Alex Guittard, '11
Lt. Alex Guittard (BA ’11), a Civil Affairs Officer going into the Foreign Service, had always known he wanted to serve in government, but when he first came to Boston College, he had something other than diplomacy in mind. “When I came to Boston College, I wanted to serve as an Infantry officer,” Alex admits. After his experience in the ICS program, however, Alex eventually decided that he could “better contribute to current operations by serving in Civil Affairs and as a diplomat,” though he still has “a great appreciation for my brother officers in the Combat Arms.” The courses Alex took, including Oil and Politics in the Gulf, US-Iran Relations, and Language Memory and Identity in the Middle East, enabled him to gain a holistic understanding of the Middle East, its language, politics, religions, cultures, and economics.
Along the way, Alex learned Arabic, Persian, French, and Italian, attended several extensive study abroad trips (covering territory as vast and varied as Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Tajikistan, and Kuwait), and conducted other grant-funded work in Turkey, the Caucuses, Uzbekistan, and even a stint in Afghanistan to conduct research for his senior thesis (on tribe-state relations in Afghanistan). More importantly, developed "a genuine passion for understanding the peoples, languages, religions, and cultures of the region in which I hope to serve.” The program was also instrumental in his personal life: “Certainly the course that has had the most lasting impact on my life was Islamic Political Philosophy.” Why, you ask? “Because I met Lisette, my girlfriend of almost three years, in it.”
Alex plans to return to Afghanistan on deployment soon to continue his work in the region. You can read more about (and by) Alex here:
Taking a World View - Boston College Chronicle
Along the Silk Road - Boston College Magazine
Qawm: Tribe-State Relations in Afghanistan from Darius to Karzai - Boston College ICS Thesis
Reflections on the Army and Branching - Foreign Policy