Office of International Programs hosts leadership workshops for Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship for first time

International professionals in the 2022-23 class of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows are engaging in professional development opportunities around the country, which brought them to Wayne State for four days in April to participate in workshops designed to help them become more empathetic, knowledgeable and involved leaders.

A Fulbright Exchange Program funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Humphrey Fellowship enhances leadership among international professionals who collaborate to address local and global challenges.

This year, the program brought 156 mid-career professionals from 87 countries, working in 19 industries, to the United States for six-weeks to share best practices and build expertise in fields of critical importance to advance societal and institutional capacity, promote human rights and freedoms, ensure sustainable environments and develop thriving communities. Fellows are placed in cohorts at one of 13 host universities where they take classes, network with other professionals and participate in development workshops like the one held at Wayne State.

This is the first year the university was awarded the workshop program, which focused on intentional leadership and provided the framework for fellows to examine their leadership style, experience and goals, and determine how they can become agents of positive change.

A prestigious award, some applicants like Falume Dade applied for the fellowship several times before being granted a position. Traveling from his home country of Mozambique, Dade was adamant about participating in this program.

“I would like to strengthen my leadership skills and be a part of the future generation of African leaders,” explains Dade. “I feel like this kind of workshop will be a great addition to my career.”

Humphrey fellows can be found in any industry interested in developing equitable leaders. Among others present at the Leading Effectively and Equitably workshop was Gesuardo Arzuaga, director of a human rights organization in Colombia, and Heontaek Yoon, assistant director of the Korean Postal Service.

The workshops helped fellows think deeply about what it means to be a leader, with a particular focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This focus brought José Marrero, a representative from the State Department, to the conference.

“When I was offered this opportunity, I didn’t have to think about it twice. I had to come here,” Marrero says. “It’s not only part of our regular Humphrey Fellowship activities, but it’s one that includes a key priority of the current administration.

“We get people to meet each other, what we call people-to-people exchanges, and this is a great way to bring people from different countries to meet everyday Americans.”

The Fulbright Exchange initiative works to foster these connections, and exchanges of ideas, between people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. For people like Dade, there was no better place to learn and practice these skills.

“This is the perfect program for any mid-career youth around the world,” says Dade. “The Humphrey Fellowship provides the perfect tools for our career, and having the opportunity to attend this kind of leadership workshop is a good opportunity to fill in the gaps that we have in our previous experience.”

--By Patrick Bernas, Office of International Programs editorial associate

The Office of International Programs leads Wayne State’s global engagement by creating opportunities that foster international education and research, facilitate the exchange of individuals and ideas that promote global competencies and citizenship, and provide resources that support the expansion of the university’s global agenda. Follow us @WayneOIP.

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