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Humphrey Fellows Kick Off Syracuse Experience

September 10, 2021

Humphrey fellows fall 2021During orientation in early August, 11 Maxwell Humphrey Fellows from nine countries broke into small groups to get to know each other. Activities that build relationships and other orientation events set the stage for the 2021-22 cohort’s 10-month program of professional development, academic study and cultural exchange at Syracuse University.

The three-week orientation introduced fellows to the program, fellowship components and expectations, academic opportunities and core public administration principles. Orientation also introduced fellows to each other, the Syracuse campus, Central New York and the United States.

The fellowship enables cross-cultural exchange, leadership development and to consider issues from afar, returning home with new perspectives and skills to make a transformational impact in their countries. Along the way, the fellows also make an impact on individuals and organizations here in the U.S.

“The opportunity for exchange is one of the key tenets of the Humphrey Fellowship Program,” said Syracuse Humphrey program director Margaret Lane. “Long after fellows return to their countries, they maintain ties to people and organizations in the U.S. and with their Humphrey colleagues around the world.”

The midcareer professionals from emerging democracies and developing countries will build personal and professional relationships that will grow their understanding of issues in their own countries and around the globe. While at Syracuse University, Fellows will engage with students, faculty, civic organizations and their professional counterparts in diverse learning and exchange opportunities.

Orientation included a presentation on group dynamics and communication, led by Catherine Gerard, professor of practice of public administration and international affairs at Maxwell. The session included a self-assessment tool and communication techniques. Grant Reeher, political science professor and director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute, provided overviews of American political institutions and the concept of American exceptionalism and the American system of federal government.

Orientation also included sessions on policy analysis, NGOs, nonprofits and citizenship. Syracuse University Chief Financial Officer Amir Rahnamay-Azar spoke on financing nonprofit organizations, and Maxwell Dean David Van Slyke welcomed fellows, highlighting the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of the school and university.

They also met virtually with two Syracuse Humphrey alumni: Andrijana Vojnovic of Serbia, 2012-2013, and Barbara Barrios Dumanoir of Panama, 2019-2020. They offered perspectives on making the most of their Humphrey year.

Syracuse's 2021-22 cohort, their native countries and Humphrey interests include:

  • Marien Alvarado Franco, Guatemala: digital transformation and innovative processes and data science for public policies
  • Dramane Bouko, Benin: leadership development, managerial skills, NGOs and peacemaking
  • Sunghae Cho, South Korea: strategic planning, public management and national security including mutually beneficial collaboration
  • Wendpanga Dipama, Burkina Faso: leadership development, national security and counterterrorism
  • Juan Gowland, Argentina: public-private partnerships to foster digital transformation
  • Mphatso Gunda, Malawi: technology policy, policy analysis and implementation
  • Fawad Hassan, Pakistan: public policies’ influence on growth and development
  • Aleksei Karnaukhov, Russia: public administration, anticorruption of politics, lobbying, public decision-making and use of AI to investigate corruption
  • Ahmad Noor, Pakistan: public administration and public policy with a focus on sustainable development, international development cooperation and post-conflict reconstruction
  • Burhan Rasool, Pakistan: public policy, smart cities, cybersecurity, big data analytics and technology policy
  • Khalisa Shahverdiyeva, Azerbaijan: public policy, gender policy and gender responsive climate policy

Maxwell’s fellows are among the year’s approximately 160 scholars from 95 countries. Syracuse University is one of 13 campuses across the country to host Humphrey Fellows. About 145 fellows from 75 countries have called the Maxwell School and Syracuse University home during their fellowship year since 2009.

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program began in 1978 to honor the late Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and his lifelong commitment to international cooperation and public service. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by the Institute of International Education.

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