Since 1992 nearly 1,000 academics have left Algeria to settle in France. Some fled direct terrorist threats while others preferred to "move away for a while until the situation calms down".
Even in exile, this part of the Algerian elite remains privileged in comparison with other members of the intelligentsia like artists or journalists. Thanks to the close contacts they had established with their French colleagues, and thanks to the solidarity shown by them, many Algerian academics have found jobs in France.
"We have always had the possibility to settle in France but the majority would have never left the country if there was not that sad ugly war," said a political scientist. If they succeed in integrating into French society, these academics still remain underemployed and underpaid in comparison with their French colleagues.
A specialist in Algerian literature who had taught for 30 years in Algeria, said: "Here in France we are foreigners. For us, it is the beginning of a new career. As a general rule, anything we did before in Algeria is equal to zero. It is as if we had to start from nothing."