Archive for the ‘Going Beyond the Classroom’ Category

15
Apr

Written by Meghan O´Farrell, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake 

No other individual embodies IE’s philosophy towards cultivating a truly international educational experience more than economics Professor Gonzalo Garland. His father’s family is English in origin but has called Peru home for centuries. His mother was born to a Spanish mother and a German father who emigrated from Spain to Peru in the 1930s during the war. This vibrant background, combined with his strong Peruvian roots, gives Professor Garland not only a unique perspective in his discipline, but allows him to relate to IE’s diverse student body in a way few others can.

As a young boy, Gonzalo began his education at a Canadian Catholic school. His worldly family, in addition to his parents’ foresight and his father’s years studying in the United States, served as the impetus for Gonzalo’s and his 6 sibling’s English training, most of whom have stayed in Peru. He, along with his sister who practices medicine at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., are the only two who have chosen to leave home. But as he mentioned, Gonzalo left one home only to move to another here in Spain. Years spent as a child visiting family in Madrid gave him the comforting sense of a homecoming when he came more than 20 years ago.

While preparing for university in Peru, each prospective student must pass an examination, similar to the SAT. At 16, Gonzalo underwent preparatory classes at an academy in the months preceding the exam and received the highest mark in the country. His impressive performance earned him a position teaching at the same academy where he had been a student only months earlier. “I’m naturally quite shy,” said Gonzalo, “and the first day I was trembling like a leaf, but teaching helped me come out of my shell.”

After university, Gonzalo spent 7 years in the United States, first studying a Master degree at Stanford University and, later, switching coasts to attend the University of Pennsylvania for a PhD in economics. The formal economic training at these prestigious American universities was elegant yet heavy on theory and the abstract. Gonzalo mentioned several times the important role theory plays in economics, yet what truly calls him to the field is the transformative nature from theory to reality and seeing the application and impact economic theory has in practice.

Two very different economic narratives exist in Peru and the United States. Gonzalo grew up during a military dictatorship with crisis wreaking havoc in Latin America in the 1980s. Poverty, inequality, inflation and political unrest plagued these countries, and Gonzalo was failing to see how his theoretical American training was relevant for his country. He was eager to make the connection between the theory and the policy, the abstract and the concrete, and to emphasize that in his classroom.

At times, Professor Garland admits being torn by his decision to leave his home country. “Being in Spain for as long as I have, I sometimes feel guilty for being away from Peru for so long and neglecting, to some extent, my roots and my people.” But Gonzalo’s illustrious career at IE, playing a formative role in this institution’s story, has allowed him to reach an international student body and pass on his message of inequality, poverty, and the economic tools needed to eradicate both. “Spain has been great, but IE has been extraordinary. Through teaching, I’ve passed on a message to people from all corners of the world who, one day, will be very influential,” said Gonzalo. By making a life for himself outside of Peru, he may be doing more than he ever imagined for his own country, as well as other emerging economies, by preparing individuals today who will be guiding those countries tomorrow.

The Beyond the Classroom series is a monthly installment on our blog where a current Academic Fellow for the Master in International Relations shares with us insights into current MIR professors and faculty. The scope of this series is to see our diverse faculty in a different light away from the classroom, highlighting aspects of their rich personal lives and experiences.

You can read all the articles here

20
Mar

Written by Meghan O´Farrell, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake 

2. Mario Esteban

For IE Professor and China expert Mario Esteban, moving to the other end of the world is eventually what led him right back home. What started as an interest in China and Chinese culture grew into something much bigger and took him places, both literally and figuratively, few Spaniards have been. He has since emerged as one of Spain’s leading China experts with a mastery of the language and unique cultural and political perspective of the rising global powerhouse, granting him the opportunity to introduce Spain, the country he calls home, to China, the country he grew to love.

Mario was raised in Getafe, on the outskirts of Spain’s capital city, in a house only 5 minutes away from where he currently lives with his wife and children, ages 2 and 5. His family was working class- his mother was a housewife and his father was a blue-collar worker in the Airbus factory. 25 years ago, a sizeable Chinese population had yet to take root in Spain. However, he traces his interest in China back to his childhood precisely when China was just a place most Spaniards read about in books. Like so many other children, Mario practiced martial arts and became intrigued by Asian culture. He also befriended a young Chinese boy who sat next to him in primary school, exposing Mario to his first brush with Chinese culture when going to play at his friend’s house.

As a junior in high school, Mario found his way to Middlebury College in Vermont on a French language scholarship. But 10 days alone in New York City made it very clear that, although a strong Chinese presence hadn’t quite yet arrived to Spain, Chinese people were numerous and thriving in other major cities around the world. “I got the feeling that the Chinese were on their way to Spain. This was a huge window of opportunity to merge teaching and research with Chinese culture. First it was an interest, then it became a career move. So as soon as I got back to Madrid, I started learning Mandarin.”

Read more…

27
Jan

Written by Meghan O´Farrell, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake 

His ‘andalú’ accent was lost a long time ago somewhere in the mix between Galicia, Boston, and Berkeley. But a southern Spanish accent wasn’t the only thing noticeably absent from my hour-long chat with IE Professor José Ramón Montero. While many with his CV and long list of accomplishments could very easily possess an air of narcissism, Professor Montero has none at all. He still admits that his nerves creep up before each class as he lectures to a group of new students, who grow increasingly smart and mature with each passing year according to him. But as one of Spain’s leading political scientists and with the credentials that he boasts, there’s no one more capable or deserving to be front and center in the classroom. We all owe it to ourselves, as part of the IE family and students of international relations, to get to know this man a little better. (Sneak peak: Professor Montero was current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s law professor at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela).

1. Jose Ramon Montero

His roots

Prof. Montero was born in Cádiz yet hails from conservative Castillian roots. Both his parents had careers in civil service and, like many during the mid-20th century, migrated from Madrid to Andalucía during a wave of economic development in Spain’s southern region. His mother worked in the Ministerio de Hacienda (Treasury Department) and his father was a marketing expert in car sales.

On his education

As a child growing up against the backdrop of the Franco regime, the option of pursuing social sciences was nonexistent during the heyday of the fascist dictator. Heeding the recommendation of his parents, he attended the Universidad de Granada. There he studied law, although a bit reluctantly he adds, and met his wife who also moved from Cádiz to Granada to pursue her studies in biology.

They later moved to Santiago de Compostela where Prof. Montero completed a PhD in law studying democratic regimes and the failure of the Second Spanish Republic. He started a professional, peaceful anti-Franco movement on the conservative Santiago campus only later to be wrongly accused of orchestrating a more violent, subversive student movement when many of his pupils adopted more extreme measures. Here he met his mentor, Juan Linz, and studied under his tutelage which profoundly influenced his political thought and professional trajectory. Read more…

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