Class of 2018 Fellows wrap up time at Yale

News from the World Fellows Program
It’s with a mixture of pride and sadness that we gathered on December 6 to say farewell to the 2018 Fellows.

During their time with us at Yale, the 2018 World Fellows examined how each one of them—from different disciplines and different places, different creeds, classes and colors—contributes towards making our world a better place.

They emphasized the importance of democracy, and why despite its flaws, it still remains the best system of government. They highlighted the role of NGOs in providing services to, and advocating for the rights of, the most marginalized and vulnerable; and the role of the media in informing citizens and helping to hold politicians accountable. They described the endeavors of the United Nations to bring peace – and of local communities to achieve justice. They illustrated individual efforts to understand and prevent extremism—and the utility of military force to deter and defend. They advocated policies to slow down climate change. They showed the power of poetry and how the arts can raise the human spirit.

In an era of rising populism and polarization, where identity politics is driving us further from each other and walls are going up, World Fellows show that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

We wish the 2018 World Fellows well as they return to their homes.

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of the World Fellows Program. Best wishes for an enjoyable holiday season!

Emma Sky
Director, Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program

2018 Fellows share insights, expertise through campus talks

The 2018 World Fellows spent this semester giving guest lectures in classrooms, mentoring Yale students, writing fiction and poetry, publishing op-ed articles, recording audiobooks, leading Facebook Live chats with female leaders, researching in the Yale archives, hosting reading groups on campus, and visiting local high school students for career strategy sessions.

Each week, the World Fellows gave talks on an incredibly broad range of topics, including reconciliation after genocide, agriculture in the Middle East, running presidential campaigns in Latin America and Russia, humanitarian efforts in Africa, journalism in the digital age, alleviating poverty through education, the state of democracy in Turkey, combating environmental disasters in the Caribbean, and promoting social change using art.

Fellows meet with leaders in Washington

The 2018 World Fellows traveled to Washington, D.C. from October 17-19 for a series of meetings with leaders from a wide range of institutions, including the American Bar Association, the Washington Post, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

While in town, the Fellows also took a private tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, visited the U.S. Capitol and Senator Dick Durbin’s office, and enjoyed dinner with Ambassador Swanee Hunt, founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School. Fellows also networked with alumni, students and friends of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs during the Institute’s annual fall reception.

Fellows meet with high-level staff at U.N.

On November 9, the 2018 World Fellows spent a day at the United Nations in New York City. The Fellows met with several officials, including Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and a former Senior Fellow at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

The Fellows enjoyed a brief tour of the artwork inside the United Nations, visited the Situation Center, and networked with Yale and World Fellow alumni during a reception at the Yale Club of New York City.

New episodes added to World Fellows Podcast Series

Interested in learning more about an individual Fellows’ life and work? Subscribe to the World Fellows Podcast Series, which features 15-minute long interviews by World Fellows Director Emma Sky.

The latest podcasts include interviews with numerous 2018 World Fellows, including:

  • Sultan Al Qassemi, United Arab Emirates-based art collector and columnist – listen
  • ElsaMarie D’Silva, Indian gender activist and founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation – listen
  • Sylvia Aguilera Garcia, human rights expert from Mexico, discusses the “disappeared” in Mexico and her work to improve human rights – listen
  • Thynn Thynn Hlaing, an international development professional from Myanmar, describes the crisis in her country and her work for Oxfam in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Liberia – listen
  • Omar Mohammed, Iraqi historian and creator of the blog “Mosul Eye” – listen
  • Ibrahima Amadou Niang, an activist, poet, and author from Senegal, discusses his passion for writing and his work promoting democracy in Africa – listen
  • Joy Olivier, South African social entrepreneur, explains what Nelson Mandela means to her, the impact of starting the nonprofit IkamvaYouth, and her new initiative growing medicinal cannabis – listen 
  • Elpida Rouka, a long-time U.N. staffer from Greece, discusses what the United Nations means to her after 15 years working in Jerusalem, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria – listen
  • Pilar Velasco, a Spanish Journalist, discusses journalism as a public service: how it informs citizens, exposes corruption, and helps hold governments accountable – listen

Go to our webpage to download all of the podcasts in the series or search for “World Fellow” in Soundcloud.

In closing

The 2018 World Fellows concluded their four-month journey at Yale during the Closing Ceremony in Horchow Hall’s GM Room on Dec. 6, 2018.

The 16 Fellows and three Associate Fellows were recognized for their contributions to the Yale community, and each received a certificate. The ceremony was attended by friends and family members of the fellows, student liaisons who worked with fellows, Yale faculty and World Fellows & Jackson Institute staff.

Pericles Lewis, Yale’s Vice President for Global Strategy and Deputy Provost for International Affairs, offered welcoming remarks. He underscored the Fellows’ contributions to the Yale community. “Yale has been immeasurably enriched by your presence here,” Lewis said.

Emma Sky, director of the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program, also gave remarks.

“You are extraordinary role models. You have mentored Yale students, inspiring the new generation and influencing the paths that they will follow in their lives as they stride forth determined to leave the world a better place than they found it,” Sky said.

“You have felt the joy that emanates from fellowship. You have made friendships here that will last a life time. You have shown that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. You have demonstrated how each one of us can make the world a little bit better by how we live and what we do each day,” she said.

“Take what you have learned from your time here at Yale and invest it back into your communities so that others benefit from your experience. Go make the world a better place. And go forth with our love,” Sky said.

World Fellows ElsaMarie D’Silva and Ibrahima Amadou Niang were selected by their cohort to offer reflections. The two talked about the close relationships developed over the course of the semester, and reflected on each Fellow’s unique characteristics and contributions to the group.

The two invoked the words of American poet Mary Oliver, whose poem “What I Have Learned So Far” offered a framework for characterizing the Fellows’ time at Yale and what they will do in the future.

“Yale and the World Fellows Program have given us the opportunity to plant a seed. That is the seed of fellowship and common purpose. The responsibility lies with us to water the seed with our kindness and mutual support so that it can grow into a majestic tree whose branches can offer us shelter when we face hardships – and whose fruits can feed our minds and bodies to achieve great things for our countries. As Mary Oliver suggested ‘all kindness begins with the sown seed,’” D’Silva said.

Susie Beyl, a Yale College undergraduate who served as a World Fellows liaison this semester, spoke about her experience. She reflected on the close relationships she built with several Fellows and the mentorship they provided.

“I wanted to interact with the world in a new way; through those who were changing it. Seeing the Fellows, who seem to me like they have already left enormous legacies of change worldwide, congregate at Yale to continue learning about and from each other is inspiring,” Beyl said.

“I believe there is a lot of truth in the statement, ‘You have to see it to be it.’ As a liaison, now having seen it, I will think back with unending gratitude to the 2018 class of Fellows with each step, whatever it might be, as I try my own hand at ‘being it,’” Beyl said.

The 2018 Fellows now join the World Fellows Network, a community of more than 300 fellows from 90 countries.

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