Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was born on 9 November 1888 in France. He moved to London at the age of 16, after passing the first part of his university entrance exams. In London he learnt business and English. “In 1906, his father sent him abroad to work for the family business. Do not bring any books,” his father advised him. “No one can think for you. Look out the window, talk to people…”Subsequently, Monnet made many business trips worldwide, travelling to Scandinavia, Russia, Egypt, Canada, and the United States.”
Jean Monnet joined the army but was discharged for health reasons in 1914. He became Secretary General of the League of Nations in 1919, after working on uniting the war efforts of Britain and France. He resigned in 1923 to concentrate on the family business. Later on, he helped to “stabilise the Polish Zloty in 1927 and the Romanian Leu in 1928. In 1929, his experience in international finance led him to found and co-manage the Bancamerica-Blair, a large U.S. bank in San Francisco.” From 1934 to 1936 lived in China.
In 1936 Jean Monnet was sent to London to oversee the joining of Britain’s and France’s production capacities. He went to the USA in 1940 to negotiate the purchase of war supplies. There he became one of President Roosevelt’s most trusted advisors and was there when the Victory Program was launched. ”In 1943, Monnet became a member of the National Liberation Committee, the free French government in Algiers.”
In 1950 Monnet brought together a team of people to develop the idea of the European Community. The official declaration was made on 9 May 1950. The European Coal and Steel Community was born!
In 1976, Monnet was proclaimed “Honorary Citizen of Europe”. He died on 16 March 1979.
The Jean Monnet Programme offers support for university-level teaching and research projects in European integration studies.
“The Jean Monnet Action includes the creation of Jean Monnet Chairs, Centres of Excellence, Modules, information and research activities as well as support for academic associations of professors and researchers in European integration.”
It further supports the College of Europe, the European University Institute, the European Institute of Public Administration, the Academy of European Law, the International Centre for European Training, and the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, as well as “Europe-wide associations active in education and training and present in at least 12 EU Member States.”
Read more about the Jean Monnet programme here.