January 2012
A Global Flaneur by Jim Teeple ‘76
 

One of the great things about attending any gathering of AUP alumni is seeing how our time in Paris led most of us into careers and lives that span the globe. That was the case more than thirty years ago when I attended ACP, and will no doubt remain true for future generations.

For many of us, studying at ACP/AUP put us on a path to an international career; in my case journalism. For nearly thirty years I have worked at the Voice of America, the U.S. – funded news service that broadcasts in more than 40 languages. I now work as an editor at VOA where I supervise news gathering for internet, radio, and TV reports.

The French I studied at ACP got me sent to Haiti, where I covered two political coups and the associated turmoil that accompanies such events. The courses I took piqued my interest in the conflict between Israeli’s and Palestinians which eventually led to a three-year posting to Jerusalem as VOA’s Mideast Correspondent. I’ve worked in conflict zones ranging from Sri Lanka to Kashmir to Afghanistan to the Palestinian territories. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use what I learned at ACP - and only part of it has to do with what I learned in class.

Two of my classmates were Cambodians who shared with us unbelievable stories, then largely unreported, of atrocities in their tragic land. Another student was preparing to enter the Iraqi Army upon his return – fated to spend the rest of his life in unending war. One was attending ACP to avoid being drafted into the South African army. A Palestinian classmate used to argue passionately with an American student who was planning to immigrate to Israel. A Greek student was on the run from authorities for his involvement in political violence at home. A Turkish woman classmate went on to a career in her country’s diplomatic service.

These were all people who lived the conflicts that have dominated our lives over the past half-century and while I’ve lost touch with most of these people I’ve never forgotten them. Each contributed to forming my awareness of the world. Most students and alumni have this same feeling about AUP; it’s a time and place in their lives when they shared common ground with people their age from all over the world in the most beautiful city in the world. It’s an incredibly valuable experience that few get to have and it is one that resonates for the rest of our lives. In Paris we all become global flaneurs.


For nearly 30 years, Jim Teeple ’76 has been a correspondent, news anchor, and producer for the Voice of America; a US funded broadcasting service in more than 40 languages. His last overseas assignment was in Jerusalem and he has been a VOA correspondent in New Delhi, Miami and Washington D.C. After studying at AUP, Jim graduated from American University in Washington D.C. He can be contacted at jlteeple@hotmail.com or at jteeple@voanews.com

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