Humphrey Fellows talk social justice with Jimmy Carter

Nancy Mendy with President Jimmy Carter.
Two of Vanderbilt University’s Humphrey Fellows, Nancy Mendy of the Gambia, and Geeta Motilal of South Africa, visited Emory University in Atlanta to attend the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program’s 28th Annual Global Development and Social Justice enhancement workshop.

Mendy and Motilal participated in lectures and workshops on economic inequality and women’s education, including one led by President Jimmy Carter, a longstanding champion of human rights. In a discussion with Humphrey Fellows from 46 different countries, Carter shared his perspective on fighting for justice on a global stage. He later spoke with Motilal about a Habitat for Humanity project in her hometown of Durban, South Africa, in which 100 houses were built in five days.

Geeta Motilal and President Carter.
“It was a surreal experience to be in President Carter’s presence, knowing his stature and his contributions to the causes of humanity,” Motilal said. “He was approachable and down to earth, and it’s clear that he cares so deeply about and is committed to human rights.”

Vanderbilt’s nine Humphrey Fellows are principals, school superintendents, government education officials and nonprofit managers selected for a 10-month professional and cultural exchange at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development.

They collaborate with Peabody faculty, attend lectures and symposia, participate in community service projects, share their cultural heritage at area schools and interact with diverse education and government leaders. By the time they complete the fellowship, they will have created an action plan for implementing an education program in their home country.

The Humphrey Fellows complete their time in Nashville this month.

Contact: Nancy Dickson, (615) 390-0812