The Institut des Hautes Études de Défense Nationale is an institution for training, reflection and high-level debate on issues of military defence, national defence, national security and international security, open to the world and anchored in the European area.

In order to contribute to the development of a spirit of defence among students and young professionals, who will be active players in society tomorrow and today, it organises Youth cycles six or seven times a year, including one in overseas France, to bring together students from a wide range of sectors, military and civilian, public and private, driven by a shared desire to understand each other in order to act together.

The course is designed to raise awareness of strategic issues, while at the same time providing an insight into existing defence tools and structures. Accessible to all, it is designed to be both didactic and demanding in terms of the investment expected, and provides an excellent introduction to national defence circles. It is an excellent introduction to national defence circles, providing an opportunity for listeners to meet, cross points of view and decompartmentalise their knowledge.


Session objectives

Led by high-level officials from the military, academia and civil society, the conferences - supplemented by visits and committee work - enable participants to :

  • understand the complexity of issues with a strong interdepartmental, European and international dimension;
  • identify the main players and issues in this field, whether French, European or international;
  • think collectively on strategic perspectives on a given theme of current international interest;
  • visit the defence industry and its technological and industrial environment ;
  • forging a common defence culture and prepare participants to work together to strengthen national cohesion.

Session contributions

Whatever their initial level of knowledge, the auditor develops its knowledge defence issues and France's positioning. Gathering data and analysis, and working with profiles recruited for their diversity, they learn to forming and arguing an opinion on the strategic and societal issues of tomorrow, in a world that it will help to change by anticipating change defence and security. Finally, it built operational proposals as part of a collective approach to meet the challenges of the future.


The Youth cycles last a week, from Monday morning to Saturday lunchtime, with a dense rhythm of activities. 

This represents a total of 5.5 days of training, or 38.5 hours. Committee work may exceed these hours.

The annual programme includes six to seven cycles open to the public, generally including one overseas and two in the Paris region.

To get as close as possible to potential listeners, the Young People's cycles travel to the regions. Every two and a half years or so, there is a Youth Cycle in each region.

The young people's courses are run on a full boarding basis, to make it easier for students to attend.

Courses at the Ecole Militaire are day courses (only lunches are provided and included in the registration fees).

In the DROM (overseas departments and regions) and COM (overseas communities), the Youth cycle usually lasts 5 days (Monday to Friday).

Although applications from regional nationals are given priority, each cycle is open to all candidates who meet the application requirements, regardless of their region of residence.


"understanding in order to act, understanding each other in order to act together".

The educational triptych :

The pedagogy of the Youth cycles is based on a triptych the link between theory and practice, while respecting the principles of the Chatham House confidentiality rule :

  • Lecture-debates providing elements for analysis, discussion and understanding of the subjects covered;
  • Committee workThe aim is to develop a collegial approach to a topical or forward-looking issue;
  • Field visitsThese are industrial, technological and/or military projects with high added value in terms of defence and security issues, providing an opportunity to base our thinking on practical experience and human encounters.

Each cycle comprises around nine lectures and one or two visits. The programme is subject to the availability of the speakers and the sites to be visited. It will be announced once the selection results have been received and is subject to change.

The 4 youth cycle modules:

The activities are divided into modules to provide a comprehensive understanding of defence and security issues.

  • Module 1: Strategic issues
  • Module 2: Knowledge of defence and the armed forces
  • Module 3: International cooperation and conflict
  • Transverse module Committee work


► Target group

The course brings together around 80 French students and young professionals, mainly aged between 20 and 30:

  • young people with professional experience in the public or private sector, with a diploma at least equivalent to level 5 ;
  • students or doctoral candidates from a variety of educational backgrounds (such as political science, international relations, security and defence, engineering, etc.);
  • job seekers ;
  • young people involved in voluntary work or holding local elected office.

The course is accessible to people with disabilities, subject to special assistance and within the limits of the requirements for travel and teaching activities.

For further information, please contact us at

The status of IHEDN Young Auditor is awarded by decision of the Director of the IHEDN at the end of the course.

► Number of places

Each Young People's cycle welcomes around 80 listeners.

► Register

No pre-requisites are required, apart from compliance with the following conditions:

  • register on the "Simplified procedures" website (see upcoming sessions tab) and submit an application in the required digital format before the registration closing date set for each cycle;
  • only complete applications will be examined;
  • for working people, proof of at least a level 5 diploma (DEUG, BTS, DUT, DEUST).

► Selection criteria

The main criteria used to select candidates are as follows:

  • motivation for defence and security issues ;
  • the quality and diversity of the course;
  • diversity of interests ;
  • the diversity of commitments.

► Auditor satisfaction rate

At the end of the course, participants will be asked to complete a satisfaction questionnaire. For all Youth cycles organised from September 2022 to June 2023, 97 % of auditors felt that the training met their expectations.

► Rates

The cost of the cycle is :

  • 500 € for working people ;
  • 150 € for students and jobseekers.

Fees include :

  • accommodation arrangements (except at the Ecole Militaire),
  • catering arrangements (lunch only at the Ecole Militaire),
  • transport arrangements during the cycle,
  • funding for educational activities.

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  • the return journey,
  • accommodation the day before the cycle,
  • additional costs not related to cycle activities.

The fees charged for overseas courses are adapted to the socio-economic situation, as decided by the IHEDN Board of Directors.

The rate is declaratory (and validated by the IHEDN when the application is examined), on presentation of proof for the student/job-seeker rate.

► Financing

Information about using the Personal Training Account (CPF) :

All youth courses are eligible for the CPF, unless otherwise stated. Each cycle is open to mytrainingaccount " withinone month before the start of the course.

Auditors wishing to use their CPF are invited to prepare their account and their application, but to submit their request only once their application has been accepted and in accordance with the instructions given to them by the IHEDN with the selection reply.

Information on financial assistance from the IHEDN endowment fund :

Financial assistance is available to students who are on a scholarship, registered with Pôle emploi (and not receiving financial assistance), or receiving RSA benefits, and eligible for the €150 fee.

The Institute will pay €70 of the application fee (€80 remains payable by the participant). To qualify, you will need to send your supporting documents (grant, RSA, Pôle emploi) by e-mail to, specifying the course for which you are applying and for which you wish to receive financial assistance. At the same time, you will need to complete your online registration like any other applicant.

The Youth and Specialised Cycles Office will get back to you to confirm whether or not you are eligible for financial assistance. The grant is subject to an annual volume and is not systematic.

Training assessment and skills certification

► To obtain certification of competence 

IHEDN's youth programmes prepare auditors who wish to do so for the "Understanding and Anticipating Defence and Security Issues" qualification, which is registered with the French Ministry of Defence. Specific France Compétences directory under RS number5605.

Certification of competence is based on two assessment methods:

  1. A summary of one of the teaching modules covered in the course;
  2. A prospective analysis paper on a subject of your choice from among the two proposed.

Papers must be submitted within 15 calendar days of the last day of the course. A methodological review is organised with the IHEDN Studies and Research Department (DER) in the week following the cycle.

The two deliverables must be sent in by the deadlines and according to the procedures indicated during the course. It will not be possible to make up or partially validate skills.

The work is corrected by the DER and presented to the certification committee, which meets twice a year. At the end of the committee meeting, candidates who have met the validation criteria are notified that they have been awarded certification.

Over 2022/2023, 50% of the auditors who took part in the certification validated the target competency.

► To qualify as an auditor 

Two assessment methods:

  • a collective report ;
  • an assessment of the knowledge acquired at the conferences, in the form of a multiple-choice questionnaire.

Upcoming cycles

139e Île-De-France (Paris - École militaire)

From 23 to 28 October 2023
Online registration opens : Monday 15 May 2023
Closing date for entries : Thursday 27 July 2023

This cycle replaces the annual cycle of the Grandes Écoles. It is open to students and young professionals aged between 20 and 30 who are nationals of the European Union. The course will be organised as a day course, with accommodation provided by the students themselves.

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Youth cycles in 2024

Registration opens in the coming weeks.



From 19 February to 24 February 2024

  • Registration opens: 2 October 2023
  • Closing date for entries: 1er December 2023



From 18 March to 22 March 2024

This course is only open to residents of French Polynesia.

  • Registration opens: 2 October 2023
  • Closing date for entries: 23 February 2024



From 15 April to 20 April 2024

  • Registration opens: 4 December 2023
  • Closing date for entries: 16 February 2024



From 3 June to 8 June 2024

  • Registration opens: 1 January 2024
  • Closing date for entries: 19 March 2024



From 1 July to 6 July 2024
  • Registration opens: 5 February 2024
  • Closing date for entries: 19 June 2024



From 21 October to 26 October 2024

  • Registration opens: 3 June 2024
  • Closing date for entries: 23 August 2024



From 25 November to 30 November 2024

  • Registration opens: 1 July 2024
  • Closing date for entries: 11 October 2024


For all questions relating to youth cycles

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