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Executive Master’s Student Named Eisenhower USA Fellow

August 7, 2023

The fellowship supported Heather C. Fischer’s recent trip to Malaysia and Thailand to study forced labor in global supply chains.

Heather Fischer
Heather C. Fischer

Heather C. Fischer, a graduate student in the executive master’s in international relations (E.M.I.R.) program in Washington, D.C., has been named a 2023 Eisenhower USA Fellow. One of 11 recipients of the honor by the organization Eisenhower Fellowships, she was selected for her work fighting human trafficking and other human rights crimes in the national security space.

Named after the U.S.’s 34th president, Eisenhower Fellowships was founded in 1953 to provide mid-career leaders from around the world the opportunity to travel to different countries to connect with fellow professionals of their respective fields.

Fischer works as the senior advisor for human rights crimes at Thomson Reuters Special Services, a D.C.-based data and technology company. As a contractor for the federal government, she helps inform the company strategy to combat human trafficking, safeguard children from online sexual exploitation, pursue human rights violators, and promote women, peace and security.

Heather Fischer Eisenhower trip
Heather C. Fischer is shown with, from left, Ekachai Pinkaew of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, and human rights activist Sompong Srakaew of the Labor Rights Promotion Network, on a tour of a migrant Burmese community outside of Bangkok, Thailand. During the tour, Fischer spoke with workers about conditions in seafood processing factories.

The fellowship supported Fischer’s recent travel to Malaysia and Thailand to study best practices to address forced labor in global supply chains and develop a U.S. public awareness campaign to educate consumers about making ethical purchasing decisions for goods and services free of forced labor. Her academic research work during the fellowship was supervised and supported by Jay Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance and director of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab.

“Heather and I are working with Thomson Reuters to develop a technical bulletin to educate multi-national corporations, governments and NGOs as well as consumers on the important issues of forced labor in supply chains,” says Golden. “A key component of our work is to provide both public policy and business strategies to assist in identifying and eliminating products that are derived from forced labor around the globe.”

Before joining Thomson Reuters, Fischer worked for the McCain Institute, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House. She was a special advisor for human trafficking and the inaugural human trafficking czar during the Trump administration.

Fischer enrolled in the E.M.I.R. program in August 2021 to enhance her policy-based perspective in support of her work.

“Obviously, my time in government provided valuable public affairs experience, but I was really thrown into the deep end of the pool,” she said in a Fall 2022 Maxwell Perspective article. “When I saw Syracuse was offering an executive master’s program in conjunction with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, I knew this would be a great opportunity to work on the theory around the intersection of national security and human rights.”

By Sophia Moore

Published in the Fall 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

In the Heart of the Nation

Heather C. Fischer is pursuing an executive master’s in international relations (E.M.I.R.) in the Maxwell School’s Washington, D.C. program. Learn more about the signature program, offered in partnership with the top-ranked Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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