Up close and personal with John Lucas

Dr. John Lucas is President and CEO of International Student Exchange Programmes (ISEP), a network of 320+ post-secondary institutions in more than 50 countries cooperating to provide affordable international educational experiences for a diverse student population.

Prior to joining ISEP in January 2016, Dr. Lucas was Provost and Executive Vice President at the School for International Training and Associate Vice President of Academic Programmes and Deputy Director of IES Abroad. He has more than ten years’ field experience in Spain with roles including Centre Director in Barcelona and Alicante for the Council on International Education Exchange and Director of Programmes and Associate Professor of Spanish for the Institute for Social and International Studies at Portland State University in Barcelona. Dr. Lucas holds an MA and PhD in Spanish Linguistics from Penn State University and a Master's degree in international and intercultural management from the School for International Training. He completed Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Institution for Education Management in 2015. 

What do you like best about your job and why?

I love knowing that every day I get up, meet fascinating people from all over the world who are all committed to creating a more peaceful, open, and collaborative society. I also enjoy the passion and commitment of our young staff in the DC office who amaze me on a daily basis with what they are able to create with limited resources, tight deadlines, and abundant caffeine.

What is your current country of interest and why?

Lots! However, currently I am fascinated by what Canada and Mexico are doing to promote global education and exchange. Those of us in the US are too often painfully ignorant of our neighbours to the North and South. I found the recent CONAHEC conference at the University of Regina fascinating and was moved by the way Canada’s First Nations University was included and what they are doing for indigenous education. I am also touched by the forbearance of our neighbours to the South. My first international education experience was in Mexico and I have tremendous personal affection for the people and cultures of Mexico. An old Mexican saying is "Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos." "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the US." Enough said!

What is your greatest challenge?

Juggling multiple priorities and helping a very large consortium of diverse languages, pedagogies and interests move in a relatively coherent direction — at least most of the time.

What keeps you up at night?

Global issues...the increase in isolationism and xenophobia which ultimately stem from fear and ignorance. The other issue is the environment, particularly the lack of national leadership in the US, which needs to play its part in addressing this crisis.

What is your guilty pleasure?

In the immortal words of Hilary Clinton, "Chardonnay helped." In my case, I'll opt for Syrah and some extra dark chocolate. Also my long flights are sometimes occupied by the latest Scandinavian thrillers, another favourite guilty pleasure.


26/10/2017 - 07:34