On Wednesday, September 27th, Deadline Kenneth Freeman welcomed the 2017–2018 cohort of Humphrey Fellows to Boston University at a formal reception hosted by the Questrom School of Business. Nearly forty guests attended, including former directors of the Humphrey Fellowship Program at BU, faculty advisors, host families, ad other friends and affiliates of the Humphrey Program from both within BU and the surrounding community.
Following introductory remarks by Dean Freeman and HHHP Director Jack McCarthy, each Fellow introduced him or herself to the audience, and the reception followed.
Here are a few images of the event:
2017 HHHP Student Assistants Madelaine Dean and John Courson
On September 25th, HHHP Director Jack McCarthy and colleague Eliza Lay Ryan, Head of Acting for the New York Film Academy at Harvard University and a graduate of the MFA Program at BU’s College of Fine Arts, led Fellows through a dual workshop on mindfulness and leadership.
Prof. McCarthy began with a lecture on leadership development. He emphasized key concepts such as the shift in 21st leadership priorities from Controlling, Ordering and Predicting (COP) to Acknowledging, Creating, and Empowering (ACE). He underscored how listening and inclusion are today much more important than directing and enforcing. He also introduced Boyatzis’s research on the ideal self as the driver of intentional change.
Ms. Ryan then led a stimulating professional development workshop on what she has branded as “Supermindfulness“—a combination of science, mindfulness studies, and the tools actors use to stand in other people’s shoes that promotes agility, creativity, communication, and efficiency in work, school, and life.
In one activity, Fellows paired up and mimicked one another’s walking styles. The poignant message of the exercise was that, by adjusting oneself to others, one can better synchronize with them. 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 happiness. In this way we can give ourselves the experience of different ways of being. If I move the muscles of my body to walk like you, then I can feel like you.”
On Friday, September 22nd, Lecturer in Organizational Behavior Jennifer Mandolese led an interactive session for Fellows on the topic of Strategic Communication. Ms. Mandolese teaches undergraduate courses on management communications and organizational leadership at the Questrom School of Business.
Ms. Mandolese began her session by citing a quote by American author, journalist and playwright James Thurber: Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden, thoughtless act.
She then led the Fellows in a series of exercises that prompted them to consider and discuss topics such as the nature of effective communication, the purposes of language, different communication styles, and the opportunities and challenges of nonverbal communication.
On Saturday, September 16, the cohorts of BU and MIT joined another group of Humphrey Fellows—the nine selectees of the 2017–2018 Distinguished Humphrey Leadership Program, for a day of lecture, discussion, and informal conversation. The events were jointly organized by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the national administrator of the Humphrey Fellowship Program, and MIT HHHP Coordinators Bish Sanyal and Nimfa de Leon.
Distinguished Humphrey Fellows are senior officials from nine countries who are poised to serve as leaders in advancing the public good through positive, near-term impact on policy formulation within their professional areas. They will spend the next three weeks in the U.S., during which they will join an executive leadership course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and then undertake job-shadowing experiences in various organizations across the country.
The Fellows of these three cohorts first gathered at the Hyatt Recency Hotel in Cambridge for a lecture and discussion with Dr. Richard Lester, Japan Steel Industry Professor and Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Professor Lester first described his role in advising MIT on all matters pertaining to the Institute’s major international activities and then, as a discussion starter, shared lessons on creativity and innovation from his book, Innovation: The Missing Dimension. A vibrant Q&A and discussion followed.
In the evening, everyone reconvened for a formal reception MIT’s Bush Room. Bish Sanyal started the event off by asking a few Fellows to share what they expected to learn, broadly speaking, during their Fellowship year that they believed they could transfer to their home countries. Among the Fellows who spoke, Distinguished Fellow Oleg Kolpashchikov of Russia offered that his time in the U.S. represented an opportunity to learn how to promote his ideas in the global arena. In a similar vein, Distinguished Fellow Ms. Fadzayi Mahere of Zimbabwe offered that her Fellowship represented an opportunity to test her ideas with American counterparts. A lively reception followed, with animated conversations taking place, and much synergy being discovered, throughout the room.
On Friday, September 11th, host family Al Petras and Janet Ferone led the 2017–2018 cohort in an engaging session on the elevator pitch and networking in general.
Al Petras is a former Senior Vice President at Bank of America and a BU alumnus. He has run this workshop for the past two years, and last year he also led a session on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) for financial institutions. He further arranged for the 2016–2017 Fellows and coordinators to spend an evening watching BU Men’s Ice Hockey from a special suite in Agganis Arena.
Janet Ferone is a former administrator for the Boston Public Schools and President of Boston NOW, the Boston chapter of the National Organization for Women. This year, Al and Janet have joined our team of host families, and they are hosting Ms. Erika Nárez Melgoza.
Al provided a cross-cultural introduction to the concept of the elevator pitch and offered a variety of useful perspectives and tips. After some discussion, the Fellows prepared and then individually delivered their elevator pitches and received group feedback.
Following Al’s session, Janet led a session on networking tips. She drew from both her own experience in leading an NGO and advocating for the Boston Public Schools, and also from a popular new book written by her colleague and friend Robbie Samuels, entitled Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic, Effective and Inclusive Networking at Conferences.
On Friday, September 1st, as the concluding event of our 2017–2018 orientation program, Ms. Ahsveena Gajeelee (2012–2013/Mauritius) visited our offices and discussed the Fellowship year with the 2017–2018 cohort.
Ashveena (Ash) Gajeelee is a public policy specialist with experience in government, regulatory affairs and negotiation. She is a Global Access in Action (GAiA) Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and an alumna and teaching fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she also has served as a Teaching Fellow in a course entitled Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change.
As a Humphrey Fellow in 2012–2013, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to research best practices of community development outreach and financial literacy.
Ash shared reflections on her experience as a Humphrey Fellow at BU and offered broad suggestions to the Fellows on how to approach their Fellowship year. She organized her remarks around the themes of Connectivity, Opportunity, Ambition and Aspiration, and Goals. She emphasized networking and its associated verbal and writing skills, the many conferences, workshops and other opportunities within Greater Boston and Cambridge, and the importance of setting out to make the most of every day. The Fellows responded with questions and much appreciation.
Ash has graciously offered to serve as a resource to the new cohort and to keep them abreast of events and other opportunities at Harvard in particular.
In the final days of this year’s orientation program and the beginning of our fall seminar, individual members of the 2017–2018 cohort gave two presentations—one on their respective cultures and one on their professions, objectives for the Fellowship Year, and plans for the future.
The Humphrey Fellowship Program is authorized under The Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961). Humphrey Fellows are expected to promote awareness of their respective countries and cultures while they also learn about culture and society in the United States. In preparation, Fellows delivered slide slide presentations to one another and the program’s coordinators on selected aspects of their home cultures. A couple of Fellows even shared some local sweets!
Following the cultural presentations, Fellows presented on the issues they aim to tackle in their respective countries and their associated plans for the Fellowship Year. These presentations enabled the Fellows to become better acquainted as professionals and the entire group of Fellows and coordinators to provide feedback on each Fellows’ plans for the next ten months.
On Tuesday, August 29th, we visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to meet its newly arrived cohort of Humphrey Fellows and their coordinators. Bish Sanyal, Professor of International Development and Planning and Director of the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS)/ Humphrey Fellowship Program, and Nimfa de Leon, Assistant Director of the SPURS Program, hosted us for an evening of dinner and discussion focused on Hubert Humphrey—his legacy and what it means to the Fellows as they contemplate the road ahead.
In advance of the gathering, the Fellows read “Into the Bright Sunshine,” an introduction to Hubert H. Humphrey and some of his greatest achievements, which the BU program previously produced as part of its 35th anniversary commemorative book, A Spirit of Participation. During dinner, the Fellows further viewed a short documentary on Hubert Humphrey and then divided into small groups to discuss two key questions: (1) Why do you think Hubert Humphrey was an outstanding leader? (2) Are there comparable leaders in your country? What are they trying to accomplish?
Following the small group discussions, everyone reconvened for debriefing and concluding remarks.
It was a meaningful exercise that engaged Fellows in thinking about the namesake of the Humphrey Fellowship Program and exchanging information about great leaders in one another’s respective countries—a healthy first step in building a relationship between the two cohorts over the course of the 2017–2018 year.
On Sunday, August 13th, all nine members of the 2017–2018 cohort of BU Humphrey Fellows arrived from Israel, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Pakistan, Slovakia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe. Their profiles may be viewed on the Current Fellows page of this website.
The first week of the orientation program focused on familiarizing the new cohort with BU’s Charles River Campus, health and safety services and housing options. In the second week, Fellows learned about academic study, research and other opportunities for engagement at BU and in the surrounding community.
On August 23–25 we traveled to Hancock, New Hampshire for a retreat at BU’s Sargent Center for Outdoor Education. With the assistance of outdoor educator and facilitator (and BU alumnus) Chris Roland, we enjoyed getting to know one another better, team building, hiking, canoeing and campfires.
The day after we returned to Boston, we held a Host Family Reception at our 704 Commonwealth Avenue office suite. The new Fellows got to know their host families, some of whom are new to the Program and others who have annually hosted BU Fellows for more than two decades.
On Monday, August 28th, the Fellows met with 2004–2005 BU HHHP Alumnus Lishala Situmbeko and his wife Hope. Lishala shared several reflections of his own experience as a Humphrey more than a decade ago and provided a few recommendations for how to make the best use of the Fellowship year.
We are off to a great start!
We are excited to announce that our Humphrey Program Manager Jelena Durkovic has successfully delivered a beautiful baby girl on July 13th. Jelena is doing very well and is resting and recuperating at home with her beautiful daughter and her husband.
We are thankful that Jelena and her baby are doing so well and look forward to seeing her soon.