Diversity is what makes us unique.

Take a look at our Rochambeau Alumni stories featured below!
 

Be this month's Featured Alumni: If you'd like to be featured on our newsletters and share your story, send an e-mail to alumni@rochambeau.org.  This is a great opportunity where you can:

  • Do some outreach for current projects, fundraisers, or a start-up!
  • Mobilize your alumni community and communicate special events and reunions
  • Inform others about a unique experience abroad
  • Tell us about your favorite moments at Rochambeau and how the school helped you get to where you are today.

Ismail Kenessy '94

Foreign Service Officer - Internal Auditor USAID

Dakar, Senegal 

Ismail Kenessy (Ismael Khenissi while in Rochambeau) was born in Tunis to Tunisian parents and moved to the U.S. in 1983. Not knowing a word of English, Ismail attended Rochambeau from CE1 until Premiere in 1993. With an American High School diploma in hand and fluent in English, Ismail enrolled in George Mason University where he graduated with a BS in Accounting. He recalls that in 1994, most of his classmates left for Canada and Europe, which made it difficult to keep in touch over time. “If any 1994 classmates are reading this, say hello!

Following his Bachelors, Ismail worked in various accounting and financial positions at international organizations in the U.S. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C, Ismail, enrolled his two daughters at Rochambeau. As it happens with most of our worldly international families, for Ismail, it was not long before overseas work beckoned. He joined the Office of Inspector General for USAID as a Foreign Service Officer to provide oversight of USAID projects. As an established lead auditor, Ismail has developed findings in complex audit circumstances around the world including in human rights programs in Colombia and Cash for Work programs in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Being a FSO, has meant international travel and postings in El Salvador and Senegal, with a in between 3 year detour in Rome with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. “My work will take me and my family to Pretoria, South Africa next after a lovely 4 years in Senegal.” Luckily, with so much moving around, “I’ve had the chance to see and meet Rochambeau graduates around the world”. Ismail and his two daughters spend summer-leave in Bethesda and Chevy Chase with his parents, friends, and family.

 

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 
“A key benefit of my time in Rochambeau was the stellar instruction of the English language. It goes without saying that we get an excellent grasp of French at Rochambeau, but it was only in later that I realized this was also the case for English.  From Mrs. Ermler (my first English teacher in 1983) to Ms. Piurek, Rochambeau took English seriously and has been a great asset for many of us not from Anglophone origins. Of course, the interactions and friendships one had in Rochambeau makes one very comfortable almost anywhere in the world.”

Jacques Domenge '95

Alumni Parent and Assistant Director of Coaching & Education

Washington D.C, USA

The Rochambeau monde is one he has known as a STUDENT, as an ALUMNUS, and today as a PARENT. A 1995 Graduate, today Jacques emphasizes how well Rochambeau prepared him for his future, “Because of this, choosing to send my daughter to Rochambeau was a no-brainer, and all of my former classmates in the DC area have done the same.” Alumni reunions?...”ALL THE TIME!

Besides super-parenting, Jacques is a motivational career coach and owner of a consulting firm. Passionate about supporting businesses and individuals to reach their potential, Jacques has developed a career around inspiration…My starting assumption in everything that I do, is that with the right information and coaching, regular people can become extraordinary. Jacques is currently the Assistant Director of Coaching and Education at the Johns Hopkins Business School AND the owner of an Organizational Development Consultancy. His application of organizational development and behavioral psychology have made him an active and unique contributor to this field locally and abroad. His vocation is more than a job, and he humbly admits that it took time to get to where he is today, including a variety of jobs spanning in education, recruitment, and finance -- “Truth be told, had I learned what really drove me early on, I might have been able to start working in a career that I love about six years sooner.” Naturally, Jacques builds his sessions on his own experiences too...helping inspire students and professionals to pursue their passions early on and to drive their skills into what they love doing best.  

Experimental and intellectually curious, Jacques’s work is constantly evolving. “I regularly present at global conferences on what I am learning as I go.” His goal this coming year is to present at a Tedx event on the topic of the importance of compassion as a guiding principle. He has also most recently applied to Georgetown’s Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching, he says, “one should never stop learning, and this strikes me as a great opportunity to be a little bit more effective as a coach.“ 

Jacques has a M.Sc in Organization Development from American University and a B.A in Philosophy and Communication from the University of Maryland. In addition to his work, he enjoys photography, biking, and spending time with his family at home.  Jacques knows what is essential: “As long as I can cultivate and inspire compassion in others, occasionally experience awe, and have regular time with my family, I will be able to say that I want for nothing.”

 A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 

"My experience at Rochambeau was undoubtedly formative for me. I attended from the early 80’s through to 1995. I can’t say that it was an easy experience, as every day was challenging and rigorous. Overall, I’m convinced that my experiences were extraordinarily helpful in preparing me for the next step which was my undergraduate degree. After graduating from Rochambeau, I was astonished at how easy my classes and exams were at the University of Maryland (UMD). I’m not diminishing the caliber of the education at UMD, rather emphasizing how well Rochambeau prepared me. As I understand it, the school has adapted over the years and I have no doubt that the students receive the same rigorous education, while having a significantly more positive experience than I had. On a separate note, and maybe more importantly, Rochambeau gave me something that has shaped who I am more than anything. The entire time I was there, my classmates came from every corner of the world. Each of them, like me, was from somewhere else. The community that I knew for all of those years was one that identified less with one national identity, and more with a tapestry of global nomads. This tapestry of cultures is my tribe, and I am home whenever I am around people that have had the privilege of living outside of their country of origin. As it turns out, this community is growing, not just because of Rochambeau alumni, but because the world has become such a multicultural place where movement between nations has become the norm. In effect, Rochambeau has been ahead of its time all along by creating global citizens who both celebrate cultural differences and more importantly, blur the lines of division between people from all nations. The world could use more Lycée Rochambeau’s if you ask me."

Eugene Ubalijoro '83

Managing Director Heineken 

Ethiopia, Africa 

Following Eugene's higher education in the US and in Canada, Eugene began his professional career in 1990 as an international trainee within the HEINEKEN corporation in his native Rwanda. His attested leadership and language skills, led him to oversee several operations in many Francophone countries until obtaining higher management positions in the US. Since 1999, Eugene has acquired an extensive international portfolio, moving with his family from country to country including 10 years in the Netherlands. He mentions "my children know at least 5 languages" a not so bewildering fact for a family of travelers!

 

International to say the least, there is however ONE special place that Eugene and his family always come back to... his home village of Rutongo in Rwanda. Situated 25 km north of the capital city of Kigali, the Ubalijoro's dedicate their summers to support Rutongo's local primary school. "This has been an activity close to my heart...as it is our way of giving back to people who are less privileged than we are." Although the stays are short, Eugene, his wife, and his children use every moment to setup English classes, arts & crafts, guitar lessons, and computer activities to young children between the ages of 7 and 14. Also, providing philanthropic support, Eugene and his wife regularly raise funds to repair infrastructure, buy equipment, and offer school material. His passion has prompted him to invite Harvard and Georgetown students to support his fundraising efforts and to inspire knowledge with the local children. Happy with the accomplishments of his guests and the rich cultural exchanges, Eugene welcomes opportunities with Rochambeau students and alumni too, "I would host them and provide room and boarding at my home" a gracious host indeed!

 

Back in the US, Eugene has held the position of Exports Managing Director for the Americas and the Caribbean since 2010. Now, Eugene is ready for his next adventure! Most recently appointed Managing Director of HEINEKEN Ethiopia, he plans his big move for the upcoming fall. Congratulations Eugene, we wish you and your family the best for the future!

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU

" Au lycée je fus délégué de classe à plusieurs reprises et capitaine de l’équipe de football pendant quelques années. Cette expérience a jeté les bases de leadership dont un manager a besoin surtout dans la gestion des équipes. Le lycée a forgé ma curiosité intellectuelle à travers les cours de français, d’histoire-géo et de math pour ne citer que ceux-là. Grace au lycée, j’ai été accepté à Georgetown University et découvert ainsi ma passion pour les affaires internationales. J’ai aussi appris à vivre dans un cadre international ce qui m’a donné un avantage par rapports aux étudiants américains de ma promotion de Georgetown. Les compétences linguistiques que j’ai acquises au Lycée m’ont ouvert la voie vers une carrière internationale qui a débuté en 1990."

Dorothée Bond '96

International Development & Public Health

Edinburgh, Scotland

I know what you are thinking. Is she related to Agent 007? Well, she might be…

The travels, the multiple passports, and the various missions she’s pursued around the world made us eager to get in touch with our graduate globetrotter. Finally tracked down in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bond tells us about her international life... without spilling too many secrets of course ;)

Dorothée was born in France to a South African father and French mother. Growing up in the Western world,  between France and the U.S., Bond studied at Rochambeau from 1986 to 1996 and continued her academic journey at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. There, she pursued her B.Sc in Biology until moving back to the east coast to obtain her Master’s in International Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Equipped and ready, Bond made her way into the field of International Development. Since, Bond has made many international travels and in particular to the African continent. Her expertise, resilience, and adaptability has led her to hold various U.S state positions abroad, serving many functions in public health programs and conflict resolution operations. Her work often involving long-term monitoring and evaluation, has made her no stranger to the expat lifestyle. In her last position, she worked for the Peace Corps as Director of Management and Operations in Mali and South Africa.

Bond recalls life changing moments while in Bamako and Pretoria. Following terrorist attacks in Bamako, Bond and her team had the misfortune to permanently close the Peace Corps Mali Office in 2016, a West African cornerstone of the PC history since 1971, “evacuating volunteers, letting staff go, closing the office, and auctioning all of our equipment has been the hardest task of my professional career.” The urgency of the situation, landed Bond and her husband to flourish their lives elsewhere. And so it was just that, Dorothée gave birth to her daughter, shy of only a few kilometers of where her father grew up in South Africa. Full circle!

It was incredible to have the opportunity to live in Pretoria, I finally now understand the cultural backdrop of [my father’s] childhood, while seeing a fascinating evolution of social norms pinned against a difficult history of segregation.

To date, Bond has lived in the U.S, Canada, Senegal, the DRC, Mali, Japan, Turkey, South Africa, and most recently relocated to Scotland with her family. Bond is seeking for her next assignment in Edinburgh, she jokes “...so if you know a position for a bilingual applicant who has a lot of field experience... Oh wait, that describes most of the Rochambeau population!”

We are confident that Bond’s field experience in rich cultural contexts and her extensive program management will be a true fortune for her next employer’s quest! In the meantime, she is taking her name seriously and undertaking the sweetest mission of all, mommy & daughter BONDing. Check out her travel blog here: http://007inafrica.blogspot.com/2015/

 

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU

"It's undeniable that being bilingual has served me very well at work.  I've been able to obtain jobs due to the key asset of speaking French. There's also an intangible quality to a French education -- we certainly weren't coddled, and that no-nonsense upbringing made us able to deal with stressful environments. Going to Rochambeau gave us an incredible perspective on the world -- I remember my mother saying "so where does [X friend] come from? And much to my chagrin, I never remembered.  Few people outside of Rochambeau can relate to having a class full of bilingual/trilingual students who came from Vietnam, France, Spain, Mali, Belgium and Togo. What are the odds of that? Also, shout-out to Mr Eric Bernon who gave me an enduring passion for biology, and set me on this path to development work."




Tarek Alem '02

Pilot 

McLean, VA, USA

We recently met Tarek at our Senior Breakfast. Cheerful to be back at school, he was delighted to tell us about his Rochambeau memories now as an alumni. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Tarek comes from a Moroccan family. He was enrolled at Rochambeau from Maternelle to Lycée, he jokes "as my no-longer-fitting Rochambeau Forever sweatshirt can suggest" it's been quite a while since graduation!
While on campus, a yearbook photo made Tarek recall a fond memory of his time at school. In 2000, at a Rochambeau job fair, Tarek met a pilot and the rest was history. Dressed up in a flight suit and helmet, young Tarek felt his dreams closer than ever. "My lifelong friends can easily confirm that I have wanted to be a pilot for as long as I can remember". Completely enthralled by the pilot's visit, Tarek envisioned his future career in the skies.
After Lycée, he pursued a Bachelor's in Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he began to fly as an instructor. Ultimately, he accomplished his childhood dream of flying long-haul aircraft. A pilot for Delta Air Lines, he's carried passengers to and from their destinations in Europe and around the globe. Grateful and humbly inspired by his own success, he remembers, " I will never forget the first time I flew into Washington National Airport and saw children waving at us from the very same park where I used to go plane watching when I was their age. " Knowing how important his role can be to young aspiring pilots, Tarek hopes to inspire them to pursue their highest hopes and dreams.

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 
"I remember how tough my classmates and I used to think the curriculum was in the French school system. It wasn't until we left for our respective universities in the United States that we realized how much we appreciated not only the education, but also the life experiences we were fortunate to receive through Rochambeau. Whether it is the multilingualism, the worldly perspectives or the uniquely strong friendships that we were able to build, I am sincerely humbled by the opportunity to be a Rochambeau Forever alumnus."

Maya Sriqui '09

Founder & Creative Director of Garden State Candles

 Berlin, Germany 

Maya has taken her artisanal and entrepreneurial abilities abroad to open her own shop of handmade soy candles in Berlin, Germany. 100% devoted to provide her customers pure soy candles scented with botanical fragrance and essential oils, Garden State Candles is a natural favorite. Garden State Candles sports a logo inspired by her loving adopted dog, Louee. Her business not only brings joy in homes but as well as the local animal rescue shelters, where Maya donates a portion of the Garden State Candles's proceeds. Show your support and visit the Garden State Candles website and at their location in the heart of Schillerkiez at Allerstr. 11, 12049 Berlin.

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU

"Rochambeau made University feel like a piece of cake. I graduated with the "Rochambeau Forever" certificate, so this school is part of my roots and a huge part of my identity. I learned so much from our program, from my peers (there's just something about us Rochambeau kids that make us stick together, no matter the distances) and from the perseverance of my teachers, who ingrained in me "you can do better" - always pushing us to surpass ourselves and ultimately gifting us with the proper tools to succeed in the world.

I am forever grateful to Rochambeau for the memories I rejoice in and the knowledge I gained and apply to be the best young woman entrepreneur I can be."

 


Maria Palla Valiente '08

Business Adventurer & Strategist 
London, England

When tasked with introducing herself, Maria often likes to reply with “Spanish born, American raised, French educated”.  A bite-size answer to a packed question, she says “it doesn’t tell you much about what I do, but it tells you that I treasure my multicultural background.” Unmistakably so! Maria has resided in major cities all her life, growing up in different metropoles like Madrid, Washington D.C, Paris, and currently London. She’s grasped her cosmopolitan life and the opportunities with it too! Mindful of her international education and entrepreneurial spirit, Maria strongly believes “it’s important to diversify...although life keeps us all quite busy as is, there is always time for a little more!

Graduating in 2008 from Rochambeau, Maria returned to Spain to pursue a double undergrad in Journalism and Advertising & PR before moving to London to pursue an MSc in Strategic Marketing. During her studies, Maria combined her love of languages and her business skills to co-create with her sister Inés (a translator and a Rochambeau alumna) a small and fuss-free translation agency called Veritrad. The company, based in London and Madrid and is on its 3RD YEAR RUN! An excellent feat and accomplishment worthy of recognition. Regardful of the steps it takes to sustain a business, Maria reflects... “We are quite proud for having survived 3 years and for having managed to gather incredibly loyal clients and a great network of translators that work with us.” When asked about her motives and future plans for Veritrad she explains, “the main reason for this shared venture is not financial, but rather about the satisfaction of seeing something go from daydream to reality – and for it managing to stay afloat! It’s a hobby-turned-small-company that keeps us on our bilingual toes!”

Besides steering this super sister-sustained agency, you’ll find Maria delving into strategy in a major marketing role at Sky, the UK’s fifth most valuable brand and largest advertiser. As a brand strategist with agency experience, she is quite excited to be analyzing what the client-side buzz is all about! Looking back at her own alumni journey and where she finds herself today, Maria encourages anyone wanting to venture into entrepreneurship to go for it ! "It is a great way to flex your creative muscles, learn about business, finance, law, and HR in a real-life crash course, and develop a sense of accountability and responsibility that few other experiences can provide.” 

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 

"No place has impacted my outlook on life quite the way Rochambeau did. It is the place I first met my best friends for life, the first time I was thrown into a truly multicultural environment, and the reason I developed an eagerness for academic excellence and personal ambition. I found Rochambeau to be a school that allowed me to be myself and really explore what that meant, which is probably the ultimate Humanist way to approach education.

One of the things I love most about Rochambeau, and something I have only come to truly value now as an alumna, has been its ability to produce cohorts that have gone to work in a variety of roles, in all sorts of industries, and across the world. I love having Rochambeau family in practically every country I visit and being part of such a diverse and fascinating network!"

 

Antoine Ollivier '08-'10

Graduate Student & Accomplished Windsurfer

Montpellier, France 

Antoine attended Rochambeau for a brief but meaningful time from 2008 to 2010. As a former collège student, he believes his curiosity to the world was fostered due to the "internationally connected environment and cultural diversity" he experienced. "I met people I will never forget" he shares. Despite the years and distances, he has kept in touch with Rochambeau friends from all over the globe, including a recent reunion 7 years after leaving Rochambeau.

Currently, a grad student at Montpellier Business School, Antoine has recently completed a year abroad studying International Marketing at the University of South Wales in Cardiff. Now back in France for the summer, Antoine is taking on the waves and setting out to do what he loves best... WINDSURFING.

Antoine is a fully certified instructor with more than 6 years of experience navigating in the harsh waters and untamed waves off the coasts of Brittany. Moving up the nautical ranks, Antoine is now training future instructors including his two younger brothers (also Rochambeau alumni). His next venture will be at the international telecommunications company 'Orange' where he will be joining the marketing headquarters for a professional gap year.
From waves to airwaves, you can count on Antoine navigating his new career with the same patience and determination as on the board.

 

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 

"These years have allowed me to grow in maturity, openness, tolerance and gain confidence. My Rochambeau years have also allowed me to be ambitious and to aim as high as possible in my professional and personal goals. Thanks to the classes taught by a highly qualified staff, I have a great memory of the approachable and welcoming student and teacher relationship.

Rochambeau for me was a real stepping stone in my education and professional ambitions. I remember only good memories and I hope to be able to come back one day because according to Madame Genovese "Rochambeau students end up coming back!"

Interested in windsurfing lessons?! Learn more with Antoine Ollivier

Lili Warren '12

Public and Global Health Advocate 

New York, USA

Lili Warren grew up in Washington, D.C. in a French-American family. Yes, she was (and still is!) one of those proud “Rochambeau Forevers”. After graduating from the Lycée, Lili attended McGill University in Montreal, where she studied Psychology and Neuroscience. She then worked in a Molecular Neuroscience laboratory, exploring the roles of brain receptors. But soon she realized that while she was passionate about hard sciences, her calling was elsewhere – away from slicing tadpole brains. Her training in basic and social sciences, as well as her experience as a multicultural and trilingual global citizen, led her to pursue a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. Here she strives to translate science into policy and make an impact at a population-wide scale.

 Although she is still exploring the many areas within Public and Global Health, Lili is particularly interested in Human Rights issues, Public Health Ethics, and the Social Determinants of Health. Recently, Lili’s personal work at Columbia has focused on Public Health projects related to the use of integrative, mind-body medicine to improve adolescent and women’s health. For instance, she has been contributing to several pilot programs aiming to improve the lifestyle, eating habits, and sexual health of adolescents in disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City. Her thesis work this year will focus on better understanding, and tackling, the current opioid epidemic in the United States.

 Over the summer, Lili interned at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN agency whose mandate is to improve sexual and reproductive health around the globe. Her experience was truly insightful, rewarding, and inspiring. Through research and reaching out to experts and self-advocates, she compiled information on how to adapt Comprehensive Sexuality Education to the needs of two particular groups of vulnerable youth: young people in prison, and young people with disabilities. Throughout this project, Lili saw once again how the principles of science, evidence, and interdisciplinary collaboration are fundamental to the advancement of health and happiness around the globe.

 She hopes that her trajectory will continue to push her towards challenging and inspiring projects directed towards helping to better the lives of underserved populations.

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU

"Etudier à Rochambeau a été pour moi une expérience d'une incroyable richesse. J’ai eu la chance de  grandir auprès d'élèves et de professeurs venus du monde entier avec en commun une réelle ouverture d’esprit et un vrai désir de partage. Avec eux j'ai appris le vivre et le réfléchir ensemble, dans le plus grand respect de chacun et la plus grande rigueur intellectuelle. Mon parcours et mon ambition actuelle en sont en partie les fruits. Je suis fière de faire partie de cette grande famille des anciens élèves de Rochambeau. Cette communauté internationale, respectueuse et diverse, continue de m’accompagner au fil de mes études et ces liens forts entre voyageurs, explorateurs de cultures et de langues, chercheurs interdisciplinaires, me donnent espoir en un monde futur généreux et inclusif. À mes amis de Rochambeau, à mes professeurs, je dis merci."



Nicolas Trad '13

Princeton Graduate & Medical Student at Harvard University

Boston, Massachusetts 

Nicolas Trad was born in Washington, D.C. into a family of Lebanese, Slovenian and American heritage. Raised in Beirut, Nicolas and his family lived through the 2006 conflict in Lebanon. It was at this time that his family returned to the U.S and the Rochambeau community became a part of his home. Nicolas's capacity to adapt and problem-solve in challenging environments has inspired him to pursue a medical career in global health.

Nicolas is a Princeton University graduate having earned his Bachelors degree in Public Policy with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. In his next academic pursuit he will be enrolling in the Harvard University Medical Center in the fall of 2018.

A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU
"Attending Rochambeau helped ease the transition into my new life. Within the school’s perimeters, I found a like-minded community with as complex a mix of identities as I’d grown up with in Lebanon. This was a source of familiarity and comfort, but it also challenged me to engage with new and sometimes conflicting perspectives, and to approach those unlike me with openness and humility. 

I would love to catch up with Rochambeau alums in NYC and BOSTON! Please contact me if you are interested in exchanging ideas, books or really anything related to medicine and public health!"

Mitra Moin '13

Copywriter & Podcast Guru 

 Washington D.C, USA

Mitra Moin graduated with distinction from Concordia University (Montreal), receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2016. Born and raised in Washington, D.C. by a French mother and an Iranian father, she attended the French International School from 1998 (petite section) until she graduated in 2013.

She has interned at various renowned news organizations such as NPR and the Washington Report, where several of her articles were published. After working in marketing at Sonder, a hospitality company, she is now a Copywriter at Panoply Media, a podcast network that creates and acquires audio-on-demand programs ranging in topics such as news and politics, culture and lifestyle, sports, women’s issues, and more. She works closely with advertising agencies and producers to coordinate advertising campaigns.

She hopes to continue working in this creative direction, expanding to branding, custom podcasting, creative and art directing, and project management.


A FEW WORDS FOR ROCHAMBEAU 

"Attending Rochambeau was incredibly beneficial and has had a significant influence on who I’ve grown to be today. Being among a mosaic of individuals and cultures shaped my perspectives and allowed me to cultivate my French heritage as well as find comfort in a diverse and complex mix of cultures. It has also opened many doors and opportunities that I’m grateful for — the school’s climate pushed me to see situations in a new and creative perspective. Rochambeau is a wonderful community and I’m thankful to be part of it."

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