The Path to Diplomacy

Political Science major Stanislas Phanord, SSH’14, is a Rangel Fellow and Fulbright Scholar. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Stanislas Phanord, SSH’14, moved from Haiti to Boston’s Mat­tapan neigh­bor­hood when he was three, facing var­ious per­sonal chal­lenges throughout his child­hood and into high school. It was in Northeastern’s Foun­da­tion Yearpro­gram in 2009, how­ever, where Phanord said he dis­cov­ered the con­fi­dence and direc­tion to put him on the path for success.

Phanord, who is set to grad­uate on May 2 with a bachelor’s degree in polit­ical sci­ence , has taken full advan­tage of his North­eastern experience—and his deter­mi­na­tion and hard work have clearly paid off. He was recently named a Rangel Grad­uate Fellow and the recip­ient of a Ful­bright Eng­lish Teaching Assist­ant­ship in France. He is one of only 20 stu­dents to win the Rangel, which aims to pre­pare recip­i­ents for careers in the For­eign Ser­vice, and one of six people in the nation to be awarded the teaching assist­ant­ship. He was rec­og­nized for these achieve­ments at the university’s Aca­d­emic Honors Con­vo­ca­tion on Wednesday.

“Foun­da­tion Year pro­vided me the oppor­tu­nity to improve the skills that I wasn’t able to obtain in high school and pre­pared me for any insti­tu­tion that I was going to attend after­wards,” said Phanord, whose polit­ical sci­ence studies include a con­cen­tra­tion in inter­na­tional and com­par­a­tive politics.

Stanislas Phanord, SSH’14, was recognized at the Academic Honors Convocation on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

The Foun­da­tion Year pro­gram, in Northeastern’s Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies , offers local high school grad­u­ates and stu­dents holding GED com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cates the oppor­tu­nity to earn one full year of col­lege credit in 11 months. Stu­dents take rig­orous freshman level courses, meet weekly with writing and math tutors, and work closely with advisers, career coun­selors, and fac­ulty mem­bers. After com­pleting the pro­gram, they are eli­gible to pursue sev­eral dif­ferent col­lege oppor­tu­ni­ties at North­eastern or another insti­tu­tion. Phanord selected, and was accepted into, Northeastern’s Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties in 2010.

Since then, Phanord has sought a variety of expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties that have put him on track for a career in diplo­macy. In 2012, he spent eight months in Geneva, Switzer­land. The first two were spent on a Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions Pro­gram at the United National Insti­tute for Dis­ar­ma­ment Research, where he con­ducted research into the con­di­tions nec­es­sary for the UN and the Tal­iban in Afghanistan to begin a dis­ar­ma­ment, demo­bi­liza­tion, and rein­te­gra­tion process. Fol­lowing the Dia­logue pro­gram, he con­ducted a six-​​month co-​​op as a research intern at the Geneva Centre for Secu­rity Policy.

Yet Phanord’s global expe­ri­ences at North­eastern were just begin­ning. In 2013, he studied at Al Akhawayn Uni­ver­sity in Ifrane, Morocco, refining his French lan­guage skills and studying North Africa’s polit­ical system. Later that year, he spent two months in France taking inten­sive French lan­guage and cul­ture courses.

Learning about rape laws in Morocco inspired Phanord to pursue oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­duct research in inter­na­tional human rights and secu­rity. It was ulti­mately his work on co-​​op as a human rights vol­un­teer at the local office of the Defense and Pro­mo­tion of Human Rights in Saint-​​Louis, Senegal, oper­ated under Projects Abroad-​​Senegal, that moti­vated him to become a staunch advo­cate for human rights.

In Senegal, he con­ducted research on the rights of the Talibe, Sene­galese chil­dren who are forced to beg on the streets for food and money, which, Phanord explained, is then passed on to their teacher. Based on inter­views Phanord con­ducted with the boys, Quran pro­fes­sors, and NGOs in the area such as Amnesty Inter­na­tional, he com­piled a list of rec­om­men­da­tions to help the chil­dren; that list will be sent in this year’s annual report to the Sen­galese gov­ern­ment.

“Northeastern’s global oppor­tu­ni­ties gave me an edge in seeking out the career I always wanted: to be a diplomat,” Phanord explained. “Had I not been able to get work expe­ri­ence abroad, I would not have been able to prove to the [Rangel Fel­low­ship selec­tion] panel that I was ready or moti­vated to be sworn into the For­eign Service.”

In October, Phanord will begin his Eng­lish teaching assist­ant­ship in France. As part of the Ful­bright, he will spend seven months helping high school teachers improve the vocab­u­lary and con­ver­sa­tion skills of under­priv­i­leged stu­dents. He will also con­duct human rights research on the rela­tion­ship between France and other Fran­cophone countries.

Through the Rangel Fel­low­ship pro­gram, Phanord will receive sup­port for grad­uate school, pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, and entry into the U.S. For­eign Ser­vice. Before trav­eling to France, he will com­plete a three-​​month con­gres­sional intern­ship through the pro­gram, working for mem­bers of Con­gress involved in inter­na­tional affairs. When he returns from France next spring, he will par­tic­i­pate in a 10-​​week intern­ship at a U.S. Embassy over­seas, after which he will begin a master’s pro­gram in public administration.

Upon com­ple­tion of the Rangel Pro­gram, which will take about three years, Phanord will be sworn into the For­eign Ser­vice as a diplomat. “With the Rangel Fel­low­ship, that job is waiting for me,” he said. “I will be a diplomat.”