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The Role of Lifelong Learning and Languages in a Transatlantic Work Context

April 8, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

This panel discusses how young professionals can integrate vital language skills into transatlantic careers! Hear from diplomats, a professor, and an NGO director who use multiple languages in their everyday work.

This panel is organized by “MEET EU: Making Encounters, Engaging Transatlanticists“, an initiative bringing EU-focused content to Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania via three university campuses.

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Headshot of Lisa Arias Rodriguez.
Lisa Arias Rodriguez
Education Advisor of the Embassy of Spain
Lisa Arias is an Education Advisor of the Embassy of Spain stationed at the Consulate General of Spain in Miami since 2019. She graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with a joint major in Spanish and French and holds two master’s degrees from the Universities of Santiago de Compostela and Vigo in Spain in Philology and Advanced Studies in English.

After a lifelong career in teaching at all levels, as well as being a professional development specialist, Lisa has recently taken a new direction in her career, yet always connected to the field of education. In September 2017, Lisa became an Education Advisor for the New York office of the Embassy of Spain. At the Embassy, she promotes diverse educational outreach programs in the United States and Canada with the goal of fostering collaborative educational programs between these countries and Spain, building long lasting ties among their citizens.

Always in the hope of inspiring and empowering individuals to become global citizens through the passionate process of language learning, she is currently the national coordinator of the NALCAP Spain program. Last but never least, she is a proud mother of three.

Headshot of Katrin Gebhard.
Katrin Gebhard
Higher Education Attaché
French Embassy in the United States | New York

After 6 years as an International Relations Officer in major French universities, Katrin has been working since 2018 as Higher Education Attaché for the French Embassy in New York. She is in charge of supporting cooperation efforts within the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area, of developing the Community College in France program and of managing the Thomas Jefferson Fund. Since 2020, she is also strengthening Virtual Exchange programs.
Headshot of Claudio Pastor.
Claudio Pastor
Executive Director | Società Dante Alighieri of Miami
Mr. Pastor is the Executive Director of the Societa’ Dante Alighieri of Miami. As Executive Director of the Societa he provides general oversight of day-to-day operations of one of the premier cultural institutions in the City of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The Societa’ Dante Alighieri Miami is part of the Societa’ Dante Alighieri, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Rome, Italy. It is the oldest and most prestigious institution for the tutelage and promotion of the Italian language and culture. In 2005, the Societa’ Dante Alighieri was recognized with the prestigious Principe de Asturias Award for culture. Through the personal efforts of Mr. Pastor, the Societa’ Dante Alighieri of Miami has fostered and developed deep ties and collaboration with the Consul Generals of Italy, France, Germany and Brazil in Miami. During the last decade, the Societa’ Dante Alighieri Miami and Mr. Pastor personally, have been instrumental in the establishment of branches of the Societa’ in Puerto Rico, Panama, Atlanta, Charleston, and Granada, Spain. Mr. Pastor’s understanding and involvement in the community allows him to forge long standing relationships and innovative programs. In recognition of his efforts, in 2009 Mr. Pastor was granted the title of Cavaliere (OMRI), the highest honor bestowed by the President of the Republic of Italy. Mr. Pastor has been named Honorary Consul of Italy to Puerto Rico.

Headshot of Maida Watson.
Maida Watson, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish | Department of Modern Languages | Florida International University
Dr. Maida Watson is a full professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at Florida International University where she has been Chairperson twice. She has published eight books and over 40 articles in refereed journals and books in the US, Latin America and Europe and l3 dictionary entries on the subjects of l9th Century Latin American literature, Panamanian literature, Teaching Spanish for Business and Latin American Theater. She has won over 21 awards and grants from organizations such as the Kaufman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Italian government, the American Philosophical Society, the Florida Endowment for the Humanities, the Florida Endowment for the Arts, the US Office of Education and the Fulbright Hays program. She is presently working on comparative studies of l9th century Latin American costumbrismo.


Headshot of Markus Thiel.
Markus Thiel
Director, Miami-Florida Jean Monnet Center of Excellence
Associate Professor, Politics & International Relations Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University

Markus Thiel is associate professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University, Miami and director of FIU’s Jean Monnet Center of Excellence. Dr. Thiel’s research interests are the political sociology of the EU and European (Union) Politics more generally, as well as Nationalism & Identity Politics. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 2005 and has published several EU-related articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, his research on the political sociology of the EU produced the monograph, ‘The Limits of Transnationalism’ (Palgrave, 2011), and 5 co-edited volumes on: ‘Diversity and the European Union’ (with Lisa Pruegl, Palgrave, 2009), ‘Identity Politics in the Age of Globalization’ (with Roger Coate, Lynne Rienner/First Forum Press, 2010), ‘European Identity & Culture: Narratives of Transnational Belonging’ (with Rebecca Friedman, Ashgate, 2012), ‘Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations’ (with Manuela Picq, Routledge, 2015) and ‘EU Development Policies between Norms and Geopolitics’ (with Sarah Beringer & Sylvia Maier, Palgrave, 2019). Most recently, he published a book on the linkage of European transnational civil society groups with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency: ‘EU Civil Society and Human Rights Advocacy’ (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). He supervises doctoral students in the areas of EU Politics and International Organizations.

Our 2021-22 European Expert Career Panels aim to help young people identify and prepare themselves for transatlantic careers. The panelists will give advice on differences in EU and US business settings, training and language in a transatlantic workplace, and how to be successful when working in EU-US relations. The Expert Panels are providing a look at EU businesses, EU diplomats, and EU experts for those wishing to pursue a European career. In addition to providing career advice, the panels seek to foster understanding of the EU, its economic impact, and critical issues facing the EU-US relationship.


April 8, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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