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by Joan Brasher | Sep. 13, 2017, 1:18 PM
The 2017-18 cohort of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows has arrived at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and human development for a year of professional development, cultural exchange and Southern hospitality. Representing 11 countries around the world, — Azerbaijan, Belize, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Uzbekistan — the fellows bring a diversity of professional experiences in a wide range of contexts to the Peabody and Nashville communities. This is Vanderbilt’s ninth cohort.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, focuses on leadership development, professional development and mutual exchange for mid-career professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to leadership and service in their home countries. This year’s cohort includes classroom teachers, development workers, policy makers and heads of education and cultural initiatives.
The fellows have already begun meeting with professors, learning about the latest educational research, attending classes and participating in a wide range of educational, cultural and career development opportunities offered by Vanderbilt. Their integration has been supported by a broad-ranging support network of faculty connections, student assistants and on-campus services. To make their stay hospitable, the fellows have been adopted by 27 volunteer “Friendship Families” from the community, who will help ensure that the new arrivals experience Nashville’s full range of cultural, historic and social offerings.
As part of their professional development experience the fellows will spend the next 10 months giving back to the Nashville community through acts of service and mutual exchange. The fellows have already begun visiting local schools and colleges and took part in a volunteer opportunity with Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Parent University at Trevecca Nazarene University. The cohort is slated to participate in the Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” volunteer event on Sept. 23.
Gabriel Alexandre dos Reis, who hails from Cape Verde, is already thinking about how the Humphrey Fellows program — which focuses on individual strengths — will translate to his work back home.
“It was very important for me to have an idea of my strengths, so that I can be more confident in personal or professional relationships,” he said. “The activities will make me be more mindful when relating with people in my work. As an individual who wants to make a positive change in my country, this opportunity will open my horizons on where and how to make those changes.”
At the end of their time in Nashville, the fellows will return to their home countries to implement action plans for increasing the impact of their work with schools, universities, non-profit organizations and the community.
An official welcome ceremony for the Humphrey Fellows will be held Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wyatt Center Rotunda.
Contact: Nancy Dickson, (615) 390-0812
Joan Brasher, (615) 322-NEWS
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