Photos: Marseille Chapter Collaborates with IAU and the US Consulate

October 3rd, 2018 at the Institute for American Universities at Aix-en-Provence: Talk with Amy Anne Below on "Why Your Voice Is Essential, Free Speech and the Survival of Democracy”.

Emphasizing the non-partisan aspect of encouraging ALL people to vote no matter for whom they would like to vote allowed us to form a collaboration with the Institute of American Universities and the US Consulate General in Marseille. Both VFA and the Federal Voting Assistance Program were used to get dozens of students to register to vote, not only on the evening of the event, but for three days at IAU, where there were computers installed around campus with the two sites on the screens. Many emails were sent out by the Dean of IAU, Leigh Smith, and teachers talked about the event in their classes and assigned homework based on the talk. So it turned into a three-day event culminating in the talk with Amy Below. About 80 people were there. 

Many thanks to the participants: SIMON HANKINSON, the US Consul General in Marseille; CHOUROUK FARHAT, the Special Consular Services Assistant of American Citizen Services at the Consulate; AMY ANNE BELOW, US Government expert from Paris; LEIGH SMITH, Dean of IAU; PHILIP BREEDEN, Vice-President for Administration at IAU.

                                                                                            Chourouk Farhat, US CG Simon Hankinson, Amy Anne Below

                                                                 Chourouk Farhat, Simon Hankinson, Amy Anne Below, Philip Breeden, Leigh Smith

The students had lots of questions, and since they are our future, this is food for thought:

- What difference can I really make from abroad in my own county when I vote from far away and don’t know much about local politics there?

- The problem of voter oppression – not only the frustration concerning gerrymandering and the cheating, but also the general feeling of oppression, feeling that one can’t make a difference.

- The problem of saturation – being inundated with news and information, and the feeling of being on overload.

- What am I going to get out of it? What will the government do for me?

                                                                      Amy Anne Below                                                                       Chourouk Farhat and Simon Hankinson


Great Article in Local Newspaper about our Conference on 3rd October in Aix

The French people of Aix are interested in American politics! The local newspaper, La Provence, ran an article about our Midterm Elections, VoteFromAbroad, and the talk we are holding on October 3rd, with Amy Anne Below speaking on the issue of Free Speech. 

Many thanks to Joel Luboff for his connections with the French press!

                   Read the article online here


Phone Banking Day - GOTV

What a success! On 25 August, five members of our Chapter (clockwise, ExCom members Susan Fitoussi, Joel Luboff, Pamela King, Karen Wildau, as well as Judy Godfrey) contacted 400 members to make sure they were registered to vote in the Midterms. Many thanks to Karen for her beautiful home and fig ice cream! More people are registered now thanks to our calls...


SAVE THE DATE Wednesday 3 October for a great Get Out The Vote Event!





for a talk with

Amy Anne Below

MAT and specialist in American Politics and Government


"Why Your Voice Is Essential:

Free Speech and the Survival of Democracy"

with the participation of

Philip Breeden

Vice President of Administration and professor of IAU

Leigh Smith

PhD, Dean and professor of IAU

and special guest

The Consul General of the US in Marseille,

Simon Hankinson

Exact address to be announced.


But don't wait till then!

Go to

now to register!!



Article in La Provence-Aix on the March in Aix

You can read the article on below, or on line here:


150 People at the March in Aix!

March For Our Lives hit the streets of Aix-en-Provence with more than a hundred people marching to support the students. We filled the streets with music (including Lin Manuel Miranda's latest "Found/Tonight" that he wrote just for this event) and anti-NRA chants, turning heads and drawing people out of their homes and shops as we wound our way to the Rally Square.

Many thanks to Robert Hale for his excellent photos!

Psychology Professor James A. Shepperd from the University of Florida joined us to say a few words at the end-of-march rally, encouraging us to vote, and to contact our representatives. 

The words of survivor/activist Sarah Chadwick inspired our march as we set out:

"NEVER AGAIN should a child be afraid to go to school. NEVER AGAIN should students have to protest for their lives. NEVER AGAIN should an innocent life be taken while trying to gain an education. NEVER AGAIN should I feel guilty to be alive because Peter, Carmen, Scott, Feiss, Hickson, Meadow, Jamie, Alyssa, Joaquin, Helena, Nick, Alana, Cara, Martin, Luke, Gina and Alex are not. That is why we have organized this revolution. For them. A revolution created by students, for students.”

BRAVO and THANKS to all the people from all over the region who turned up, including from Arles, Avignon and as far away as Nice! It was a tremendous event thanks to every ONE of you. 


"Understanding", by Dr James A. Shepperd, Prof of Psychology of Univ of Florida

We are delighted to announce that Professor James A. Shepperd, visiting from FL,  will join us in our march and will say a few words at the end. 

Pr Shepperd is the R. David Thomas Endowed Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida. He has a PhD is in Social Psychology from the University of Missouri, and has written over a 100 peer-reviewed publications, several of them about gun violence. We are presenting here is most recent article, "Understanding the Gun Divide in America":


Talk with Wolfgang Cramer, Climate and Biodiversity Scientist – Making a Difference, One by One!

Rarely has a talk on climate change been so clear! On March 10th, Professor of Global Ecology Wolfgang Cramer, expert on climate change and deputy director of the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et Continentale (IMBE) in Aix, took us step by step through today's most important issues concerning the ecological state of our world. Cars - the sea level - the Antarctic - the Paris Agreement were just some of the topics touched by Prof Cramer who opened our eyes to new information. The political implications were clear - What kind of planet will we leave for our grandchildren? Our actions today - as small as they may be - whether choosing a bike over a car or casting a vote! - DO make a difference and will decide our future.

Professor Wolfgang Cramer

The audience at the Mado café in Aix was extremely attentive. We were honored to have Prof Cramer talk to us. Many thanks to Karen and Robert Wildau for organizing this great moment.

20 attentive listeners at the Mado Café in Aix-en-Provence