Richard Mitten

Warding off the spell cast on the disgraced and disappointed builders of the Tower of Babel: such is the daunting task that Richard Mitten has to perform every day. Untangling languages and entwining cultures, the Director of Exchanges at Baruch College, New-York suppresses disagreements and welcomes with open arms disagreeing spirits : Baruch College has an incredible ethnical diversity. We speak more than a hundred and ten languages !", he wonders.

Former confirmed student and young veteran professor, Richard took a quantum leap between University and Universality by committing to the international dimension. An excellent way to see new places without suffering from jet lag: "I have the opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world and to meet people from various cultures. It is a very exciting job". This enthusiasm should not calm down student’s eagerness to exchange their schoolbags for travel bags. Besides, if you want to learn a little more about what is at the end of this bridge which starts at iaelyon and crosses over the Atlantic, this portrait is the fast track that will get you there!

Before developing international exchange programs, Richard worked hard on the subject and did not hesitate to scour the world faculties to sharpen his. From Columbia to Cambridge, this student earns jurys’ honors.Financed to carry out historical and sociological research which fascinates him, he flies to Vienna University. It is therefore in Austria that Mr. Mitten will become Dr Richard and that he will work during fifteen years. This European life extends the horizon of the Missouri kid he was and gives him a taste for all these cultures and knowledge that a single life would not be enough to explore: "By reaching beyond the United States, I have become more tolerant and more curious about the diversity of cultural practices". An impeccable student background and an appetite for knowledge which do not contradict the intellectual look that his round eye glasses lend him: "At this time, I was really concentrated on accumulating knowledge. It was very exciting but did not pay the bills" he remembers, with a smile. But after twenty years of European peregrinations, the dolce vita is affected by love turmoil and Richard is forced to look for available professional opportunities in his native America.

Having to come back to the States, did not mean however turning his back on the world: "I deliberately chose to pursue my career in the Administration of international programs". His eyes still riveted on far off horizons, Richard stops encouraging young historians and strives to prove that preconceived ideas are worthless. He who understood, when he set foot in France, that « all French people do not play the accordion », hopes to help students look beyond stereotypes. In keeping with the motto of the Borough of Manhattan Community College University "start here, go anywhere", Richard works hard to enable serious and curious students bringing down borders: "It is really a unique opportunity to travel and meet people from different countries. It is through meeting people that prejudices fade".

When conviction takes root, the summits of success never lack of panache and since his arrival in the School, we went from thirty annual exchanges to three hundreds. In this undertaking, he says he found the ideal sparring partner in Jérôme Rive with whom he exchanges ideas and talents: "I get on very well with iaelyon Dean. I met him in 2004 and since then, we have cooperated on various projects. One of our best achievements remains the International Week."

But like all commitments, Richard’s tend to sap his free time and wallow in bureaucracy: "Administrative work takes up an awful lot of time ! It is quite frustrating because I do not go as fast as I want to and above all, I do not have time to think, read and travel anymore". And if some maintain that there is no place like home, Richard still feeds the dreams of the Europe which made him feel like creating links: "I would like to go back there, it’s the contrary of the Brexit !", he says ironically with this so Anglo-Saxon sense of humor which has the power to draw a smile or two from his entourage. A nostalgia which is quickly engulfed by the pleasure of welcoming students ready to embark on new perspectives with overflowing suitcases. And the experience of the Old continent continues to feed Richard’s creativity, he who always seeks to facilitate access to students from underprivileged background: "European Educational Systems seem to me to be much more egalitarian because they integrate the notion of social justice which means a lot to me. The most important, to my eyes, is to give an opportunity to those who need it most : they always come home changed ".

Although Richard has dropped the scholar’s pen to sit at the manager’s desk, his curiosity is kept alive and searching for the event or the meeting that could quench his thirst for discovery. A fascination for the unknown which led him very early to explore the treasures of otherness and go beyond his native village: "I do not forget where I come from. When I cast my mind back, I never would have thought I would become one day the person I am today.” Professor or administrator, no doubt that the academic environment is ideally suited to this former activist with a slightly rebellious character: "I could not work in a company. I think they would fire me very quickly!". And if today the class struggle has been replaced by amounts of paperwork, no doubt that for Richard, the International should be the human race.