Welcome to Alissa's Newsletter!

This newsletter offers you the latest news and information about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well as Fourth Sector activity in Europe and America. You will also have the opportunity to follow me on my journey through France and participate in an international dialogue about culture, and art. A la prochaine!

-Alissa Mickels

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The Lawyer

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La Parisienne

The Artist

 Website Update

Blog Update
Posted two new blogs: Oct. 17 (Fourth Sector and Faith-Based communities) and Nov. 23 (poem)
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Website Update
There have been some recent changes to my ongoing projects:
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The aftermath’s of AB2944 (October):
Check out Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto message endorsing research and legislation on new corporate governance forms:
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Read about the latest news on Corporate Social Responsibility, green businesses and Fourth Sector activity in Europe…

  • Clean energy in France: I was watching a debate about clean energy and discovered some interesting facts about clean energy in France:
    • There are currently 2000 windmills in France and the government wants to increase this number 20% in three years.
    • 80% of France’s electricity comes from nuclear power
    • The largest renewable energy in France comes from wood; only 20% comes from solar and wind power; 15% comes from hydroelectric
    • Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European commission announced this week that the renewable energy and CSR should still be at forefront of debate despite this crisis
  • Green business activity:
    • The Launch of the first French Green Office Building: Bouygues Immobilier, which has initiated the Green Office® project in Meudon - France's first large-scale positive energy building - is launching a consortium to optimise the energy performance of office buildings during the operation phase. Read more
    • Coca-Cola and WWF partnership: The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with WWF, has set new global targets to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions within its system-wide operations. Read more
  • International Fourth Sector News:
    • A new sustainability index: Two leading sustainability index providers – the FTSE Group and KLD Research and Analytics Inc.– have entered into a strategic partnership which will include a rebranding exercise early next year, Environmental Finance reports. Read more

My reflections about France, Europe and America...

  • A new way to advertise: I’ve noticed a difference in advertising content between Paris and San Francisco. Many of the advertisements in the subway and around Paris inform citizens about the various plays, expositions, museums, shows, and/or conferences taking place in Paris. Most of the billboards in San Francisco, on the other hand, contain ads for clothing companies, toys, gadgets, and/or the newest version of some apply product. As much as I am opposed to the ability to be influenced by coy market ploys, I have noticed I actually enjoy waiting for the metro here and have been to some amazing expositions thanks to public transportation. I doubt I would have this same feeling in the US…
  • What’s on French TV?: I rarely watch T.V. in the US. While I am living in France, however, I watch quite a bit of télé in order to improve my French. From the many hours I’ve spent in front of the tube, I’ve noticed that there are a lot more debates about international and ecological subjects on French television. Although US cable offers a plethora of channels and shows, I would say that in general, the quantity of reality/TV series/soap operas offered in the US is drastically greater than that in France. I wonder how that affects our attitudes and interactions with people we encounter as we live our daily lives…
  • ‘La violence: sit tu te tais, elle te tuera’ (‘Violence : if you’re silent, it will kill you’): I first saw this slogan on the Paris subway in an advertisement for a helpline for people to call and talk. I had two interesting observations: First, the advertisement implies that the opposite of silence is violence. Second, this association received enough funding and support that the government and/or people feel a helpline is necessary. To be quite honest, I was surprised that there was as much support for an advertisement as such because it has been my experience that French people are more comfortable with confrontation than Americans. For example, it has often happened that people riding on the bus will insult the bus drivers that almost drive off without them or that refuse to open the doors. In response to such insults, the bus driver will forcefully reply that he does not deserve to be treated that way and if they are not satisfied, they can leave after which the dissatisfaction is stated, clear, dealt with and forgotten quite quickly. I am a firm believer that the slogan, ‘silence will kill you’ is a very deeply rooted aspect of the French society…
  • Croissants: French, or Turkish?: Do you know where croissants came from ? The french word ‘croissant’ translates into the English word 'crescent' which is a symbol of the Islamic crescent moon. How does this relate to French culture you may ask? According to my history professor, croissants were made in 1683, after the second siege of Vienna which marked the end of the Turkish pressure in France. After doing a little research, I found that this is one of a couple different etymology myths around croissants. What is certain is that the recipe for croissants did not appear in any cookbook before the early 20th century.

Follow me as I attend conferences and events, and embark on unexpected adventures in Paris!

  • Conferences/events:
    • Attended L’Universite de la Terre UNESCO Conference on ‘Reinventing progress’ on Oct. 18-19, 2008.
      • Summary : The main theme of the conference was about how to create another model for society-a new scientific, sociological, academic and cultural model that will not destroy the planet. Many of the debates recognized a new society was emerging (la societe de la connaissance) in which corporations are called to be 50% material, and 50% immaterial. In other words, corporations are now more than ever interested in quality and wisdom as the necessary ingredients for success in an emerging culture that values community and cooperation. If you’d like to receive my notes from the conference, email me at mickelsa@gmail.com. For more information, click here
    • Attended Conference on the European Union and the Economic Crisis at Paris-II Assas- Institut de Droit Compare. Nov. 21-22, 2008.
      • Summary: This conference was hosted at the Institute of Comparative Law by one of our teachers, Madame Dutheil de la Rochere, the former President of Paris II-Assas-Pantheon. The two-day conference consisted of many different panel discussions on complex issues faced in Europe and the effect of the current economic crisis. One interesting panel discussed how the economic crisis perpetuates human rights violations and the effect of such activity within the auspices of democracy (monitored by Claude Blumann). Other topics included the food and health crisis (Yves Petit), the ecological crisis (Christian Hugo), the energy crisis (Jan Slot), the institutional crisis (Rostane Mehdi), the political crisis with the new Lisbon treaty (Loic Azoulai), the financial and monetary crisis (Alain Buzelay), the conflict of arms crisis (Serge Sur) and the ways in which the European Union will prevent and manage these issues (Jacqueline Dutheil de la Rochere). The debates were stimulating and enlightening, but there was a bit of a Franco-central attitude within the analysis of these crises especially in regards to the debate around the conception and definition of a ‘European citizen.’
  • Daily life a la parisienne:
    • Generally happy: After being in Paris for over a month, I have finally settled down into a routine and am happily living in Boulogne, a city just outside of the Paris peripherique. Classes are fun and exciting and I am meeting really interesting people. Recently, I bought a movie pass for 20 euros a month which allows me to go to any movie I want for free! Also, I have bought an opera pass which allows anyone under the age of 28 to buy the best seats in both Opera houses in Paris as well as any ballet, symphony or theater (Comedie Francaise) for no more than 20 euros. I think I’m in heaven! I’ve recently started painting again and am looking at Van Gogh art for inspiration. I’ve been cooking a lot too and have mastered the art of soup making. Most of my free time I either spend studying or writing poetry, drawing or hanging out with friends.
    • My daily routine is as follows:
      • Monday: I have class on the History of the Idea of Europe after which I go to aerobics class. Study afterwards
      • Tuesday: varies from week to week. Sometimes I have class on Internal market/free movement of goods, other times we have different classes.
      • Wednesday: Have class on Competition law, and EU institutions. In the evenings, I have improv class (yes I have joined a French improv group, no I don’t know why, and yes it’s so much fun!)
      • Thursday: Go running for two hours with other students from Paris universities. In the evenings, I have class on Internal market/free movement of goods and I study at random cafes in Paris or paint.
      • Friday: Attend class on Private International Law, study, and then I usually go out with friends for a drink or a movie…
      • Saturday: I usually go to the local farmers market in the morning and stock up on stinky cheese, vegetables, and organic spelt bread. Last week, I bought a cute shirt for only 1 euro! Study, study, study…
      • Sunday: Rest (no study)ing)

Inspired by beauty? Send me any of your art, thoughts, poetry, or creative projects, and i will publish them in my next newsletter...


  • Boris Cyrulnik & Edgar Morin, Dialogue Sur La Nature Humaine: I recently finished reading an amazing book in which two modern French philosophers discuss what it means to be human and how the notion of ‘humanity’ is radically changing. They notice how western societies have become a more specialized society which inevitably hinders the ability to recognize the many different facets of human beings. They cite Paul Valery and his theory of the two births of humanity - the birth of words (la naissance paroliere) which becomes possible only after the biological birth (la naissance biologique). These two births essentially define how we interact with each other. One is conditioned by instincts, the other through relationships. In terms of our biological birth, Trinchet, a specialist in thermodynamics says we are at the exact temperature of our own destruction-to live, we cannot be liquid because we would be without a comprehensive form, and we cannot be completely solid bcause then we would lack the necessary flexibility. Similarly, the true thought can only exist at the temperature of its destruction and the moment that we replace theory (theorie) with law (doctrine). One example they gave was how some people will fight to the death for an idea thinking it is the law and Truth. This idea is applicable not only to religious beliefs but infiltrates academia. In other words, when a society or a person becomes too reductionist, this will create a false sense of security only to one day discover that we have less control over life than we thought. Indeed, “la certitude est le meilleur de mes tranquillisants…” (Certainty is one of my most powerful sedatives) (p.46).
  • Pollock and Shamanism: Last week, I went to this amazing exhibition that invited the observer to look at how shamanism and Jungian philosophy influenced Jackson Pollock’s art. Essentially, the shaman represents the space between animals and man in the same way that art in the form of a dream made real, is the luminal space between the observer and the painter. Pollock paints with the intention to affect the audience. Accordingly, his art depicts the spiritual and biological nature within shamans who are both the spiritual leader of a tribe and the incarnation of an animal spirit. Read more
  • Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto Opera: I went to see Verdi’s Rigoletto opera last week in the Opera Bastille. I was amazed at the beautiful scenery and unexpected ending. If you’ve already seen Rigoletto, I would be interested in your thoughts about the relationship between Rigoletto and his daughter. Read more

©2008 Alissa Mickels