Global Leadership Forum 2011
I was invited to speak with the current batch of the Hubert Humphrey Fellows from Arizona State University about my experiences as a Fellow. More than 190 Humphrey Fellows from 93 countries have arrived in Washington DC for an annual event called the Global Leadership Forum. This is the first time when Fellows designated at 18 different campuses across the United States get a chance to meet each other in a week-long residential conference.
It just felt like yesterday when our batch of the Fellows had checked in at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel for last year’s GLF, which was addressed by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I was thrilled to meet Dr. Bill Silcock, Director of the Cronkite Global Initiatives, a project which supervises the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program. Dr. Silcock is undoubtedly one of my best professors and friends. It is always hard to decide whether Dr. Bill is greater as a professional or a helpful person.
The new group of the Humphrey Fellows was more diverse than our batch as there were ten Fellows from ten different countries whereas only eight countries were represented in our batch.
My hosts wanted me to inform the Fellows how they could make best use of the GLF.
“During the GLF,” I said, “business cards are more precious than cash money.” By this, I meant such conferences are a wonderful opportunity for professionals to connect with each other. No matter which country you come from and what profession you are affiliated with, the best way to make use of these crucial events is to mingle with people who are not from your profession, country and the host campus so that you get a chance to socialize with more new people. Networking is an extremely important aspect of the Humphrey Fellowship program.
To me, the Humphrey Fellowship is kind of an occasion when it becomes possible to respond to questions like”who would you chose to be if you were not who you are?” or “what would you prefer to do if you were not doing what you are doing now?”The program enables the professionals to make a new choice in the middle of their careers or also provide them a chance to further polish their skills and deepen the understanding of various issues.
I asked the Fellows to regularly blog about their experiences in the United States because people in their respective countries, who also aspire to get similar learning opportunities, would surely be interested in reading the ideas of the current Humphrey Fellows.
Lastly, I suggested some of the fellows to seriously consider writing books either in English or in their native languages in an effort to benefit from the availability of extraordinary resources during the fellowship year. Every Fellow has a wonderful Mentor to work with on such projects. These books should provide an insight about practices in the United States against how things are done in the Fellows’ home countries.