Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"The Israeli Voice: Telling the November 2012 Story of the life of the VCU Humphrey Fellows" by Suzan Ben-Ezra (Israel)

The adventures of the VCU Humphrey Fellows in November 2012 started with a tour to Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA, experiencing the American history first hand; it was wonderful experience. The actors and the live history that I shared with my friends was unique and helped us to understand the American history of those days. We shared this experience with Bob and Crystal that were our tour guides, friends and colleagues all together. We missed Bola and Jezelle on this tour, who could not join us.

We started with a briefing by Bob and then toured the city, heard the stories and participated in events in the spirit of the time.

In the evening we went to dinner at a local tavern.

On our way to Jamestown we took a break on the shore of James River.  Imagine if it were summer now….

Historic Jamestown was the first English settlement in the "new world". We saw restoration of the houses and boats and we shared in a group effort…..

And then we needed to rest

Pictures are worth thousands of words!

November movie night in Dos Santos family house was a cultural and happy social event. We continued our movie night tradition and shared Brazilian food and movie. Claudemir picked a police movie and we learned about the crime in Brazil. Sandra (Claudemir's wife) refined our shock from the movie with some good homemade Brazilian food J

November was a month of studying as well and we learned methods of "creating a change" with Dr. Mary Nash.

We had a visit in the Psychology lab (if you found an intoxicated mouse please help him to find his way back to the lab) :-) 

On our field trip to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) we met our Humphrey colleagues from John Hopkins University. Winnie Mitchell, International Officer, and Nadine Benton introduced us to the work and the different departments in SAMHSA. We heard from the heads of departments an extensive overview and opportunity for collaboration in the future. In the second day Dale Weiss, Associate Director from NIDA joined us. It was a wonderful two days of meeting our friends from John Hopkins and broadening our knowledge of SAMHSA's work.

At the end of the month Claudemir, Bola, Kouame  and me went to VSU (Virginia State University) in Petersburg, VA to share with the students healthy lunches- vegetables and fruit shakes and….pizza.

While the students enjoyed their shakes we shared with them information about our country's cultures, our work and the drug and alcohol situations in our countries.

Sooooo how do I summarize this month???!!!!

This is a typical Humphrey Fellow's month: we have cultural and historical learning, we have friends to share quality time, fun and good food, and we learn new skills and methods, enriching our networking and sharing our experience with others. All of this is during our own individual schedule and professional development activities, so I believe that from today our name will not be Hubert Humphrey Fellows….It will be: The Hubert Humphrey Super-Fellows!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"The Global Leadership Forum (GLF): A Fellow's Perspective" by Claudemir dos Santos (Brazil)

Global Leadership Forum
From 21 to 25 October 2012

2012-2013 Humphrey Fellows Day 1 of the GLF
The Global Leadership Forum (GLF) was an event long awaited by Humphrey Fellows for many reasons, such as the opportunity to meet other fellows and make important professional contacts, receive important information about the program and issues and concerns of today.

After a two-hour train ride we arrived at our destination expected in Washington, DC. The Key Bridge Marriott Hotel was the scene of this memorable event, where we were welcomed by the staff of the Institute of International Education.

Fellows enjoyed a tour of Washington DC and visited many historical landmarks. MLK monument featured here.
More touring beautiful Washington D.C.
On the first day, we did a little tour through Washington, DC and took pictures with the whole group in front of the Grant Memorial near the Capitol. At night we had dinner and listened to the words of welcome from Judith S. Gibson, Director, Humphrey Fellowship Program Division Institute of International Education and Dr. John Sedlins, Chief of Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch U.S. Department of State. We parted after the words of Dr. Allan J. Lichtman, Distinguished Professor of History at American University.
Judy Gibson addresses this year's Fellows, Director of the Institute for International Education
On Monday, in the morning we participated in a discussion to reach consensus on key issues and priorities of today. The Global Leadership Forum 2012 was designed to help Humphrey fellows to become strategic leaders with a vision and a plan to reach your goals. The activity Consensus Building gave us the opportunity to meet colleagues from other campuses and to work together on a fundamental leadership skill: building a consensus on difficult and contentious issues.
Fellows collaborating on the Copenhagen Consensus Building exercise.
In the afternoon had a talk with Shanta Nagendram, SkillFocus Director of Consulting, Humphrey Fellow, Tufts University: 1987 - 1988. The theme of the lecture SUCCESS! Shanta addressed skills, perspectives and knowledge they need to become an effective leader in the global 21st century. She shared her experiences of career and "lessons learned" to explore ways we can shape our own personal and professional future.

The Fellows and Assistant Coordinator at the State Dept Dinner. Great looking group!
At night we visited the beautiful and historic building of the U.S. State Department, and took pictures in Benjamin Franklin hall.

Fellows collaborate to solve problems facing our world.
In the morning of day 23, during breakfast, we met other fellows in the area of ​​drug prevention, treatment and education at Johns Hopkins University and also a Brazilian representative of the Pan American Health Organization, the UN body. Soon after we had a talk about leadership and public service with Lenneal Henderson, Professor of Government and Public Administration of William Donald Schaefer Center for Public Policy, University of Baltimore. Before lunch we also had a lecture given by a judge Yussef Auf Work and Family, Supreme Judicial Council's Court primary Giza, Humphrey Fellow, American University Washington College of Law: 2011 - 2012. He discussed how maximized their professional development activities during his year as Humphrey, utilizing effective networking techniques. He also discussed the strategies that he used to ensure a professional affiliation ideal for achieving your professional goals and individual.

VCU Fellows attended many activities, including this session on the resources available at NIDA
(National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Tuesday afternoon was marked with great opportunities for professional contacts. I (Claudemir) and Jezelle went to the Organization of American States (OAS) where we were very well received by Marya Hynes, Secretariat for Multidimensional Security from Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Organization of American States. We talked a lot about the area of ​​research and data on the Americas prevalence and patterns of drug use. I had the opportunity to meet one of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat of Brazil, who at the time was attending a meeting in the building. Rosie had a meeting in the World Bank, Department of Education and Suzan met senior vice president of Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Studies of the University of Chicago.

On Wednesday morning we visited public schools, High Schools in particular, in the Washington Metropolitan Area. In these visits we had the opportunity to share our experience as Humphrey Fellows and professionals and a bit of the culture of our countries. We also learned a bit about his plans and structure that school provides to help them achieve their goals.

In the afternoon we had a talk with Karen Meacham, Dean of Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy & Educational Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

This initiative strives to do what organizations are increasingly less able to do - to consider the long term implications of global trends at work today. It maps seven key trends that will bring change to the year 2025 and offers a detailed outline of the major challenges that lie ahead. The seven "revolutionary" change areas are (1) population, (2) resource management, (3) Technology (4); flows of information and knowledge, (5) economic integration, (6) conflict, and ( 7) governance. Each of these revolutions embodies both the promise and peril, and it is up to each of us to determine the trajectory that these revolutionary forces will follow.

For additional information about the Seven Revolutions, visit

Dinner at the GLF. Suzan Ben-Ezra (Israel) is seated at the table joined by Judy Gibson.

Claudemir dancing the night away!

The closing party occurred on Wednesday night. On the top floor we had a very pleasant evening with great music, dancing and fun. It was very interesting to see such a diverse group dancing each in their own style.

Driver's license

In October I got my driver's license! Now, I can go and explore Richmond area!

It's official! I am a licensed driver in the U.S.!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Richmond We Reach!" by Jezelle Charles 2012-2013 HHH Fellow (Trinidad and Tobago)


Richmond we reach!!!!!!!! We number seven and we are anxious but even more than that……..excited about the next ten months of our professional lives! What a great group!!!!!!!!!!!!! An opthamologist, a psychiatrist, not one but two social workers, a police officer, a teacher and a toxicologist. Nice mix 'ent?!?!!!!
Most of us got here on August 7th and spent two weeks with Crystal, who by the way should be the campaign person for the energizer battery, in a hectic orientation program aimed in getting us settled in and equipped with the basic needs to live in a foreign country with habits and customs different from our own cultures.

Week 1
We shopped!!!!!!!, turned generic apartments into homes, opened bank accounts, learnt the transportation system, got our office spaces and VCU ID’s, shopped some more, toured the campus and yes people we………………activated our gym memberships ……… I guess Fitness should be one of our personal goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cary Street Gym Facilities
Fellows being given a tour of the Cary Street Gym

Will We Ever Climb This Wall??????

The highlight of that week...a welcome pool party!!! We got to put faces with names we have only seen on paper and met the who's who of the VCU Humphrey Fellowship Program.

Poolside at our Welcome Bar B Que

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was our first taste of Richmond culture.

Waterfall at VMFA

Week 2
Ok so we had more orientation sessions covering the expectations of Humphrey fellows, academic courses, meetings with individual advisors, everything we need to know about remaining healthy and the assistance that can be provided by the GEO office.

We visited the State Capitol and learnt the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Now honestly, I’m not a history buff but that tour guide was so passionate and his delivery was so great even I learnt something.

On our tour of the Virginia State Capitol just steps away from our offices
For the rest of August we got deeper into our professional activities aided by field visits to institutions with the aim to increase our knowledge base and make professional connections.

The General Assembly

Visiting the General Assembly

Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) Center Virginia’s only statewide Recovery Community Organization

Field Trip at the SAARA Center

Virginia State University
This University is meant to be our collaborative institution.  This collaboration gives us an opportunity for us to pass on our knowledge to other graduate students, expose them about our individual countries, traditions, customs, culture and language.

Initial meeting at VSU

Dr. Mary Loos and Fellows discussing our collaboration this year

As I write there is so much we did in such a short space of time, wow!!!! So we did have some fun as well it wasn’t ALL WORK!!!!! 

D best way to do this is a Picture Gallery!!!!!!

Let's se we………………Danced – ‘Balia Baila’
Leslie, took us dancing people!!!!!!!!!! Boy did we have fun. Thanks Leslie
Suzan and Bola cutting a rug

Leslie and Kouame stayed in step

Cruised the Richmond Canal...............................................................................

Had a TRINI LIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
"Cause we Trinis like we belly and show love with food"

Trini Lime!

D bartender (togo) and D cook from Trinidad and Tobago!!!

Suzan enjoying the Trini feast

Rosie enjoying the Trini Lime, in the style of Mynmar!

D bellyful Fellows!
So when you hear Pony Pasture what do you think?????? Check it out………….No Ponies, horses or anything of the sort, at least not any more.  Now it’s just the most gorgeous view of the James River and an opportunity to just get in a tire and relax in the water.
Marcel, Bola and Kouame at Pony Pasture!

Diane at the James River with us

The beautiful James River

Sunset Hills Vineyard -- Wine anyone?!?!?!?!

Our group with the Winemaker himself; a VCU alumnus!

Some of us enjoyed a 'tasting'!
Maymont Park - It was a gorgeous day!!!!!!!!

The Duck Pond at Maymont Park

Friends strolling in the park

There is always time for a photo op!

...and another.

...and another! :-)

The mansion at Maymont Park

And finally, "Happy Birthday to you (pretend we singing) to Aunty Diane!!!" Randy helped us make sure it was a surprise. It was a nice way to end the very busy and eventful first two months here in Richmond, VA.

Birthday Presentation to Aunty Diane!

Our card, signed by the group of course.
A token of our appreciation