Georges Mink, sociologist

Refugee from Poland between 1970 and 1975

He was born Jerzy Mink on 25 May 1946 in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, and moved back to Warsaw with his parents in 1950. In 1964, he joined the faculty of philosophy and quickly came up against the anti-Semitic policies of the Polish government at the time. Nevertheless, he continued his studies in France and was a student of Claude Levi-Strauss at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Practical Institute of Higher Studies).

Due to the Polish government's anti-Semitic policies following the student uprisings of March 1968, he made the decision to apply for asylum, especially because he was less worried about the repercussions for his parents, who had already left Poland after his father lost his job due to his religion.

Recognised as a refugee in 1970, Georges Mink is a sociologist and political scientist specialising in Central and Eastern Europe. He has taught at the René Descartes Paris 5 - Sorbonne University, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Institute for Higher Studies in Humanities) and the École Nationale de l'Administration (Institute for Administrative Studies). He became a French citizen in 1975 and is now a Research Director at the Institute of Political Social Sciences (CNRS), Paris 10-Nanterre University. He has been a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po Paris since 1973 and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) since 2000.

His research and publications focus on partisan systems, socio-political transformations of regimes, the conversion of communist elites in Central and Eastern Europe, the Europeanisation of national political systems and the question of transitional justice mechanisms in EU countries. He has served as Director of research teams such as the Sociological Observatory of the USSR and Eastern Europe (OSEUS-CNRS), the Centre for Research on Post-Communist Societies (CRESPO-CNRS). Between 2001 and 2003, he was Director of the East-West Comparative Studies Journal (1999-2004) and co-founder of the journal Géopolitique (“Geopolitics”).

From 1988 to 2001 he was a member of the panel of the Orient competitive exams at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (selection of future diplomats). From 2001 to 2003, he was seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Director of the French Centre for Research in Social Sciences (CEFRES) in Prague (Czech Republic). For this activity he was awarded the Palacky Medal by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) in France.

He is a member of several bodies governing professional associations, including the Board of Directors of Radio France Internationale (1989-1994), the Executive Committee of the International Council for Central and Eastern European Studies (since 2000-) and the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University (since 2001).