APE has been a valuable addition to our faculty. EPA members are fully involved in all aspects of university life in addition to being vigorously involved in the community.
Anick Lessard, Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities
Professor Hugo Loiseau, the current director of the EPA, also underlined a key element of the success of the School of Applied Politics adventure, namely the students and graduates who make it up.
The pride that inspires us when we see our students making a difference around the world is our greatest reward!
Hugo Loiseau, current director of the School of Applied Politics
The celebration was also the occasion to present the Sami-Aoun Medal to the 2022 recipient, Gabrielle Goyet. In keeping with the spirit of the EPA, this award rewards a student who places co-housing at the center of their actions and daily life.
For Jean-Herman Guay, the School of Applied Politics was about preparing students to deal with the challenges, problems and tensions that organizations always face.
We want to train graduates who offer more than just dreams: dreams that land, that turn into effective solutions.
He adds that in order to achieve this, it is necessary to understand and take into account the complexity… This means that we must not turn away from the anger of the barbers, but we must accept it in a certain way: accept it, dissect it. and react to it.