Studies Without Borders

Since the war in Chechnya began, one-fifth of its population has died. Andre and Raphael Glucksmann look at Etudes Sans Frontières (studies without borders)–a non-profit organization “founded by a group of French students in 2003 in order to help their counterparts from war-torn societies come and study in western universities”–and their Chechen mission. (Text originally in Corriere della Sera, translated in

“Man does not live by bread alone. What I missed most in the basements of Grosny, as the hail of bombs fell, were my school books, my films, and all the things that would have freed my soul from this hell.” Milana Terloeva is 26 years old and Chechen. In Russia, that’s a crime. And for us in France? In September of 2003, she left the rubble of Grosny and came to Paris. Three years later, she finished a journalism degree at the Institute for Political Sciences in Paris (Sciences-Po), published a wonderful book (“Danser sur les ruines, une jeunesse tchetchene” Hachette Litterature, Paris 2006) and is now getting ready to return to her homeland. Milana epitomises the success of Etudes Sans Frontieres (Studies Without Borders).

“Man does not live by bread alone.” How many boys and girls have been deprived of an education by the countless wars and dictatorships that cover this planet with blood? In the face of the current threat of international terrorism, could there be a more worthy goal for Western youth than helping students from decimated countries to gain access to knowledge and culture? What undertaking could be more effective in countering these merchants of hatred who exploit the desperation of those who have been forgotten by the West? The handful of French students who grouped together in March 2003 to found Etudes Sans Frontieres had precisely this in mind: extending a hand to those who have been sent into exclusion by the insanity of human history.