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.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

The MacMillan Report featuring Claudia Valeggia

Claudia Valeggia talks about the health of indigenous peoples.

December 5, 2018  (25:10)

Claudia Valeggia is a biological anthropologist at Yale University. She studies the interactions between human reproductive biology and the ecological and cultural context in which it develops. Her research interests include human reproductive ecology, reproductive endocrinology, maternal and child health, evolutionary demography, and biodemography of aging.

Learn more about Claudia Valeggia.

Click in and learn!

Bolsonaro’s Impact on Global Markets

Brazil’s Jair Messias Bolsonaro takes the presidential oath of office on January 1. “Bolsonaro follows a series of public corruption scandals that led to political chaos,” explain Claudia Ribeiro P. Nunes and Pedro D. Peralta for YaleGlobal Online. Nunes is a visiting scholar with the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies with the MacMillan Center at Yale and deputy coordinator of the Graduate Program in Law at Veiga de Almeida University. Peralta is a researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Veiga de Almeida University. The writers explain that Bolsonaro veers in his positions on trade, urging reforms for the South American bloc Mercosur to promising flexibility, questioning Chinese influence via foreign direct investment during the campaign and later calling China a “great cooperation partner.” Another foreign policy concern is Venezuela, Brazil’s neighbor to the north in chaos due to mismanagement, corruption and poverty. US President Donald Trump has called for intervention, and the Bolsonaro administration has signaled alignment with the Trump sphere of influence. – YaleGlobal

Energy’s Changing Role in Relief Aid

Conflict and disasters have increased human displacement to record levels worldwide, requiring efficient distribution of humanitarian aid. Focusing on renewables for provision of energy services could promote sustainability, explains a team of writers representing the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, the World Bank, Chatham House and Energy Peace Partners. “At present, operations overwhelmingly rely on diesel for transport and electricity generation, and wood and charcoal for household cooking, which displaced people often buy or collect,” the writers note. “Such practices outlast initial emergencies as refugee settlements grow into small cities and peacekeeping operations drag on for years with impacts on health, environment and safety.” Energy is essential for large populations of refugees and displaced people, and host countries seek to conserve their own limited resources. The writers, reviewing some innovative programs and funding mechanisms, conclude that the aid and peacekeeping sectors could lead on delivery of new energies. – YaleGlobal


Christopher Andrew on the lost history of global intelligence

Christopher Andrew (middle) signing copies of his new book "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" on which his lectures were based.

Christopher Andrew, Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Cambridge and former Official Historian of British Security Service MI5, delivered this year’s Stimson Lectures on World Affairs, a series of three lectures that took place over the course of the first week in November at the MacMillan Center. Known for his scholarship on the history of intelligence, he addressed the topic “The Lost History of Global Intelligence—and Why It Matters.”

Throughout the three lectures, Andrew stressed a few overarching themes. He noted that although the strategic importance of signal intelligence (SIGINT) is commonly accepted, there is a surprisingly poor understanding of its history. “No WWII or post-WWII profession was as ignorant of its own history as the intelligence community,” he said, attributing this ignorance to the inherently clandestine nature of espionage operations. Because of its ignorance of its history, the intelligence community is unable to learn from past mistakes. Andrew said, “intelligence history is not linear… it sometimes goes backwards.” He also expressed frustration at how modern SIGINT is commonly seen as more advanced than SIGINT in history, using as an example the code-breaking superiority under Queen Elizabeth I compared to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Higher Education Learning Crisis

University of Denver graduates celebrate by throwing caps in air; journalism class at University of Missouri with more than 150 students

Reading, thinking and writing allow individuals to magnify their influence, noted 20th century writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley. Society expects education to open opportunities for students to improve themselves and their societies, and yet there is a crisis in American undergraduate higher education as students simply do not learn, explain Richard H. Hersh and Richard Keeling. Hersh, formerly president of Trinity College and Hobart and Smith Colleges, now teaches at Yale, and Keeling is president of Keeling & Associates, a higher education consulting practice. “Other countries have increasingly emulated American universities because of prestigious worldwide rankings, but such emulation may be hollow as rankings are based on scholarship and research prowess, measured by numbers of publications and scholarly citations, not undergraduate learning,” they write. “Too many graduates are not prepared to think critically and creatively, speak and write cogently, solve problems, comprehend complex issues, accept accountability, take the perspective of others, or meet employer expectations.” Hersh and Keeling urge faculty and students alike to embrace the ongoing cumulative and collective nature of higher learning while constantly aiming for higher standards of competence. – YaleGlobal


Committee advises converting Jackson Institute into school of global affairs

55 Hillhouse Ave., home of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale.

Yale’s Jackson Institute should become a school of global affairs featuring a robust, faculty-driven research program dedicated to solving real-world problems and shaping a better future for humanity, according to a vision described in an advisory committee report released Nov. 14.

Founded in 2010 largely as a teaching enterprise through a generous gift from John Jackson ’67 and Susan Jackson, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs currently houses a thriving educational program that serves hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students each year. In 2017, Provost Benjamin Polak convened an advisory committee of eight senior faculty members to consider the institute’s future and assess whether Jackson should be transformed into an independent professional school.


Lessons for the Crisis Fighters

One challenge in studying a once-in-a-century financial crisis is that it only happens once in a century; lessons aren’t easily passed down to the people who will face the next one. Yale SOM’s Andrew Metrick and a team at the Yale Program on Financial Stability are studying the global financial crisis of 2007-09, working to create the knowledge and tools to prepare the next generation of policymakers who find themselves in the eye of a monetary maelstrom.

New Players in a Dollarized World

Dethroning the dollar: European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker with America First Donald Trump; during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Indonesians fight to obtain dollars

The International Monetary Fund points out that Europe, Latin America and Asia had started a gradual shift from reliance on the US dollar in 2000 that was disrupted by economic crises. The process of seeking alternatives begins anew as advanced and emerging economies alike are disturbed by America First policies that include tariffs and sanctions. The US dollar accounts for more than 60 percent of foreign-exchange reserves and global trade transactions. “Transition from the US dollar-based environment is possible, but will be slow and the new reality will involve a competition from several pretenders for the status of the dominant currency,” explains Michal Romanowski. The rest of the world has long regarded the United States as a safe haven, and ongoing demand allows the country to refinance its debt at low costs. But US dollar dominance complicates monetary policies for Europe, Iran, Turkey and others. Russia is reducing investment in US debt obligations. China, while moving cautiously in this area, takes steps to position the yuan as an international currency. Romanowski concludes that the world should prepare for a more multipolar currency landscape. – YaleGlobal

Retirement: No More Golden Years

Seniors in a California home exercise while seated; Japanese elderly work out

The world has inequalities of many kinds, and retirement is no exception. Government-sponsored pensionable retirement programs are popular worldwide, regarded as essential in the wealthiest economies. “Retirement programs are similar in purpose, yet differ considerably in scope, coverage, contributions, requirements, taxes, eligibility and benefits,” explains demography expert Joseph Chamie. “Official retirement ages, for example, range from 50 to 70 years, with most concentrated between 60 and 65 years.” Longer lifespans increase the years people spend in retirement, increasing costs for governments, employers and individual retirees. According to Chamie, solutions include hiking retirement ages and reducing retirement benefits, increasing taxes, shifting from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans, and promoting incentives among workers to save more and work longer. Protests quickly form when governments move to cut retirement benefits, and many workers worry that a comfortable retirement is not in their future. – YaleGlobal