The passing of Professor Pierre du Bois

Professor at HEI from 1992, Pierre du Bois was a well-known specialist in the history of European integration, a field of study that he did not separate from his commitment to Europe. Through his numerous works, he contributed to shedding light on the relationship between Switzerland and the European construction. He enriched the knowledge of Swiss history, with its divisions and tensions – the Sonderbund War, the gap between the French-speaking and German-speaking areas – and of communist Romania, in which he became an informed expert. The courses he gave to other universities (in Neuchâtel, Strasbourg, Vienna), his links with other continents, Latin America in particular, his work as co-director of the French-Swiss Relations Internationales gave him a wide range of influence and earned him the friendship of many people across the world who were charmed by his engaging personality.


Pierre du Bois was an outstanding teacher who enthralled with the high level of talent he possessed to enter into dialogue between history and current affairs. His students valued him highly and were grateful to him for the kind support that he gave them. His colleagues and co-workers at the HEI will remember his charm, his warmth, the good humour that he spread all around him, his attachment to the Institute and all that he brought us through a loyal and productive relationship.

Philippe Burrin
Director of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies


Professor Pierre du Bois

The university and the Faculty of Arts mourns the sudden death of Pierre du Bois, a longtime associate professor in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Neuchâtel. For many years, Pierre du Bois taught contemporary history, from the Second World War onwards, to history and journalism students.

Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and the Diplomatische Akademie of Vienna, he gave his courses in Neuchâtel with the authority of a renowned specialist. He was one of those rare professors who enjoyed teaching and, in this area, he combined the gift of living with a very strong presence. A former radio journalist, he knew how to captivate an audience and his fellow journalists remember the masterful portraits he unravelled in front of them. His words, peppered with humour and stamped with a deep, human warmth, were heightened by the fact that he was highly cultivated: he was a passionate reader, discovering the most original aspects of western literature, and was, furthermore, an admirable connoisseur of the civilisations of Eastern Europe, particularly Romania, where his wife comes from. Such a background allowed him to put European construction and unification (of which he was a great specialist and which he believed in with every fibre of his being) in context, from a broad and qualified perspective, different from the Atlantic influence which had long bathed his history.

Death reached him in full creative momentum while he was preparing a book on the history of the Euro. It deprived us, neuchâtelois historians and political analysts, of a friend. We share the pain of Ina, his beloved wife.


Philippe Marguerat
Honorary Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Neuchâtel


Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 09:03