On Saturday, May 6th, Faculty Advisors, host families, coordinators, Fellows, and a few family members and friends gathered in the Terrace Room on the second floor of BU’s George Sherman Union for an “indoor cookout” (because of rain), casual conversation, and the presentation of small gifts to the advisors and host families for their service to the Fellows and Program over the past ten months.
It was a lovely event, with parents, spouses, siblings, and children of Fellows and coordinators alike joining in the celebration of a fun and eventful year together.
On Thursday, May 4th, Questrom School of Business Dean Kenneth W. Freeman and the HHHP administrative 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 2016–2017 Fellows’ successful completion of the Fellowship year at BU.
The program also featured videotaped congratulations by former President Jimmy Carter.
BU is the only university to have continually hosted Humphrey Fellows since the Program’s inception in 1978, and this graduation marked a major milestone in our program’s history: with the graduation of this year’s ten Fellows, our global alumni network now exceeds 500 members.
The 2016–2017 Class Speaker was Mr. Edward Kapili of Zambia. Mr. Kapili is a manager at the Bank of Zambia who spent his Fellowship Year building his banking and finance expertise with an emphasis on financial markets and instruments. He completed a Professional Affiliation at Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy where he, along with four other members of the 2016–2017 cohort, contributed to a white paper on international remittances that will be delivered at the United Nations this fall. He is currently engaged in a second Professional Affiliation in the Fiscal Affairs and Monetary and Capital Markets departments at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. Upon his return to Zambia, he will tackle issues related to income inequality and financial exclusion based on age and gender.
Mr. Kapili delivered a series of heartfelt reflections on behalf of the entire cohort, which may be accessed here.
The keynote speaker was Ms. Agnes Igoye of Uganda. Ms. Igoye is a 2010–2011 HHHP alumna of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She is currently a Mason Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Uganda’s Deputy National Coordinator of Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and the Training Manager at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control. She is a global anti-human trafficking activist and leader, having advised organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration and spoken at multiple international conferences and universities. In 2015, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in Africa by New African magazine. Other awards include the University of Minnesota’s Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals and the Inspirational Woman of Uganda Award, and she was recently selected as one of 50 emerging Global Women leaders by the Women in Public Service Project. In 2016, she was featured in The Atlantic magazine.
Ms. Igoye spoke movingly to the Fellows on the theme of “making choices.” Her speech may be accessed here. We were also honored to welcome several of Ms. Igoye’s colleagues at Harvard: Kwame Rugunda, Allen Asiimwe and Sheila Kyarisima of Uganda and Gautum Gandhi of the U.S.
Several of the Fellows’ family members and friends attended the ceremony. Pakaiphone Syphoxay’ husband and daughter attended, along with her friend Priya Adhisesha Redd of India, a current Humphrey Fellow at Emory University. Also in attendance were Ms. Josiane Sylvie Mbakop Noukeu’s sister Nya Micheline, Ms. Sevgim Çisel Çelik Keskin’s parents Yalçın Çelik and Seyhan Çelik and her husband Mehmet Serhat Keskinand, Latu Sera Kaukilakeba’s husband Soni, and friends of Valeria Rios Molina and Beatriz Gonzalez.
Everyone missed Mr. Zamir Khan of Pakistan, one of the members of this year’s cohort, who unfortunately had to return to Pakistan early because of work responsibilities. Mr. Khan is Senior Joint Director of the Payment Systems Department at the State Bank of Pakistan.
Special thanks to longtime host family member Don Murray for his wonderful photography during the event. Don’s photos may be viewed here.
On Monday, May 1st, Fellows and coordinators gathered for the final meeting of the 2016–2017 Spring Seminar. The three-hour session began with a delicious lunch of Turkish cuisine organized by Program Manager Jelena Durkovic.
BU HHHP Director and Associate Director of Organizational Behavior Jack McCarthy delivered his final lecture on leadership development. He summarized the leadership lessons of the entire year, emphasizing the changing nature of leadership, and how existing models are outdated, and underscoring why Kouzes and Posner’s MICEE Model (Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, Encourage the Process) are more relevant today than ever. He also reminded Fellows of the two core capacities of leadership in the 21st century: Adaptability (flexibility and openness to change) and Identity (self awareness and presence).
With this year’s cohort just days away from their Commencement and subsequent return to their respective countries, Prof. McCarthy concluded his lecture with a clip from the 2002 film, The Emperor’s Club in which a private school teacher edifies his students on the meaning of the Latin phrase Finis origine pendet—”the end depends on the beginning”—and presented Fellows with the final words of Robert Frost’s classic American poem, “The Road Not Taken”:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Following Prof. McCarthy’s lecture, Fellows and coordinators made declarative statements about their personal and/or professional goals going forward.
On Friday, April 28th, the Fellows gave team presentations on selected, admired leaders to an audience of their cohort, coordinators, and Dr. Chris Roland—one of the facilitators of our fall orientation retreat who provided individual leadership coaching sessions for the Fellows this spring.
The Admired Leaders presentation event is the capstone session for the Fellows’ year-long leadership development seminar led by Dr. Jack McCarthy, HHHP Director and Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior. The cohort had been working over the entire Fellowship year toward this session, which served as a platform for them to demonstrate leadership and teamwork through working together and acting upon the lessons from Dr. McCarthy’s lectures and their coaching sessions with Dr. Roland.
Each team presented on their Admired Leader for fifteen minutes, and ten minutes of Q&A followed. The Fellows were instructed to choose by consensus someone who exhibits exemplary leadership and to avoid “celebrity” leaders (e.g., Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, etc.). The Fellows presented on the following leaders:
Majid Samii, a distinguished Iranian-German neurosurgeon and medical scientist who established Africa 100, an education foundation for training 100 neurosurgeons across Africa. Presenters: Mahmoud Mohammadi Khomeini, Josiane Sylvie Mbakop Noukeu, Beatriz Gonzalez, and Zamir Khan
Strive Masiyiwa, a London based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of the international telecommunications group Econet Wireless and a member of the Africa Progress Panel, a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Presented by Edward Kapili, Labada Mini, and Sera Kaukilakeba
Each team presented for fifteen minutes, and 10 minutes of Q&A followed.
After each team completed their presentation, each Fellow within the team provided a five-minute, personal summary of their own Leadership Development Plan with reference to the key lessons they learned over the past year.
It was a wonderful afternoon of presentation and discussion, and it was also the last opportunity for the entire 2016–2017 cohort to meet as a group.
On Friday, April 7th, the cohorts of MIT, Cornell, and BU gathered at Endicott House in Dedham, Massachusetts for a full day of activities focused on Fellows’ re-entry into their respective countries and cultures. Endicott House is a Normandy French-style chateau with 25 acres (100,000 square meters) of gardens, lawn, woods, and ponds that MIT owns and operates as a conference center.
In preparation for the event, the Fellows read an essay entitled “The Process of Re-Entry” by Gary Weaver, a professor at American University for over 45 years who presented several times on the topic of cross-cultural adjustment at the Program’s Global Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.
The day began with a continental breakfast followed by welcome remarks by directors Bish Sanyal (MIT), Peter Gregory (Cornell), and Jack McCarthy (BU). Fellows and coordinators then divided into groups to discuss these questions:
- What have you learned about the U.S.?
- What have you learned from one another?
Following the discussions, Bish Sanyal and Peter Gregory led a debrief session in which representatives of each group summarized their groups’ responses. The exchange was vibrant and informative, with Fellows sharing many candid insights and reflections in response to the above questions.
Jack McCarthy then led the Fellows outdoors for a round of the team-building game “Pipeline” as an exercise in leadership under uncertainty and complexity. Pipeline is a group cooperation and problem solving activity in which teams create a moving, free-standing “pipeline” by constructing a makeshift conduit as a metaphor for moving water from a remote well to a village or town in need. In this exercise, marbles are used as a proxy for precious water; Fellows must work collaboratively in diverse teams to move as much “water” as possible without contamination or spills from a starting line into a cup about 25 feet away. The challenge is that each participant has only one short length of pipe, and the marbles must be allowed to roll freely, which requires careful coordination, adept communication, and inclusive leadership—all of the skills that they will be exercising as global leaders upon their return home. It is always a dynamic and meaningful exercise with many leadership lessons!
After lunch, Associate Coordinators Nimfa de Leon and Louise Elving (MIT), Francine Jasper (Cornell), and Jelena Durkovich and Cyrus Konstantinakos (BU) led the Fellows in another round of discussions, this time focused on the topic of Re-Entry. The Fellows responded to these questions in their groups:
- How have you changed (if at all)?
- How do you think people back home will perceive how you’ve changed?
- With (1) and (2) in mind, what challenges do you foresee?
- What are you looking forward to?
In the ensuing debrief, Fellows again shared a wide range of insightful and moving reflections.
We were joined at this workshop by Dr. Yseult Freeney from Dublin City University in Ireland, a faculty colleague serving as a Visiting Fellow in the Organizational Behavior Department at the Questrom School of Business. Dr. Freeney is a scholar and expert on career transitions and was able to have many valuable conversations with Fellows at the workshop about their upcoming transitions for re-entry back home.
This workshop was useful to the Fellows in contemplating their own journey home—and it also served the coordinators who will again, soon, have to bid farewell to another wonderful cohort.
On Thursday, March 16th, BU Humphrey Fellow Sevgim Çisel Çelik Keskin of Turkey, BU Fellow Pakaiphone Syphoxay of Laos, and MIT Fellow Heba Khalil of Egypt teamed up to present on “Women in the Workforce” at a Mayor’s Office-sponsored symposium hosted by Boston City Hall.
The symposium kicked off a new exhibition entitled “Earned: Women in Business and Labor,” which is co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Offices of Women’s Advancement and Arts & Culture. Additional support was provided by the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program (WGS) at Boston University, Gender & International Development Initiatives of the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center (GaIDI/WSRC), and the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail.
The exhibition coincides with Women’s History Month in the United States and International Women’s Day on March 8th, which has a 2017 theme of “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030.” It will run until April 6th.
BU HHHP Assistant Director Cyrus Konstantinakos moderated the symposium. After his introductory remarks, BU College of Fine Arts Assistant Professor of Art & Photography Toni Pepe presented a brief introduction to a multi-modal literacy workshop that she and her colleague, CFA Assistant Professor of Art & Graphic Design Laura Grey ran for BU Fellows last fall, which had assisted them in their preparation of a presentation on women’s economic empowerment that they delivered in Washington, DC at the Humphrey Program’s Global Leadership Forum.
Following Professor Pepe’s remarks, the Fellows presented on the following topics:
Women’s Labour Force Participation and the Feminist Movement in Turkey
Sevgim Çisel Çelik Keskin
The Role of Space in Mediating Gender Equity
Women’s Economic Empowerment in Laos: Rural and Urban Dimensions
An audience of about 25 attendees included city officials, heads of local NGOs, staff and guests of the BU and MIT Humphrey Programs and the BU Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, and students and staff of the Community College Initiative—another international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which is hosted by Bunker Hill Community College (BU HHHP’s Associate Campus Partner). This diverse group of stakeholders enjoyed a discussion following the Fellows’ presentations, and conversations continued during the reception that followed in City Hall’s Scollay Square Gallery.
On Monday, March 13th, undergraduate Business and Management majors from Bunker Hill Community College, our Associate Campus Partner, visited BU for a joint symposium on the topic of Financial Inclusion. The Symposium was organized by BU HHHP Assistant Director Cyrus Konstantinakos and Program Manager Jelena Durkovic and was moderated by HHHP Director and Associate Professor Jack McCarthy.
The Associate Campus Partnership (ACP) was established in 2007 with the aim of promoting alliances between Humphrey host universities and colleges with student populations that may not have opportunities to interact with international visitors such as Humphrey Fellows. Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) is a two-year community college that provides higher education and job training services to 14,000 students in the Boston area. The student population is nearly 70% minority and over 50% female; it is one of the most diverse colleges in the region.
In the past, BHCC and the BU HHHP have undertaken various joint initiatives such as essay contests and dramatic productions on personal financial planning, a photo-essay project with students of the Community College Initiative (another State Department-led exchange program that invites college graduates from selected countries to spend a year in the U.S., hosted by BHCC), and in 2015–2016, a first-ever research report of articles written by Humphrey Fellows and BHCC faculty on the topic of financial inclusion.
This year, we organized a special joint symposium in a round robin format in order to support robust participation among all the attendees and enable more intimate conversations than has ever been possible using traditional symposium formats. BHCC Business and Management majors in classes taught by BHCC Professor Wissal Nouchrif, and others who came to us through BHCC’s Single Stop program led by Director Kathleen O’Neill, joined a handful of Questrom students and Humphrey Fellows in small group discussions that flowed across a wide range of topics—from from personal experiences to national, regional, and global issues and initiatives.
Financial inclusion is indeed a topic of paramount importance to both community college students and Humphrey Fellows at BU, who specialize in banking, finance, education, and public policy. The symposium was a great success, and it has become a signature event of our longstanding and close relationship with Bunker Hill Community College.
On Friday, March 3rd, the Fellows joined Professor Sandra Deacon’s undergraduate seminar on leadership, The Leadership Challenge, as surprise guests and examples of emerging global leaders in the third installment of the BU HHHP’s Global Leadership Symposium at the Questrom School of Business. This symposium has become an integrated element of both the BU Humphrey Program Seminar and Professor Deacon’s curriculum on the global dimensions of leadership in the modern world.
In the first half of the three-hour class, HHHP Director Jack McCarthy first delivered a lecture on Global Leadership in Action, concluding with the question, “If you had an opportunity to actually meet with a global leader, what sorts of questions would you ask?”
After a short break, the Fellows joined the class in a dramatic surprise and introduced themselves, their professional backgrounds, their goals for the Fellowship year, and their plans for the future. They then divided into small groups with Professor Deacon’s students for a series of 10-15 minute rotating, small-group discussions. The students themselves have impressive backgrounds and talent in their own right, and there was a great deal of mutual learning during these intimate conversations.
At the end of the period, Professor McCarthy moderated a whole-class debrief in which many resonant lessons on global leadership emerged. Some of the students later told Professors Deacon and McCarthy that this was not only their best class session this semester but among the best of their entire undergraduate experience at Boston University.
This signature event enables Fellows and Questrom students to engage in important cross-cultural dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of global leadership in the modern world.
Former Bank of America SVP Al Petras Leads Session on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) for Financial Institutions
On Friday, February 24th, Al Petras led a special session on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for financial institutions.
Business Continuity (BC) planning is the development of strategies used to recover from an interruption in business operations. Planning helps the organization’s critical business processes to continue with minimal interruption or impact after any kind of event disrupts normal business activities. Establishing and maintaining sound BC practices is a requirement of both the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates and reviews banks for BC compliance, and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). Outside of the U.S. there are additional standards to follow including guidelines offered by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for the UK and those presented by other National Monetary Authority bodies such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Business Continuity Management Guidelines from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
This was a highly valued session to many of our Fellows, as BC/DR is an up-and-coming area for banks in many countries undergoing development. Al was recently instrumental in helping large banks in China to develop their BC/DR plans.
On Monday, February 13th, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Humphrey Fellowship Program Dr. Jack McCarthy first led Fellows through a dynamic seventh session on leadership development, and then he was joined by longtime colleague Eliza Lay Ryan, a graduate student and faculty member in BU’s College of Fine Arts. Ms. Ryan is also Head of Acting for the New York Film Academy at Harvard University. She led a stimulating and provocative professional development workshop on what she has branded as “Supermindfulness.”
Broadly defined, supermindfulness is a combination of mindfulness and flexibility; it blends science, mindfulness studies, and the tools actors use to stand in other people’s shoes for greater agility, creativity, communication, ease and efficiency in work, school, and life.
Ms. Ryan led the Fellows through a variety of simple exercises to underscore the perspectives and communication strategies that supermindfulness aims to cultivate. In one activity, for example, the Fellows paired up, one Fellow started walking, and the other Fellow followed closely behind, mimicking the lead Fellow’s pace and walking style. The simple but important point of the exercise was to underscore that, by adjusting oneself to others in terms of pacing and other characteristics, one can better synchronize with others. In terms of communication, trying to adjust oneself to the other’s pace and style of speaking can make a significant difference in improving the quality of communication and bringing about positive outcomes. As Ryan explains:
“The physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the self relate in a kind of feedback loop. If you furrow your brow and think “life is good” you’ll notice that you are at odds with yourself. If you crinkle your eyes and raise the sides of your mouth, you’ll notice that you feel the emotion of happiness. In this way we can give ourselves the experience of different ways of being; ways of being we might not usually have ready access to. When we don’t have ready access to a way of being, we can’t use it in a situation where it might be helpful to us. Our creativity, therefore, is limited. One way can we increase our experiencing is through other people. If I move the muscles of my body to walk like you, then I can feel like you.”