Curator #128: Pau Castellví

PauCatalanVoicesHi all! This is Pau Castellví Canet (@pau_castellvi), a 22-year old political scientist, student of society and activist for meaningful democratic reform (among many other issues). Even though my “home” is all over the place, I identify both as a European and a Catalan. I was born in the city of Sabadell (200,000 inhabitants, Barcelona) half a year after the celebration of the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992, and moved to Castellar del Vallès (22,000 inhabitants, 8 km north of Sabadell) when I was a child with both my parents and my older brother, Marc.

At the age of sixteen (in 2009) I had the great honor of being awarded a merit-based United World College (UWC) full scholarship, after fierce competition with very highly qualified students from all over Spain. Thanks to this scholarship and the trust invested in me, I was able to move to New Mexico (USA) for a two-year period, to study the International Baccalaureate (a 2-year high-school program) with about 200 other students from over 85 different nations. My life truly changed for the better those two years.

Later, in 2011, I graduated and managed to secure another scholarship to be able to study my BA in Social Sciences (basically, Political Sciences, East Africa Development Studies and History) at University College Utrecht (UCU), the Netherlands. Studying at UCU is one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made in life. At UCU I developed greatly as a person, a thinker and a professional. By the end of my first year there, I was elected Chair of the college’s Academic Student Council (2012-2013). Thanks to the relatively flexible study-abroad regulations at UCU and the great network of partners the institution has, in a three year period I was able to study not only in the Netherlands, but also in the Republic of Kosovo (for a summer in 2012 – the American University in Kosovo Summer Program) and study (and work) in East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya). I graduated officially in January 2015, after finishing my research thesis on policy-maker behavior regarding democratic reform in the UK, Netherlands and Spain.

In February 2015, after six years abroad, I came back to Catalonia and took up a 6-month internship at the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) up until July 2015. Great experience! As of now, I look forward to starting my MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics (UK) this upcoming month of September.

In the next few days, I’m going to be sharing my views and thoughts with you on a series of issues of different sorts. Especially, however, I’m going to be showing you around in El Port de la Selva (Girona / Costa Brava, Northern Catalonia). I’ve been going there with my family since I was a very young child and it is the place on Earth I consider to be closest to a “spiritual” definition of home.

In the small town of El Port de la Selva, “tramuntana” (Catalan term for northern, strong wind), the Mediterranean Sea, the beautiful vistas of Cap de Creus, history, awesome secret places filled with hidden stories only deep-rooted locals know, international touristy places and the locals’ strong characters converge to constantly create very unique experiences you either completely love, or find completely unacceptable. I am lucky to just completely love it! I’ll try to convey some of those peculiarities to you. Please, engage and share your thoughts with me!

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