Program Manager Jelena Durkovic Delivers Baby Girl

August 10th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

baby-girl-birth-announcementWe 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.

2010–2011 Fellow Ganga Gautam (Nepal) Featured in Newsweek Magazine

July 29th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

Ganga Gautam (2010–2011/Nepal) talking to a group of girls about study skills in rural Nepal

We are pleased to report that 2010–2011 BU Humphrey Fellow Mr. Ganga Gautam’s work to empower adolescent girls in Nepal against the phenomenon of menstrual shaming has been featured by Newsweek magazine.  As an Echidna Global Scholar at the Brookings Institution in 2015, Ganga and his team—a nurse, a doctor and a gender activist—visited fifteen schools in remote areas of the country and taught 75 girls how to make, wash and store cotton menstrual pads.

They also engaged the girls, as well as their parents and teachers, in discussions about the importance of leadership, study skills, and time management.

Here is a link to Ganga’s report, “Empowering Adolescent Girls in Rural Nepal,” and here is an article published by The Brookings Institution, with a video of Ganga speaking about the project.

Juan Carlos Rivera (2014–2015/Panama) Leading Mangrove Reforestation Project with Peace Corps

July 24th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0350.JPGWe are pleased to share recent news of 2014–2015 Fellow Juan Carlos Rivera of Panama, who is leading a mangrove reforestation joint project between the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP) and Peace Corps Panama. Together with UTP Professor Eny Serrano and two volunteers, Juan and fifty of his students have so far planted over 10,000 mangrove seedlings in the Azuero Peninsula—Mr. Rivera’s home region and the location of UTP’s Azuero Campus.

“This region has been severely impacted by deforestation and salinization due to unsustainable farming and shrimp farming practices,” Juan explains. “Cutting down mangrove forests affects marine nurseries and, in turn, our fisheries. Moreover, with the barrier that the mangroves once provided now gone, salty breezes make their way inland and deteriorate the soil.”

Juan and his team are working to reforest sixty abandoned shrimp farms with native mangrove trees.



Trilingual Book Edited by Assistant Director Konstantinakos Published

July 15th, 2017 in Uncategorized.


A trilingual photo-essay book edited by Assistant Director Cyrus Segawa Konstantinakos has just been released. The ABCs of Chamorro: An Alphabetical Journey Through The Culture of the Mariana Islands promotes awareness of the indigenous Chamorro culture of the western Pacific. It combines text with photographs and local artwork to introduce a cultural topic for every letter of the Chamorro alphabet—in three languages: Chamorro, English and Japanese. The book will be sold to tourists (about 90% of whom are Japanese), with revenues supporting donations to local schools, where it will be used as a textbook.

Over 100 local residents contributed to this book. The project was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Guam Legislature with additional support from the University of Guam and the Boston University School of Education.

During production, the project was featured in Languages in a Global World: Learning for Better Cultural Understanding, a book published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and by @SED the alumni magazine of the BU School of Education.

The book has been featured by USA Today, the Pacific Daily NewsGuam Daily Post, and the BU School of Education.

Follow-Up with Meeting IIE on HER Program Final Reports

July 15th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

The Higher Education Readiness (HER) Program, an initiative launched by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Ethiopia in 2013, provides young women in secondary school from underserved communities with education and training to complete their secondary education and succeed at university or the workplace. It further empowers them to build confidence in their abilities and effectively communicate their needs and opinions.

Ms. Evgenia Valuy, Evaluation Officer at IIE’s Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact, manages the HER Program’s monitoring and evaluation. In late January, she presented her methods and findings to BU Humphrey Fellows at IIE’s New York headquarters. The Fellows appreciated gaining an M&E perspective on this successful initiative, as they themselves are working to break the cycle of poverty and gender inequality within their respective countries.

The HER Program’s evaluation reports were recently made available to the public. On June 6th, Beatriz Gonzalez of Panama and Pakaiphone Syphoxay of Laos met with Ms. Valuy for a discussion of the reports and the lessons that the HER Program may hold for other countries. Here are three takeaways from that discussion:

Consider local need and leverage local expertise to address it.

For example, IIE works with local organizations in Addis Ababa to deliver entrepreneurship and reproductive health training to HER students and their parents and to train teachers in student-centered, gender-sensitive methods. These local experts bring into the HER Program a keen sensitivity to the context and needs of participating students.

Modify components to fit your program’s needs.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. From IIE’s experience with HER, we know that participating students found leadership and life skills trainings to be instrumental in building their self-esteem and developing effective communication skills. If you are planning to work with young professionals, these trainings may need to be modified to account for potential differences in age, professional background, and cultural differences in female behavior.

Implement the program component you can.

Successful, well-established programs have interdependent components that complement one another in producing program impact. Does that mean that a program is valuable only if you can fully replicate it? Absolutely not! Understand the local context, be realistic about your financial and human resources, and implement what you find most valuable and sustainable first.

Here are a few reflections on the meeting by Ms. Gonzalez, Ms. Syphoxay, and Ms. Valuy:

It has been important for us to learn more about HER project during our HHH Fellowship Year because it gave us ideas on ways to implement a similar program in our countries in order to empower girls and women. I think the HER Program could be replicated elsewhere to help girls and young women living in poverty to obtain the confidence and tools necessary to shift their situation, become empowered and change their economic situation.                              

—Beatriz Gonzalez

 From the discussion I have gained detailed information about how to implement a similar project in my country, with perspectives on certain aspects that can be easily adopted and others that would need to be modified to the Laotian context.

—Pakaiphone Syphoxay

IIE welcomes collaboration among the participants of the IIE-managed programs and encourages learning from program evaluation. Sharing the HER program implementation and results with Humphrey Fellows has been a rewarding experience. It is delightful to see how the HER program’s impact is expanding beyond HER girls and their families to other IIE participants and their home communities. We are proud of our alumni and are inspired to see their ideas grow into new programming to improve the lives of girls worldwide.

—Evgenia Valuy

A Final, Informal Gathering with 2016–2017 Fellows

June 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

9.6.2017 (3)

On Tuesday, June 6th, all of the Fellows who still remain in Boston visited our 704 Commonwealth Avenue office suite for a final, informal gathering. Over coffee and donuts, Sevgim Çisel Çelik Keskin of Turkey and her husband, Sera Latu Kaukilakeba of Fiji and her husband, Mahmoud Mohammadi Khomeini of Iran, Josiane Sylvie Mbakop Noukeu of Cameroon, and Pakaiphone Syphoxay of Laos joined the coordinators for casual conversation, a few laughs and, at the end, a few tears.  We felt the presence of the other Fellows as we enjoyed one final, happy get-together.  

We shall meet again!

Seven Fellows Complete Bloomberg Terminal Certification at Questrom

June 6th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

We are pleased to announce that seven members of the 2016–2017 cohort have completed the Bloomberg Essentials Program in the Frederick S. Pardee Management Library at the Questrom School of Business:

  • Valeria Rios Molina, Bolivia
  • Josiane Sylvie Mbakop Noukeu, Cameroon
  • Latu Sera Laukilakeba, Fiji
  • Pakaiphone Syphoxay, Laos
  • Beatriz Gonzalez, Panama
  • Sevgim Çisel Çelik Keskin, Turkey
  • Edward Kapili, Zambia


Bloomberg Essentials (BESS) offers the skills and knowledge needed to access the Bloomberg Business Terminal, a platform that enables professionals in finance and other industries to monitor and analyze financial market data in real time and place trades.

The online program consists of instructional videos, four of which are required and one of which the student may choose from the following options:


Core Videos
Market Sector Videos (students select one)
Getting Started
Equity Essentials
Bloomberg News
Fixed Income Essentials
Market Monitors and Launchpad
Foreign Exchange (FX) Essentials
Commodity Essentials

Congratulations Beatriz, Edward, Josiane, Pakai, Sera, Sevgim, and Valeria!

Family and Friends Gather for Farewell “Indoor Barbecue”

May 9th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

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.

Fellows and Friends Celebrate 2016–2017 Commencement

May 9th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

2016–2017 BU Humphrey Fellows with Keynote Speaker Agnes Igoye (missing: Mr. Zamir Khan of Pakistan)

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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 12.09.08 PMThe 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.

Keynote Speaker Edward Kapili

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.


Keynote Speaker Agnes Igoye

Keynote Speaker Agnes Igoye

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.



2016–2017 Seminar Concludes with Final Leadership Session and Luncheon

May 4th, 2017 in Uncategorized.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 4.27.44 PM

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.