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Global Alumni Weekend 2017

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From May 19 - 22, 2017, AUP’s past, present, and future came together during a lively and thought-provoking Global Alumni Weekend, which included tours around AUP’s newly consolidated campus, the annual boat party, the 55th Anniversary Soirée and the launch of the AUP Ascending campaign. As alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered to share stories, reunite with friends, and discuss AUP’s achievements and aspirations, it was clear that everyone felt linked by their devotion to AUP and their determination to see it grow and further its important mission in an ever-more-globalized world.

If you would like to see more photos of the weekend please take a look at our album.

One of the weekend’s highlights was the “Then & Now” panel, where four alumni—Jeffrey Durgee (’64), Michael Morgan (’85), Sultan Al-Qassemi (’98), Kristina Keenan (’0), and one student, Amelia Harvey (’18)—recounted their AUP experiences, what they had learned, where they had gone, and where they were going. Durgee, now a professor of sociology, compared the school in its early days to a startup. “We were 160 students, almost all American. They sat us down and told us, we have no reputation, we have no accreditation: you’re on your own.” He and his classmates formed a tight-knit group, as they observed the inception of AUP’s cultural program and the end of the Algerian War. “Our Dean [Lloyd DeLamater, AUP founder] would have been so happy to see what his dream has become today.” As for Morgan, now Executive Managing Director of Burnham Sterling & Company LLC, he’d wanted to get as far away as he could from his small town in Pennsylvania. “I had never been to France before but I knew that the world was going to become a global place.” Al-Qassemi recalled the combination of 50th anniversary World War II celebrations with city-wide terrorist attacks. “And yet, I remember it all as a beautiful time. And I think when today’s students come back in 20 years, they too will only remember the wonderful moments.” Keenan, now AUP’s Manager of Regular Giving, discussed the shock of leaving the US military, where she’d served for six years, for civilian life in Paris. “I saw that I could and needed to be challenged in my American perspective.” Harvey discussed the profound effect AUP’s response to the November, 2015 terrorist attacks had had on her. “Seeing how the administration and student leaders came together made me love the school even more—I wanted to give AUP everything I had.”

Another standout event was AUP’s Knowledge Festival, which focused on the question of democracy today and was moderated by Professor Peter Hägel, who along with Professor Stephen Sawyer co-teaches the Democracy Lab which encourages student democratic engagement. “We believe that democracy is a practice and needs to be much more ingrained into our daily lives.” The panel’s speakers—Nelly Corbel (’05/’08), Patricia del Favero Campbell (’79), and Carey Kluttz (’09)—have dedicated their careers to promoting the democratic throughout the world. Kluttz, now Senior Program Manager with the Open Contracting Partnership, discussed her team’s efforts to improve government transparency. “We focus on how governments spend their money and make sure that civil society has a voice within that.” Campbell, a Lead Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton in Stuttgart, Germany, examined the role of defense institutions as safeguards against threats to stability and sustainability. “The military can really be a tool to support and build democracies, especially in countries that are new to the concept.” For Corbel, founding executive director of Global Civic Consulting, co-founder of the Lazord Foundation and a member of the Networking Arab Civic Education founding committee, her entire career is founded on the idea that democracy is a culture that must be spread throughout society. “We often talk about democracy in a very politically-oriented manner, but it’s actually a way in which we can live together and cooperate.”

With these and the many other events offered throughout the weekend, AUP’s community displayed its commitment to change and its understanding of how the evolution of the school mirrors the changes, big and small, occurring all over the world. As Marc Montheard, Vice President and Dean of Student Services noted before the Then & Now Panel, “These 55 years haven’t really been a transition; they’ve been life, happening to all of us, together and individually.”