Twelve Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows arrived this fall at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development for a year of professional development, cultural exchange and Southern hospitality. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Humphrey Fellowship Program focuses on leadership and professional development and mutual exchange for mid-career professionals committed to leadership and service in their home countries.
Members of this year’s cohort hail from Bangladesh, Barbados, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Ukraine. The 12 fellows bring a diverse array of professional experiences in a wide range of contexts to the Peabody and Nashville communities.
Despite the current pandemic, the fellows are eager to learn and engage with their new community. Early on, they participated in a welcome dinner, meeting friends and families who were the first of many connections they will make during their time at Vanderbilt. These “Friendship Families” are local to Nashville and join the program every year to help the fellows with their transition to the city.
The fellows also attended a leadership retreat at Evins Mill in Smithville, Tennessee. “I have learned a lot from the cohort members about their cultures and profession, and [orientation] created a sense of a much stronger bond and relationship among the Humphrey Fellows and the Humphrey team,” said Fazna Yoosuf Fariq, a fellow from the Maldives.
More recently, the fellows have participated in weekly seminars to supplement their learning, audited classes across Vanderbilt’s campus, and engaged in professional development opportunities, including an upcoming professional affiliation experience. The fellows have expressed excitement about engaging with Vanderbilt students and faculty to learn more about the best practices they can implement at home. The Humphrey Fellows also are eager to explore Nashville and take in all it has to offer.