Faculty & Staff Abroad
The IAU team is comprised of a group of faculty, staff, and administrators dedicated to the success of students in all aspects of study abroad.
Fleur Arella has been the Student Life Coordinator since 2023. Currently, she oversees student housing, from homestays to residence apartments. She previously worked as an Administrative Assistant in 2010 and 2012. Fleur has experience as a Sales Manager for a medical device firm, as well as an administrative assistant in the environmental technology and education sectors. From 1999-2003 she worked in the tourism sector in the United Kingdom. She holds a Licence (B.A.) in tourism law and economics from Aix-Marseille University. She speaks fluent French and English and is proficient in Italian.
Raquel Ballester Ibañez is the Head of Administration and Homestays as well as Centre Manager at the IAU Barcelona Center since 2017. Her tasks include but are not limited to finances, administration and center management. She also assists with Academic Affairs and is in charge of managing Instituto Cervantes’ official exams. Previously she worked as Center Manager at a children’s school. She is currently taking a Management Assistance course. She speaks Catalan and Spanish and understands English very well.
Philip Breeden is the interim Dean for the School of Business and International Relations. He was previously the inaugural Vice President of Administration. He joined IAU in 2015, teaching international relations and U.S. Foreign Policy. Previously, as a senior American diplomat, he spent almost three decades in the United States Foreign Service creating and directing communication, cultural and educational exchange programs in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He also served as the U.S. Consul General in Marseille. As a diplomat Mr. Breeden received numerous awards including a Superior Honor Award for his public diplomacy efforts in Tunisia, the Palmes Académiques for his work with high schools in France, and the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and a M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He speaks French, Arabic and Turkish.
Mais Chaban (Barcelona)
Mais Chaban is the Associated Academic Coordinator of IAU's Barcelona campus. Originally from the beautiful land of Syria, she has taken her journey from the bustling streets of Dubai to the lively vibes of Barcelona, where she currently calls it home. Her academic background is all about English Literature. She's passionate about the written word and the worlds it can unlock. Before stepping into the world of academic coordination, she had an exciting career as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. Speaking of languages, Arabic is her mother tongue, but she's equally fluent in English and Spanish.
Nour-Eddine Chabba has been a custodian at IAU since 2016. He provides maintenance support for IAU buildings and programs, helps ensure the physical plant is functional and secure, and provides event support. He has a background in construction. He speaks Arabic and French.
Nina Chauvin has been a receptionist and administrative assistant at IAU since September 2016, and began working at IAU as a part-time receptionist in 2014. In 2022 she became the accounting assistant and assistant coordinator of student services focusing on excursions and student visas. She holds a Licence (B.A.) and M.A. in Anthropology (focused on sustainable development and humanitarian activity in Aix-en-Provence) from Aix-Marseille University, and an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from the University of Barcelona. She speaks English, Spanish, and French.
Dr. Muriel Cros is a linguist, a teacher, and a poet. She joined IAU in 1996 as a professor of French Language and Literature. In 2012, she became Chair of the French Department and Director of the French Honors Program and Summer French Teachers Workshop and in 2014 she became an Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. During her many years of teaching experience within IAU and in prestigious French and American institutions of higher education, including Harvard and Vanderbilt University, Dr. Cros created many multidisciplinary courses and programs such as “Crossing Spaces in the Intercultural Contexts”, “Dialogue between French and Francophone Literature” and “France as seen through its Movies”. She earned a Masters in Literature, Aix-Marseille I University (1981), a Ph.D. in Linguistics in Aix-Marseille I University (1986) dealing with the relations between Poetic Patterns and the Acquisition of Language by Children, and a second one at the University of Montpellier III (1994). She was only the second linguist in France hired by the French Government for a national public health research program evaluating Discourses of Prevention towards young people. Dr. Cros’ research and publications have focused on Discourse Analysis (conceptualization of the language used in Public Health) and now on Plurilinguism and Multiliteracies (Creative Approaches and Language Learning). Dr. Cros is also an accomplished poet and visual artist. Her sculptural work explores themes relating to words and space and has been published and exhibited internationally. She is fluent in French and English, and speaks some German.
O’Neill Cushman is an artist and educator based in France. An IAU alumnus, he joined the Marchutz Program of Fine Arts faculty in 2016, after three years as a resident alumni fellow. He teaches drawing and painting, art history, and art criticism. He also acts as the program’s artistic studies coordinator. O’Neill’s art practice focuses on the visible world, primarily in oil paint. Painting mainly landscapes and still-lifes, his vision is driven by a curiosity as to the relationship between perceivable phenomena and their effect on the interior landscape. He has shown his work in private and public art spaces in France, Germany, and the United States. His art historical interest is primarily 19th century French Impressionism and the personal artistic development of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. O'Neill received a B.A. in Philosophy from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and an interdisciplinary MFA from Plymouth University’s TransArt Institute in New York City and Berlin. He is fluent in French and English.
Chloé Dhalluin has been Student Life Assistant since January 2023. Her role is to help students integrate in their new lives in Aix such as aide with medical visits, transportation and safety. She oversees the student life activities and aides with housing. Chloé received her Bachelor's in media arts with minors in French and broadcasting at California State University, Chico. She studied abroad in Lyon, France and later returned to France to teach English with TAPIF in 2018-2020. She has worked in the tourism sector throughout France. She speaks fluent French and English.
Dr. Guillaume Durand has been a professor of archaeology and art history since 2002, an Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences since 2014 and leads a January term Traveling Seminar on Mediterranean Civilizations. Prof. Durand completed a Master's of Art History and Archaeology on Byzantine Studies and a Ph.D. in Romanian History at the Université de Provence. He completed in 2014 a three-year post-doctorate program funded by the European Union and under the aegis of the Romanian Academy (Bucharest) and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He has published two books and several articles in French academic reviews (Cahier des Etudes Romanes, Turcica) and in Romania (Historical Yearbook, Annals of the Spiru Haret University). Professor Durand participates regularly in international conferences in France and throughout Europe and maintains active involvement and oversight of local, regional, and national archaeological excavations. He speaks French, English, Romanian, and Greek.
Dr. Aurore Guitry is the Coordinator, Center for French Studies since 2022. She is a writer, translator, and Professor of literature, French and translation at ACM since 2016. She holds a Master in Literature (Women and imagination in Shakespeare’s plays: King Lear, Richard III and Macbeth), and a PhD in creative writing from Aix-Marseille University. She has written six novels, some of which are translated into Italian, German and Russian. Her work and research explores the problem of identity and the relation between text and image. As a ghostwriter, she wrote several biographies for politicians or business figures. She has also translated a dozen American novels, biographies, art books, etc. She is fluent in French and English and speaks Thai.
Xavier Henry has been the information technology and telecommunications systems manager since 2016 and advised on IT matters since 2001. Prior to this he worked as an auditor for BNP Paribas before joining the Institute for Business Research at the Lyon Business School (l’Institut de Recherche de l’Entreprise de l'Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Lyon) where he participated in a number of industrial marketing studies and developed a new approach to the financial analysis of the 40 largest French companies. After receiving a (Maîtrise) in Applied Economics (1984) from Aix Marseille University, he completed an International MBA (1986) from the ISG Business School (Institut Supérieur de Gestion), then a DESS (post-Masters) degree in Financial Risk Management (1992) from the Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management (IAE Aix). He is an airplane pilot, having received his Private Pilot License in 2003. He speaks French and English.
Kay Hernandez Figueras is the Coordinator of Academics and internships at the IAU Barcelona Center since 2022. Previously she worked in different schools and language academies as a teacher and coordinator. She has also worked as a project manager and coordinator for different private clients as well as in a performing arts production company. Kay holds a master's degree in Cultural Production and communication from the Blanquerna University and a degree in Musical Theatre from Institute of the Arts Barcelona. She speaks Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese and English fluently.
Dr. Garett Heysel, previous member of IAU’s Council of Academic Advisors, became ACM’s inaugural Provost in September 2022. In addition, Heysel is a Professor of French and serves as ACM’s Senior International Officer (SIO). He completed his undergraduate education in French, International Political Science & Economics at Middlebury College and studied at the Ecole Française de Middlebury in Paris. Before earning his MA in French at Northwestern in 1992, Heysel worked in finance and accounting in Boston and Chicago. Dr Heysel completed his PhD at The Ohio State University in 1997 and taught French at Connecticut College, Utah State University, and Lycoming College where he earned tenure and served as Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. In 2006, Heysel returned to Ohio State, first as Senior Associate Director at the University Honors & Scholars Center, then Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. From 1994 to 2006, Heysel served as Dean at Lac du Bois, Concordia Language Villages French language and culture immersion program. In 2020, Heysel was appointed Associate Dean at Emory University where he directed the Office of International and Summer Programs. His research interests span 19th and 20th-Century French Literature and Culture, the avant-garde, and queer studies. His publications have appeared in the Modern Language Association and Contemporary French Civilization, Stanford University Press, and Le Figaro and has presented in several countries. Active in AIEA, he has recently presented on DEI-focused program design and leadership at the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Diversity Abroad, NAFSA. Heysel is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and has studied Spanish and Italian.
Professor Jamaï’s professional career spans the business sectors of finance, economics, and journalism. As a professor, He teaches Media & Conflict, Contemporary Politics of The Middle East and International Business. He was the Dean of the School of Business and International Relations from 2014 to 2023. Professor Jamaï began his career in finance, co-founding Morocco's first independent investment bank in 1993. From 1997 to 2007, Jamaï was the publisher and editor the leading Moroccan newsweekly, Le Journal Hebdomadaire. In 2008, he was a visiting Scholar at the University of San Diego where he taught courses on International Journalism, Political Islam and Politics in The Middle East.
He was the MENA regional editor for the Open Society Foundation’s project: Mapping Digital Media. He also worked in Iraq as a consultant with International Media Support (IMS) advising independent Iraqi media on their business strategies. From 2010 to 2013, he was the co-editor of the Moroccan news website lakome.com. He publishes regularly in The New York Times, Time Magazine, El Pais, Le Monde, and Le Monde Diplomatique.
Among the many prizes and distinctions he has received, Professor Jamaï won the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award in 2003. He was named Harvard University’s Nieman Fellow in 2007 and Mason Fellow in 2008. In 2008, he also received the Tully Center Free Speech Prize, Newhouse School of Communication, Syracuse University. In December 2010, he won the Gebran Tueni Award, the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
In 2014, he won the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) Leaders For Democracy Award. He was a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Bosch foundation in 2013. Professor Jamaï holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Higher Institute of Commerce and Management in Casablanca, Morocco, a Master of Business Administration from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He speaks Arabic, French, English and Spanish.
Dr. Yumna Masarwa is an art historian and an archaeologist. She has been the Director of the ACM Art School since 2021. She joined IAU in September 2013, where she teaches Muslim Presence in Europe, The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Islamic Art in Europe, Medieval Art and Architecture, and Crossroads in European Art. She has taught at several academic institutions such as Princeton University, INALCO Paris (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales), The New School: Parsons Paris, CIEE Paris (Council on International Educational Exchange), and the Paris College of Art. Dr. Masarwa has a B.A. in Archaeology and History from Ben-Gurion University (Israel), and M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University. Her research focuses on combining medieval primary sources with material culture. She speaks Arabic, Hebrew, English, and French.
Catherine Mezan began work as an administrative assistant in 2023, focused on Library, Textbook and academic resource coordination, work-study and administrative requirements. She worked for several years as a Librarian, Journalist, and in Communications in France. She has a Master of Science and a Master of Business Administration. She speaks French, English and German.
Kristin Mylander-Ouerfelli is the Chief Operations Officer and Director of Finance and Administration, overseeing finances and personnel. She began her career at IAU in 1990. She was previously Registrar, and Chief Financial Officer. She is an alumna of IAU, having studied at the Centre d’Aix for the acadmic year 1986-87. She received a B.A. in Math and French from Wake Forest University. She is fluent in English and French.
Melanie Petot began work as an administrative assistant in 2022, focused on aiding students with work-study, excursions and administrative requirements. In 2023 she became the assistant coordinator of site logistics. She worked for several years in the tourism industry in France. She has a Licence (B.A.) in Geography from Aix-Marseille University and a Licence (B.A.) in Business from ESCAET. She speaks French and English.
Dr. Ignasi Pérez has been IAU Barcelona Center Director since 2016 and ACM Spain Director since 2021. He holds a degree in Sociology from University of Barcelona and a PhD in Political Science from UB with European honors from University of Florence (Italy). He is also a member of GRAPA (Group of Research and Analysis of Public and Comparative Public Administration) since 2012. His areas of research are Comparative Politics, Political Sociology, Political Economy and Cultural Anthropology. He has taught in Italy (Università degli study di Firenze and University of Sassari) and in Spain for University of Barcelona, Universitat Abad Oliva, and European University. In the last 12 years he has taught for different Study Abroad programs such as IES Abroad, CEA Study Abroad and Barcelona International College. He is fluent in Spanish, Catalan, English and Italian.
Valerie Runfola began work at IAU as an administrative assistant in 2015, focused on aiding students with work-study, excursions and administrative requirements. In 2018 she became the Registrar. She worked for several years in the tourism industry in France and abroad, and for an American IT company in Ireland. She has a Licence (B.A.) in English and a M.A. (Master 1) in Teaching English from Aix-Marseille University. She speaks French, English and Italian and some German and Japanese.
Pascale Schaaf is the Assistant Dean of the School of Business and International Relations. She has been a French professor since 2008, the Coordinator of Internships since 2010 before becoming the Assistant Dean in 2022. She teaches advanced and business French, and recruits companies for student internships. She organizes conferences and partnerships between business students and other institutions and supervises all student internship projects. Prior to this, Pascale taught French at Aix-Marseille Law School and the Institute for Politics – Aix-en-Provence and in Germany at Wiesbadener Fachhoschule and in private industry. Pascale has a DEUG (Bachelors 2) from the University of Strasbourg and a Maitrise (Master) in German from Aix-Marseille University. Pascale speaks French, English and German.
Dr. Leigh Smith is the Vice President of Student Affairs, a position created in August 2022. He was previously Dean of the College and Academic Director from April 2011 to August 2022. He has taught courses in literature and French culture since 2005 prior to becoming the Academic Director after serving as interim director of The Aix Center over the 2008-2009 academic year. He continues to teach Comparative Literature and leads a January Term Traveling Seminar: Great Cities of Europe. Dr. Smith’s research has largely focused on the Twentieth-century European novel, and he is currently tracing the novelistic representation of the European city. Dr. Smith has extensive study abroad experience, beginning in 1998 when he worked in the University of North Carolina’s Paris program while still a graduate student. He has taught at the Université de Paul Cézanne and at Aix-Marseille University and has worked with other study abroad programs in France. He has a B.A. from Auburn University and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He speaks French, Italian, and German.
Hakima Thomas has been the Assistant Director of Administration and Accounting since 2008. She has served in various roles, notably as Secretary to the President. Hakima first came to IAU as an intern in 2003. She has a DEUG (B.A.) in English Literature and Civilization from the University of Avignon, and a BTS Certificate in Bilingual Office Support. She speaks English and French.
Anthony Triolo has been a professor since 2005 and the ACM Wine Studies Coordinator since 2022. He teaches International Relations, Environmental Politics and Eco-gastronomy. His scholarly interests center on the relationship between international security and the global environmental crisis with a particular focus on sustainable agriculture. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has several years’ experience managing sustainable/organic vineyards and making wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA of California. He received a Bachelor’s degree (Summa Cum Laude) in International Affairs from the American University of Paris, a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Université Paul Valery III, Montpellier in conjunction with the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France. He holds a WSET 3 Wines Certification and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Diplomacy at Euclid University. He speaks English and French.
Valeria Vasquez (Barcelona)
Valeria Vasquez is the Housing Coordinator for IAU's Barcelona campus. Her tasks consist of planning, organizing and providing the best quality of accommodation for students, negotiations with vendors, managing of the maintenance team, daily follow up of students' needs, among others. Originally from Colombia she has lived more than half of her life in Spain. In her previous job as a coordinator and airline agent for American Airlines, she fulfilled the functions of organization and, above all, aeronautical and airport security. She speaks Spanish, Catalan and English.