JMU Duke Puts Down Roots in Italy

SIF alumnus covers Italian politics

M.A. in Political Science, European Union Policy Studies
Mr. Andrew Spannaus

Alexandra Wilson Tuman (EUPS 2024) sat down with Andrew Spannaus (JMU 1993) to discuss his journey from JMU student in the Semester in Florence program to working as a journalist in Italy.

Mr. Andrew Spannaus is a James Madison University alumnus who studied abroad during his undergraduate years in Florence, Italy. Now a full-time Italian resident, Mr. Spannaus lives and works in Milan. As a renowned author, lecturer, and journalist, Mr. Spannaus visited JMU’s Florence campus to discuss his undergraduate experience and his subsequent career.

Mr. Spannaus’ first trip to Italy was through his JMU semester studying abroad. While in Florence, Mr. Spannaus studied various topics; among his favorites included the Renaissance. Mr. Spannaus had a special admiration for the Renaissance because it represented more than just art. Rather, this period symbolized a shift in humanity’s understanding of the purpose of life. Seeking a deeper understanding of shifts in the human experience and political arena helped Mr. Spannaus launch his success in journalism and political analysis.

After graduation from James Madison University, Mr. Spannaus moved to Italy, where he resides. He currently serves as the Chair of the Milan Foreign Press Association. His career has included serving as a commentator, journalist, and lecturer. In 2013, he founded news and analysis, and in 2016, he authored his first book: Perché Vince Trump (Why Trump Wins), Mr. Spannaus gained recognition for his writing and political analysis. Having lived in Italy and the United States, Mr. Spannaus was in a productive position to explain American politics to Italian nationals.

Next, Mr. Spannaus published another book, La Rivolta degli Elettori (The Revolt of the Voters). This book examined many changes happening worldwide, including Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election and the recent news of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union via the impact of the Brexit movement. Alongside publishing various articles, he travels to provide commentary and political insight on current events.

When speaking to JMU students in Florence, Mr. Spannaus shared his advice on ensuring a successful career. He told the students, “Do what interests you, don't settle.” He explained that this was a lesson he came to learn throughout his undergraduate career and put it into practice wherever he went. Mr. Spannaus said that working on your passion allows you to invest in your work. When you are invested in your career, you see the most significant outcomes because you care deeply about what you are doing. He also reminded the students to continue exploring and finding the topics and subject areas that spark their curiosity: “Try things, develop ideas and set goals. You'll only reach a few of them, but if you put your energy into ambitious projects you'll give yourself the opportunity for an exciting career.”

It is a memorable experience whenever an alumnus stops in to speak with JMU students in Florence. No matter our interests, we have a connection as Dukes who have shared the experience of walking the same halls and streets. It was a pleasure to welcome Mr. Spannaus back to Florence and discuss career exploration principles and opportunities with him.

Mr. Andrew Spannaus graduated from James Madison University ('93) with a Bachelor of Arts, studying Philosophy and Religion. Today, he is a political analyst, author and lecturer. Mr. Spannaus is the founder of and the current Chairman of the Milan Foreign Press Association.

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Published: Thursday, November 30, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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