By Corentine Chaillet, American Graduate School in Paris
The seventh annual Graduate Student Conference on "The Roles and Challenges of Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Inclusion and Exclusion in a Globalized World" was a roaring success in Paris on April 19-20. For two days, the American Graduate School premises were filled with the diverse voices, tones, accents and debates of innovative ideas from scholars, diplomats, academics, journalists and students.
Panelists included students from the world over—Norway, Canada, South Africa, India, the United States, Russia, Spain, Australia, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Venezuela, Belgium, and France—who presented their research on the subject of diplomacy. Additionally, keynote panelists, selected career diplomats from the United States, Lebanon, Germany, and Switzerland animated the two-day event with their cumulative 130 years of experience in the practice of diplomacy.
Conference planning involved choosing a theme for the conference, writing and dispatching the call for papers, reviewing and selecting papers for the conference, sending acceptance letters, creating a program and brain-storming panels, making a brochure, fund-raising for the event, planning the booking of the auditoriums, catering orders, helping with housing and travel arrangements and last but not the least in a long list of details, playing cheer-leader to motivate other students to join the festivities as volunteers.
The ever-smiling, charming and eternally pleasant face behind the success of the two days was the student conference coordinator 2012, Ryan Godfrey (Class of 2012), an Arcadia University and AGS dual master's candidate. Without the high level of commitment, perfectionism and organization from Ryan, this conference would not have been the same. Ryan worked as a dynamic team with Professor Ruchi Anand, the faculty conference coordinator who first started AGS conferences in 2006 who said, “Ryan has by far been the most outstanding student conference coordinator that I have ever had. He dedicated a lot of time to the conference planning and never once complained. His simultaneous sense of humor and duty made him a perfect co-worker and manager.”
Professor Anand added, “Ryan was the anchor that pulled the various conference planning tasks together and often went beyond his call of duty to complete tasks that others would slack off on. A very popular student at AGS, Ryan was the Energizer bunny behind this meticulously planned conference, juggling his responsibilities as conference coordinator with being an exemplar student in classes and simultaneous writing his M.A. thesis at AGS.” Professor Anand would ask Ryan musingly, “How many hours do you have in a day, Ryan? I have 24 but you seem to have more considering all that you get done—Bravo.”
The faculty, staff and students of the American Graduate School in Paris and the AGS faculty conference coordinator, Professor Ruchi Anand, applaud Ryan Godfrey’s role in planning this very important academic and PR event. We can only hope that Ryan Godfrey will inspire other students to pick up his legacy and keep the flame alive and burning. We wish Ryan the best of luck in all his future endeavors and know that he will go far in life with all the skills and wisdom he has on his young shoulders.