A very special ambassador

@Roberto Arribas

Marc Alexandre Rimond, a student at IE University, participates in the Organization of World Heritage Cities’ (OWHC) Youth Ambassadors Program.

Marc Alexandre Rimond, at the Convent of Santa Cruz La Real campus.

It’s not every day that a young twenty-year-old man receives the title of ambassador. Marc Alexandre Rimond did not study diplomacy, nor has he been appointed to represent a country abroad and defend its interests from the desk of a luxurious embassy. Rather, this appointment deals more with the second meaning of “ambassador,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “an authorized representative or messenger.” And Marc happens to be quite a special messenger; he is the new IE University Youth Ambassador for Segovia, which was declared a World Heritage City in 1985.

Thanks to the City Hall’s collaboration with IE University under the framework of the Youth Ambassadors OWHC program, Marc shares his experience as a student in Segovia and unveils the city’s wealth of local heritage and cultural activities on a blog: https://jovenesembajadoresdesegovia.com.

In essence, the mission of this French student, who is studying the Bachelor in Politics, Law, and Economics at IE University, is to act as a link between the city of Segovia and IE University campus. Additionally, during the years he spends in the Castilian city, Marc Alexandre will share with his peers the values and charms of his host city.

Marc was born in Mexico, but holds a French passport. His family had to move from Europe to the land of the Aztecs for work. And he has spent most of his life living in Mexico. It’s interesting to see how Marc has adapted to Castilian Spanish, but slips in certain Mexican words and expressions. He is a Frenchman with a Mexican heart, or a Mexican with a European mindset. Regardless, he feels like a citizen of the world.

In Mexico City, the capital with nearly nine million people just in the city limits, Marc studied at international schools, which led him to become fluent in English and mingle with other foreign students.

The contact he has had with different cultures has made him a young man with a broad perspective and a global worldview. “My greatest passion is to learn. Of course, you can learn in a classroom, but I prefer to gain experience outside of it. I am a quiet and calm person who likes learning through observation, and I never say no to a debate.” He emphasizes that “the combination of education, experience, and the exchange of ideas is what makes for daily learning.”

Marc is full of praise for his family: “My parents planted in me the seeds of curiosity and the need to always be learning,” he confides. From an early age, his parents instilled in him a passion for traveling and understanding other parts of the world and different cultures, ways of thinking, and approaches to life.

 

JAB

“About three years ago, I took part in IE University’s Junior Advisory Board (JAB) program, which brought us to Segovia. I fell in love with the city,” he says. The JAB is a committee made up of pre-university students selected each year from among 300 applicants from more than fifty countries by IE University. The selection is based on their extraordinary profiles, academic merits, and mastery in multiple disciplines. The objective of this talented committee, which Marc took part in during its eighth year, is to take a student’s vision of what academia is and propose possible improvements to the realm of university education.

That first experience in Segovia changed him forever. It was then when he decided he wanted to come to Spain and study at IE University’s campus in Segovia. “I’m in love with Segovia. Not only do I love its landscapes and monuments, but I also love that the whole atmosphere in this city is so different from Mexico City, one of the most populated cities in the world,” he says.

One of the major goals he has proposed is to «burst the bubble that many IE students live in.” According to Marc, there are students who only spend time with other students from their country or from their classes, making them struggle to leave campus and mingle with the locals.

In his new role as ambassador, Marc’s desire is to “bring Segovia and the university closer together, and have the students connect more with the city we live in.» In his opinion, many of his fellow students miss out on things that Segovia has to offer, especially from the cultural point of view. “For example, I love talking with taxi drivers on the way to the catch the high-speed train into Madrid; you can sometimes learn a lot about this city in those short, ten-minute chats,” says Marc, who feels fully integrated into the local community.

Marc knows that posting his experiences on the youth ambassadors’ blog is not going to be an easy task. In order to achieve this goal, the young French student has support from the City Hall and the Vice-Rector for Students at IE University. “I feel that I’m putting in the same amount of passion that people working at both the tourism office and the university do. I am more than aware that I can count on them for anything I may need.” He adds that in the blog, he will write “everything I can, but it depends on my day-to-day life, the time it will take me to study, or if I have exams.”

At IE University, where he is in his second year studying Politics, Law, and Economics, Marc feels that he is fulfilling his dream of chasing after what he’s truly passionate about. “I always wanted to be a politician, and the degree IE University offers is well-rounded; in addition to having professors who are leaders in their respective fields, I have classmates from all over the world who possess great intellect and curiosity. This knowledge, along with this combination of high-performance professors and students in class, allows us to learn a lot,” he says.

Marc would like to be a diplomat at an embassy, although he is also interested in the European construction process. Consequently, he would be honored to work in a European political institution.

Taking part in the Youth Ambassadors program is a pleasure and, above all, an honor. I want to better understand this city that has taken me in, and given me so much,” he concludes.

OWHC

In compensation for their work, the Youth Ambassadors of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) receive a financial aid of 200 euros and an honorary distinction from the City of Segovia. Segovia has been a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) since September 8, 1993. The OWHC brings together cities like Segovia that are recognized by the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.