Astrid LAVILLE, Class of 2021
Astrid LAVILLE, Class of 2021
- Astrid Laville, Graduated from the Master in Policital Science (2021)
Graduated from the Master in Policital Science, Programme in International Relations
Can you tell us about your academic background?
After obtaining my baccalaureate in 2016, I enrolled in “B/L” (Literature and Social Sciences) preparatory classes in Lille. Over a two-year period, I was able to develop my knowledge of history, sociology, and economics, while pursuing my interest in philosophy, literature, and languages. Those two years were probably the richest of my university career, when I felt I discovered and learned the most. However, I have always been attracted to international relations, and I chose to study political science at Panthéon Sorbonne University.
From the first semester of the third year of my degree, I knew I had made the right choice! I took courses on the workings of the European Union and on the history of the international system. The latter course absolutely fascinated me, especially as it informed me about the main currents of opinion in international relations. My interest in theory led me to apply for the Master’s in Political Science, specialising in International Relations, at the School of Research. Although I did not yet have a fully defined career plan, I knew that I wanted to discover the world of research.
What did your years of study at the Sciences Po School of Research (formerly the Doctoral School) bring you?
This answer may seem a bit obvious, but first and foremost I learned how to conduct research, i.e. how to build a project, how to choose and implement research methods, and how to draw conclusions by analysing the results. The School of Research teaches students to combine curiosity and caution: conducting rigorous research implies looking beyond one’s preconceived ideas, questioning one's own biases, accepting criticism and self-questioning.
Research training enables students to specialise in their chosen subject while keeping an open mind, because of the diversity of the courses. It also sharpened my critical thinking skills.
Which teacher or teaching has had the greatest impact on you?
Without hesitation: Frédéric Ramel, my thesis supervisor. First of all, he’s an excellent teacher who knows how to make his classes exciting. Secondly, he was very approachable, and we regularly discussed the progress of my work. He advised me on methodology, and encouraged me to learn about certain concepts or to read certain books. I particularly remember discovering through him the work of Baptiste Morizot, a specialist in the philosophy of living beings. This was not at all related to my subject, which was diplomacy. However, one of his books completely fascinated me and I used it to contribute to my thought process. That was his influence on me: he pushed students to cut across disciplines and perspectives to produce original thinking.
What is your current role?
After officially completing my Master's degree, I did an internship at the Paris Peace Forum as a Public and Diplomatic Relations Assistant. I was involved in managing relations between the Forum’s Permanent Secretariat and the embassies and official events in Paris, with the aim of negotiating and organising the participation of heads of state, government and international organisations in the Forum’s annual event. I now hold the position of Public Relations Officer.
How has your education contributed to the position you hold today?
The position I hold today is directly related to my research topic. In fact, I had chosen to specialise in summit diplomacy, and the Paris Peace Forum was one of my case studies. I conducted two interviews with members of the Forum Secretariat in the winter of 2021. The knowledge I gained about foreign policy and the summit meetings organised by France was useful in helping me adapt quickly to the workings of the Forum Secretariat.
What advice would you give to a student wanting to go into your current field?
Firstly, choose your research topic carefully: it allows you to network with professionals or specialists in the field you are interested in, or even to do an internship. Don't hesitate to ask your teachers for help with this - they are usually very amenable to helping you. Secondly, seize every opportunity that comes your way: involvement in an association, writing articles, internships during the summer when possible. This will allow you to meet people from a variety of backgrounds and learn new skills. Finally, persevere, especially in these times of Covid-19! Everyone’s pathway is unique, and there are many ways of getting a foot in the door.
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[ February 2022 ]