We recently had a chance to talk with alumna Elise Montchanin who graduated from Schiller International University Paris Campus with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy. She gives us some of her reflections on her own international career.
SIU: Could you tell us a little bit about your current position?
EM: I am currently the Regional Security Adviser for IDLO, the International Development Law Organization (headquartered in Rome). I am in charge of the various countries in Africa where IDLO operates, mainly Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Mali with Tanzania and Liberia coming up soon. I have been working for IDLO since April 2014 ensuring the safety and security of staff implementing IDLO’s programs.
SIU: What have been some of your professional accomplishments since you graduated from Schiller International University?
EM: After Schiller I joined the French army, specifically the Gendarmerie, which had always been a dream. I spent 18 years in the army, I did missions for the Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) for 6 years and was deployed in Kosovo, Haiti and Chad. I also worked 3 years for the World Food Program (WFP) as a security officer training all WFP staff in Africa.
SIU: How did the Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy at SIU prepare you for your career?
EM: After I graduated from Schiller I joined the French army as mentioned staying more than 18 years. I was quite an atypical member of the army since I was the only one in my units to have a university degree. Having this educational background enabled me to be selected as one of the first female Gendarmes to be deployed overseas for DPKO and work for the United Nations for about 9 years in various countries. A Bachelor of Arts degree, with work experience, or a Master’s degree is now considered one of the main requirements in order to apply for international security jobs. My BA in International Relations and Diplomacy and my English proficiency have always been assets both when I was in the army and in the world of international development: it has helped me succeed at the international level.
SIU: Thank you, Elise! It’s a real pleasure to talk with an alumna who has pursued a career in international settings and whose accomplishments inspire our students today.