Mathias Julius Ferber Valenta was educated in the French school system while dividing his childhood and early adulthood between Paris, Los Angeles, and Vienna. He completed his undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he majored in History (with a focus on Modern European History) and German Studies. Mathias’ thesis was on the ideological nature of the French Vichy regime, examining its relation to, and divergences from, European fascism. He graduated in May 2020 from Wesleyan with High Honors in History for his thesis, as well as the departmental Dutcher Prize and the Robin Prize for Excellence in European History.
Interest in intellectual and political history led to the pursuit of an MA in European History, Politics, and Society at Columbia University, where Mathias explored the underappreciated political philosophy of the German Romantics. His thesis there argued that the conservative turn of the philosopher Friedrich Schlegel was in reaction to the Napoleonic Wars. Rather than contradict Romanticism’s more transformative innovations, Schlegel amended them to prevent what he perceived as the threat of revolution, anarchy, and eventual dictatorship.
While initially considering an academic career, the study of modern political thought led Mathias to an interest in contemporary politics and political institutions. With a desire to serve the public interest and put ideas into action, Mathias decided that the law would offer the best avenue to do so. His exploration of German Romanticism in the context of the Austrian Empire also reignited a deep interest in foreign relations, diplomacy, and world order, complimented by his historical study of the Soviet Union, imperial competition in Central and South Asia, and European regional studies.
Mathias is excited to pursue these interests through the Global Law Scholars program, to become more familiar with international law as politics in action, and to one day enter the legal profession from a global perspective. He believes that his background in history will offer a solid intellectual foundation upon which to navigate the complexity of the law in an increasingly multicultural world. Mathias is excited to gain the skills necessary for both his professional success and his ability to serve others.