Family, Friends and Fellows Celebrate 2017-2018 Commencement

in Fellow Events
May 30th, 2018


The 2017 – 2018 Humphrey Cohort with Program Director Jack McCarthy and Assistant Director Jelena Durkovic

On Monday, May 7th, Questrom School of Business Dean Kenneth W. Freeman and the HHHP team welcomed faculty advisors, professional affiliates, host families, and other friends and supporters of the Program to the Questrom School of Business in celebration of the 2017–2018 Fellows’ successful completion of the Fellowship year at BU.

The evening began with opening remarks by BU HHHP Director and Associate Director of Organizational Behavior Jack McCarthy. After reflecting on the professional, personal and academic growth of the Fellows, Professor McCarthy thanked the many people who are part of the extensive network of faculty, staff and friends who devoted their time to making the Fellows’ experiences meaningful and engaging throughout the 2017-2018 Fellowship year.


2017 – 2018 Class Speakers Alena Vachnová & Collen Masunda

We were honored to have multiple professional affiliation hosts join us to celebrate including Sarah Ciambrone, Director of Clinical Innovations at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Catherine Bolinger, Senior Risk and Compliance Officer at Accion, Deborah Drake, Vice President of Accion, and Laura Le Drean, Executive Editor at National Geographic Learning.

The program also featured videotaped congratulations by former President Jimmy Carter.

The 2017–2018 Class Speakers were Collen Masunda (Zimbabwe) and Alena Vachnová (Slovakia) who delivered a wonderful speech on behalf of the cohort. Their speech reflected on their professional achievements throughout the year, and the sense of community they felt as a cohort. They acknowledged the long road each of them still have ahead as they continue to define their personal goals and integrate back into the workforce in their home countries. Speaking of the diversity within the group, Alena thoughtfully noted about each of their home countries that “now, each of these countries has a face attached to it.”


BU HHH Director Jack McCarthy, Keynote Speaker Robert Loftis, Friend of the Program Al Petras, and Humphrey Fellow Milena Vučinić

Our Keynote Speaker for the evening was Mr. Robert Loftis, former US Ambassador to Lesotho and Director of Graduate Studies at the BU Pardee School of Global Studies. From 1980 to 2012, Mr. Loftis served in the State Department and Foreign Service, where he held many roles including serving as Senior Adviser for Security Negotiations Agreements, Deputy Chief of Mission to Mozambique and, most recently, as Inter-agency Professional in Residence at the United States Institute of Peace. He was also the lead negotiator for a status of forces agreement with Iraq, as well as the Deputy Executive Director of Implementation Planning Team for the creation of the Department of Defense’s new Africa Command (AFRICOM). His previous overseas assignments have included the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, and the U.S. Embassies in New Zealand, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau.

As Keynote Speaker, Mr. Loftis delivered a speech about the challenging times we live in, but reminded the audience of how far we have come. Since the inception of the Humphrey Fellowship Program, diseases have been eradicated, wars have ended, and progress continues to be made toward bettering the lives of people around the globe. He then acknowledged the accomplishments the Fellows have made during their Fellowship year. As they return to their home countries as Humphrey alumni, Mr. Loftis encouraged them to continue striving to directly touch the lives of ordinary people, because “individually, we may not be able to change the world, but if each of us makes a small effort, the effects are going to be quite profound.”

Special thanks to longtime host family member Don Murray for his wonderful photography during the event.

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