A man on a "learning journey"
On 1 September this year, Jean-Paul Clément became the new Director of the ITER International School in Manosque. With more than 200 children from 21 nations, and 65 teachers from ten countries, his charge as Director is not strictly academic. "What we need here is a cross-cultural approach to education in which we respect and celebrate the diversities of this multicultural community instead of its differences."
But for someone like Jean-Paul Clément, who has seen a good share of the world and who has worked in such exotic places as Madagascar and Australia, diversity is the spice of life: "So far, my professional career has been a learning journey."
Recently graduated from university, Jean-Paul Clément went to Berlin, Germany, where he stayed for one year teaching German to primary and junior high school children. After that he took a short side-step into administration at the Conseil d'éducation. "Then, at the age of 31, I decided to become a school principal." And he did! First as a deputy in Brignoles, then as the principal of a school in Nice. "This was not officially an International School," Clément says, "but it was very multi-cultural. In order to be able to communicate with the pupils we had to employ a mediator."
From Nice his "learning journey" led him to Madagascar where he worked in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for four years steering the education cooperation between France and Madagascar. "My job was to implement a sense of responsibility in both students and teachers in order to empower themselves." In 2006, Clément moved Down Under, to Canberra, Australia, where he stayed for two years before coming back to France to take over responsibility for the International School.
After his first three months on the job he is still thrilled, unfazed by the complexity of the project. "With this school we are writing a new page in international education. We are setting new standards."
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