Pap Ndiaye, of Senegalese father and French mother, appointed Friday French Minister of Education and Youth, is a respected historian, specialist in the social history of the United States and minorities.

This 56-year-old researcher had been at the head of the Immigration Museum in Paris since last year. Professor for many years at Sciences Po Paris, he is appreciated by his peers and is a “size” on issues related to minorities.

“In the field of history, he is someone who has been innovative, he has been able to show a new way of understanding the past. His work on the black presence in France is founding”, says of him the historian Pascal Blanchard, specialist in colonization.

“He’s a practitioner, who teaches, who knows what it’s like to be in front of a class of students! It’s good to get a pedagogue when there is a feeling of unease among the teachers” , he adds, also welcoming “someone who listens to diversity” and “knows the international issues”.

“On everything related to minorities, he embodies orientations which are certainly not those that Jean-Michel Blanquer (his predecessor) implemented”, analyzes sociologist Michel Wieviorka. “He is also lucky to be able to move us between different cultures”, the United States, Africa and France.

A former student of the École Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud, a history graduate and holder of a doctorate from the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Pap Ndiaye is the older brother of the writer Marie NDiaye , Prix Goncourt 2009.

He studied in the United States from 1991 to 1996 and became known to the general public by publishing in 2008 “The Black Condition, essay on a French minority”, his reference work.

In 2019, always with the desire to popularize his subjects of study, he became scientific adviser to the exhibition “The black model”, at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, on the representation of blacks in the visual arts. More recently, he co-presented in 2020 a report on diversity at the Paris Opera.

When he arrived at the head of the French National Museum of the History of Immigration in March 2021, he told AFP that his appointment was a symbol for young “non-whites”, even if it was “d first due” to his work as a historian and his “long career as an academic”. “I assume myself as is with my skin color,” he added.

Reputed to be a supporter of consensus, his personality could be an asset in promoting reconciliation with the teaching world, very critical of the outgoing minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer.

“He is diplomatic in his way of being to others. It’s good because it’s a ministry that needs diplomacy,” said Pascal Blanchard.

“He’s a very thoughtful, very composed person”, abounds Michel Wieviorka. “If he has the means to have the politics he can embody, as an intellectual personality, I think we will go in a new direction”.

For Louis-Georges Tin, former president of the Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN), of which Pap Ndiaye was vice-president of the scientific council, it is also “someone who manages to pacify tensions”, who “creates consensus from above” and “respectful”.

The arrival at the National Education of Pap Ndiaye, who had signed a platform in 2012 calling for a vote for François Hollande, arouses surprise.

“I am amazed at this news. For me, Pap Ndiaye was not at all in there. What is certain is that it was necessary to free up National Education”, reacted to AFP the deputy La France Insoumise (LFI, radical left) Alexis Corbière. But “this media stunt, the only one from this dull government, will not defuse the deep anger in National Education”, he believes.

For the main secondary school teachers’ union, the Snes-FSU, “the appointment of Pap Ndiaye is a break with Jean-Michel Blanquer in more ways than one”. But “National Education is not governed solely by symbols”, he warns in a press release. “The emergencies are real, rapid responses are expected, particularly in terms of wages”.


05/20/2022 19:36:49 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP