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This week, Verto students embark on an incredible first year experience where they will spend the next semester exploring, creating, and learning about the world with our inspiring Faculty.

Who are the phenomenal world travelers and mentors our students will be learning from? Our faculty members have pretty awesome adventures and achievements under their belts. Get to know a few of the faces that will be working with our students this spring!

Dr. Miguel de Lucas – International Relations Professor, Spain

Dr. Miguel de Lucas Headshot

Someone wiser and smarter than me wrote once: a good teacher is not the person who tells you what to do, but the person who shows you where to look. Each academic year, I end up learning that far more important than what a course covers is what you discover. Education for me is not about the exams you take or the grades you get, or the hours you spend on your homework, but to know how to question, how to challenge, how to inquire, how to sharpen your mind, how to debate and articulate your thoughts and ideas better, how to switch the daily deluge of latest news and irrelevant information surrounding us into knowledge or, at least, into wonder.

After living in Madrid, in London, in Dublin and in the Czech Republic, for the last 15 years I’ve been researching, reading and teaching about the planet we live in, the problems our societies face and how global affairs work. I’ve been a student, a researcher and nowadays a professor. But essentially I’ve never stopped being a traveller. There are many beautiful ways to define what travel means. But my favorite one -and perhaps one of the oldest- was written three centuries ago in a lovely book called The Encyclopedia, the French one, the first encyclopedia ever published. The people who wrote that long book came out with this gorgeous definition. 

Travel. The greatest sages of antiquity realized that there was no better school of life than traveling. A school where, in the first place, the change of air and exercise is always very good for health. And second, a school where you discover the possibility of living other lives, and where you always find a valuable lesson in this great book of the world. 

Here in Seville this is what I want to share with students. If you want to add more pages to this great book you are beginning to discover, I’ll be enormously proud to walk by your side on your way. Our destination is this world we live in and our mission is to gain a deeper understanding of how global issues work (or don’t work at all). 

And I daresay we’ll enjoy the ride.

Dr. Faissal Hameed – International Relations Professor, London

Dr. Faissal Hameed Headshot

Faissal Hameed is a Lecturer in International History and Politics based in London, England. He has specialized in teaching US students studying abroad in the UK for over 10 years. Faissal’s academic specialization is in the field of Global History with a focus on Britain’s relations with Commonwealth countries in South Asia and the Middle East. He has taught at the University of Birmingham; Birkbeck, University of London; Richmond, the American International University in London; and the New College of the Humanities, London.

Previously Faissal served as Director of Academics at the Foundation for International Education, London and Programme Director at Birkbeck, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has co-edited a book titled ‘Confronting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: An exploration of their socio-historic and theological roots’.

Faissal has travelled, and taught, in the Middle East, South and South-East Asia and the Far East, and is therefore able to bring a personal insight to his work in the field of international education. He is looking forward to helping to develop a creative learning environment on Verto Education’s London program, where an understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of international education is encouraged.

Faissal is looking forward to resuming the study visits in London to museums and galleries that have remained closed during the pandemic. He is also looking forward to taking his students to diverse community neighborhoods, to give his student’s exposure to the many cultural communities that call London home. Faissal has taught student’s from around the world and believes that international education and travel can be truly transformative and rewarding experiences that will stay with you for many years to come. He believes while studying abroad you learn something about how the world see’s your country of birth and in that process, you learn something special about yourself. Faissal would like students to come abroad with an open mind and be willing to look at the world through different and, sometimes, challenging perspectives. As the recent years and multiple global challenges have demonstrated, we live in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world and learning more about one another and building empathy can be powerful tools in intercultural understanding.

Lastly, Faissal would like to remind his students to pack a ‘brolly’ (umbrella) to be ready for the predictably unpredictable British weather!

Professor Maria F. Batista – Social Problems Faculty, Costa Rica

Maria Batista Headshot

I’m an internationalist who is passionate about global education, human rights, and peace conflict resolution. I have strong managerial and communication skills, and experience in project management, consulting, teaching, research, and public speaking.

My fields of research are international relations theory, intercultural learning and global competence development in higher education. I am most looking forward to sharing and learning together with students and peers as well as the exchange of cultural perspectives. I am a mother of a wonderful 2 year old son, I enjoy outdoor activities, dancing, cooking, and traveling.

Professor Thomas Brownlees – Business Faculty, Florence

Professor Thomas Brownlees Headshot

My name is Thomas Brownlees, I am an academic lecturer and I love to talk about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I’ve been teaching for more than 10 years, and thanks to my experience in consulting and business development, I get to bring to class a modern and engaging vision of the contemporary business landscape.

I look forward to showing how Florence is not only the cradle of Renaissance but a thriving creative hub that has brought to life some of the most iconic Italian brands. Along our journey, we’ll see how learning the language of business gets you to understand the world around you in a completely new way.

Johel Chaves – Ecology Professor, Costa Rica

Johel Chaves HeadshotI am a Costa Rican native, and my name (Johel) is pronounced in Spanish something like “Ho-L.” Native US speakers called me in several different ways when I lived in the US for 8 years while I conducted PhD studies and post-doctoral training in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, so I am used to different pronunciations of my name. After finishing my training in the US, I came back to Costa Rica in 2011 to work as a study abroad instructor in programs directed towards US College Students. I have accumulated many interesting experiences and funny stories after 10 years teaching ecology and conservation, which I am looking forward to sharing with Verto students traveling this semester.