Peer to Peer provides insight into program participants’ experience

Huong HaIn March 2019, Humphrey Fellow Huong Ha shared her experience as an investigative journalist in Communist Vietnam. In an hour long presentation at the Maxwell School, she discussed how government control of the media looms over journalists’ efforts to provide information to the public. Her talk, “Truth Under Censorship: Investigative Journalism in Vietnam,” was one of 14 Peer to Peer presentations with speakers from 10 countries during the 2018-19 academic year.

Since 2010, Executive Education has provided the forum for Exec Ed students, Humphrey fellows, and visiting scholars to present a 20- to 30-minute talk and lead a discussion on a topic of their choice. Peer to Peer discussions often address current events, providing cultural context through the speaker’s personal experience.

Ha, an award-winning reporter who has covered politics, public policy, and environmental issues, appreciates the freedom of speech she experienced in the United States and at Maxwell. “That presentation motivated me to work as hard as I must to make sure that no one in my country hesitates to discuss the works of the government,” she said.

Ha spent her Humphrey fellowship year focusing on the relationship between the media and public policymaking. She also enjoyed attending Peer to Peer sessions. “They were a chance to enrich my knowledge but also challenge myself about how to be open and adapt the new ideas from people who are from different backgrounds and culture,” she said.

Last year’s Peer to Peer series included presentations on urbanization in China, interagency collaboration in the I-81 replacement process in Syracuse, gender-based violence in India, and resilience in Ukraine, among other topics.

The talks, which are open to the Syracuse University community, typically are recorded, captioned and posted on the Maxwell School’s Peer to Peer playlist on YouTube.

Peer to Peer reflects the diverse professional experience and interests of Maxwell’s midcareer professionals, said Margaret E. Lane, Exec Ed’s assistant director. “Our students are leaders of organizations and agencies from around the globe who are dedicated to public service and have insights to share,” she said. “In sharing their insights, they enrich us all.”