23 October 2012

The Graduate Institute: A Gauthier Family Affair

Not only did Jacques and Rani cross the Atlantic to pursue degrees at the Institute’s predecessors, but three of their four daughters also came to study at the Institute. Each chose this path for many reasons, including Geneva’s strategic location in Europe and its proximity to international organisations as well as its highly regarded faculty.

Jacques studied law in Canada in the 70’s. After graduating from Law School, he and his wife, Rani, pursued post-graduate studies in Geneva. After completing the doctoral requirements, Jacques returned to Canada where he eventually founded his own law firm, Gauthier and Associates, in Toronto. He continued to maintain his association with the Institute while he was completing his doctoral thesis, which he defended in 2006.

Shaloma, the second eldest of the daughters, completed a Master in International History and Politics in 2006, and is pursuing a PhD in the same discipline while working as a research assistant on a project relating to international organisations during the interwar period headed by Professor Rodogno. She said her father’s experience played a pivotal role in her choice. “I was able to rely on his positive experience and had the unique opportunity of being enrolled while he was completing his PhD. Attending the defense of his dissertation heightened my awareness to the challenges and the accomplishment of such a feat.”

For Adriella, who is completing a Master in Development Studies and is Research Assistant at the Programme for Gender and Global Change, the choice was not as easy. “Since my family consisted of a father who received his PhD from one of the Institute’s predecessors, a mother who studied at the other, and an older sister who was pursuing a degree there, I clearly did not want to even consider attending the school”, she said. However the turning point came when she attended Shaloma’s Master’s graduation ceremony and was attracted by the wide array of languages as well as the warmth of the students.

Davina, twin sister of Adriella, who is completing her Master in International History and Politics, was also inspired by the family tradition. “My father and sister both had a positive experience at the Institute. A number of factors made their respective studies rewarding, such as the intellectual vibrancy of Geneva, as well as the numerous archives in the city. The family involvement at the Institute is definitely part of the reason behind my decision”, she said. She was further influenced by the small size of the Institute and its opportunity for lively intellectual exchange.

Their shared connections and experiences at IHEID have knit the family even closer. When reunited in Toronto, their lively discussions include a multiplicity of international issues.

From left to right: Adriella, Davina, Rani, Jacques and Shaloma Gauthier.

This article was published in Globe.