Humphrey Fellows leave with new tools and many memories
At least one Maxwell School Hubert H. Humphrey
fellow closed her Syracuse University chapter with good-natured relief at navigating
logistical challenges of the program, truncated because of the COVID-19
pandemic. “Failure was not an option,” Piyabelan Bouyo of Togo said during the
Humphrey year-end celebration.
Others praised professors, leadership
lessons, host families and opportunities to learn with and from each other. “At
the end of the day it is all about people, people that will be in our hearts,
in our minds and are the ones who make the memories,” said Débora Teixeira of
Syracuse’s 2020-21 Humphrey Fellows,
Maxwell’s 12th cohort, built relationships over six months at
Maxwell, where they engaged in academic study, professional development and
cultural exchange. The midcareer professionals hail from Brazil, Guatemala,
Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo.
The fellows completed “an impressive
journey in very uncertain times,” said Margaret Lane, Humphrey Fellowship
Program director and Executive Education assistant director.
She praised the fellows for mirroring
the personal and political courage and optimism of the late Senator and Vice
President Humphrey, in whose honor the program was created in 1978. “You, like
Hubert Humphrey, have taught us that people from all nations have more in
common than we have differences and you have inspired us with your commitment
to expanding international understanding, education, cooperation and development
to ensure our mutual goal of a more just, equitable and peaceful world,” she
Catherine Gerard, associate director
of Executive Education and Maxwell professor of practice who teaches the
Humphrey leadership course, spoke briefly about leadership and American values.
“We hope as you leave here and think about implementing change that we’ve given
you just a few tools and concepts to add to your toolkit to make you more
effective as a leader,” she said.
that the international visitors witnessed an unprecedented attack on American
democracy when supporters of the former president stormed the U.S. Capitol in
an attempt to overturn the October 2020 election. “I hope what you’ve learned
is the fact that democracy is a fragile thing,” Gerard said. “And you have to
fight for it.”
Here, she continued, “We talk about
[the problems]. We try to address them. We try to be better over time. … That’s
the story of America and the story of leadership, which is to make those
changes to try to make things better.”
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. Maxwell’s fellows are among the year’s approximately 127 scholars
from 81 countries. Syracuse University is one of 13 campuses across the country
to host Humphrey Fellows. Approximately 135 fellows from 72 countries have
called the Maxwell School and Syracuse University home during their fellowship
year since 2009.
cohort will arrive Aug. 3 for a 10-month fellowship at Maxwell.
The personal and global challenges of
the pandemic and growing racial and partisan tension underscore the need for
Humphrey fellows’ talent and commitment, said Temitope Aladesanmi, a 2015-16 Humphrey
fellow from Nigeria.
“The world therefore needs a new class
of leaders,” he said, “men and women who are able to commit themselves to
social changes that reduce hatred and build a just society not only based on
laws and norms, but also in love and equity. To me, this is the core and
essence of leadership.”
Maxwell’s newest Humphrey alumni are “eager
to employ skills and knowledge thus far acquired to help a sick world,” Aladesanmi
said. “I do not have any doubt that this cohort will go ahead and champion
positive changes in their various communities.”