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Jean-Baptiste Matton G'15

"I was struck by the extremely high quality of our professors"

I was born in France and joined the French army in 1997. I’ve moved eight times since then, including to French Guyana, where my family spent two intense years in one of the most beautiful locations in France. I’ve also been deployed on many occasions, to places like the Balkans and Afghanistan. 

I decided to apply to AUP’s MA program in International Affairs after I’d graduated from the military staff course at the Ecole de Guerre. I wanted to take a break from the military and widen my vision of geopolitics, while participating in a demanding American educational experience and a multicultural environment. I have to give especial thanks to Professor Susan Perry for her tireless guidance, as she helped me find classes that best corresponded to what I wanted to learn and achieve, including Professor Philip Golub’s “Philosophical Theory of International Relations”, Professor Ziad Majed’s “Conflicts in the Middle East”, and a module taught by Sean Casey, an amazing AUP alumnus who works with the International Medical Corps, called “NGO Finance Management”.  

This program was the first (and maybe the last) time I was immersed in a fully civilian and totally diverse group of people.

Jean-Baptiste Matton

I was struck by the extremely high quality of our professors, who were always available to speak with us, the richness of the classes, and the mix of profiles among the students. While my core courses gave me an in-depth understanding of International Affairs, and the opportunity to observe my career from a global perspective, I was also able to explore other academic interests, including political philosophy with Professor Cynthia Fleury and Arabic. Being at AUP was an extraordinary experience.   

I still keep in touch with my professors and treasure my friendships with the inspiring people I met here, including a friend who helped me submit my thesis while I was deployed in Mali and had limited Internet access. This program was the first (and maybe the last) time I was immersed in a fully civilian and totally diverse group of people. I was the only French student, the only person in the military, and one of the oldest participants in the program and I felt that each of us drew from our singular backgrounds to provide lessons in life and learning to the others.  

I now work in the Paris headquarters of the French armed forces as a military assistant to the general who advises the Chief-of-Staff on issues of military international affairs. It’s an exciting job for which I rely on the skills that I acquired and developed at AUP almost every day.  

I’d like to end with one of my favorite AUP memories. We’d put together a student review group to prepare for exams and had all become friends. On a day that we didn’t have an exam, I brought some French cheese and wine, and we stayed late, eating, and talking about what we’d learned, where we’d come from, and what we hoped to do next. I hope we’ll all meet again soon.