25 Reflections From Past Fellows

Humphrey alumna Ilona Bicevska was invited to be a speaker at the Sardinia and Kiev Human Rights Documentary Festival. Photo Credit: Ilona Bicevska

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has hosted the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program for four consecutive years starting in 2010. Previous cohorts range in professions from documentary filmmakers, to public relations professionals and journalists. The grantees from several countries comprise a total of 39 fellows, from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Many fellows have returned home and gone on to achieve great things and make a powerful impact in their communities, advancing new projects or building upon the ones they had in mind when they began their fellowships. It is interesting that once you are a Humphrey Fellow, you are always a Humphrey Fellow and the opportunities and potential for growth and service are limitless.

Reflection Question: Share one key takeaway about your fellowship year that you have used since returning home.

Photo Credit: Alma Telibecirevic

The HHH program changes anyone’s life. I have a wider approach to all possibilites, and better perspective. For sure I am even more confident and I have professional contacts all over the world now. Since I came back, I am helping the U.S. Embassy here to promote the program, as I know that there are plenty Bosnian professionals and amazing individuals who could benefit from it, and simultaneously the program could gain a lot from them. Alma Telibecirevic – Bosnia and Herzegovina

I was particularly impressed with Professor Dan Gillmor and how he conducted his Digital Media Entrepreneurship classes. I have been incorporating his style of pedagogy in content, methods and assessments in the classes I teach at MNU, especially in the Multimedia Journalism and Advanced Web Journalism courses that I teach. Lujain Ismail Shafeeq – Maldives

It is all about leadership that is not formal but inspiring, and consistency in life, career and decisions. Evgeny Kuzmin – Russia

Photo Credit: Aleksandra Dukovska

It takes a lot of practicing and sharing the knowledge with others. It takes time, although over time people start to listen to what you have to say. Aleksandra Dukovska – Macedonia

To show my performance better and to give my media lectures in different institutions of Jacobabad and Karachi. Mukesh Kumar – Pakistan

I am proud enough to say that I am using the expertise developed during my Humphrey year and I am growing faster. My journey after the Humphrey fellowship is remarkable. Now I am leading programs in Bangladesh. Mohammed Alauddin – Bangladesh

The two-day training I give on leadership reflects what I learned during my scholarship. Simply, my first time to know what leadership really means was during my Humphrey year. Mona Abdel Alim – Egypt

I am enjoying living in a small country, where everything is happening fast and you can connect with people via just one person. I’ve become more organised (I think) and delegate more. Ilona Bicevska – Latvia

Nikiwes Bikitsha, Humphrey alumna (left) covers Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December 2013. Photo Credit: Nikiwes Bikitsha

I’ve spent time training and mentoring young broadcasters. I’ve opened up a new world and business connections thanks to the exposure and training on networking I received during my Humphrey year. Nikiwes Bikitsha – South Africa

Even though it was hard to fully apply my skills and knowledge gained in the U.S. at my government job (due to the slow process of reform within entrenched government structures) I am using my knowledge within the implementation of development projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a speaker on conferences where I am able to directly transfer my know-how by explaining the benefits of a particular process. Also, one of the most important ways I am using my Humphrey year benefits is through a developed network of contacts where I collaborate in different projects. Lejla Kapetanovic – Bosnia and Herzegovina

I introduced some leadership skills that I learned from the program and also the culture of volunteerism, which is not very popular in my country. Taati Niilenge – Namibia

My year as a Humphrey fellow was pivotal in terms of my professional development, because it opened up new worlds of knowledge and it allowed me to interact with people from different backgrounds, abilities and points of view. Therefore, I had the opportunity and the challenge to develop new skills and improve others. Antonio Jimenez – Costa Rica

Reflection Question: How did your Humphrey year shape you as an emerging leader?

The HHH program is one of the best programs for professionals. You get exposed to everything you could ever dream about. For the first time in your life, you have to actually decide what you really want to do. The fact that you are studying, traveling, meeting professionals from all over the world shapes you as a better person and positions you as an amazingly skilled expert. Before it you are a leader in your country. With this program you become a part of world leaders. Alma Telibecirevic – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Having to take on tasks in an impromptu manner during the year provided me with the confidence that I would always hit the ground running. Lujain Ismail Shafeeq – Maldives

Photo Credit: Aleksandra Dukovska

Leadership could be something that one has as a quality, or simply something that one can learn. The success in both cases is valid only if one can see personal satisfaction in leading. Aleksandra Dukovska – Macedonia

Humphrey alumna Mona Abdel Alim (fifth from left) at the inauguration of Egypt’s Humphrey Alumni Forum. Mona was appointed new Humphrey team leader. Seventh from the left is Judith Gibson, director of the Institute of International Education (IIE). Photo Credit: Mona Abdel Alim

One of the most important sets of skills required in a changing world are the skills of leadership. I have learned leadership tools and techniques during my year in America and it really rebuilt my ideas and helped me to grow as a change maker. Effective leadership is one of the keys to our future success, and that was my takeaway from this fellowship. Mohammed Alauddin – Bangladesh

It gave me time and opportunity to reflect on what I really want to do and what is important to me, and I am firmly going after my passion. Kibnesh Fulas – Ethiopia

It helped me to be independent. Mona Abdel Alim – Egypt

I’m more assertive and confident about future goals in the industry. I’ve learned a lot about the media industry and new trends that have shaped my business goals. Nikiwes Bikitsha – South Africa

I am much more of a team player, knowing how to hear the words of others and to include them in different activities. The Humphrey year also helped me to create a vision where I am exactly aware where my place in the future will be and all things I am doing now lead toward it. Lelja Kapetanovic – Bosnia and Herzegovina

The program really help me to be confident and to venture into projects that I thought were impossible. I learned to be courageous and speak out for what I believe in. Because of the program, I learned that it is possible to use my journalism career to change situations in my country. Taati Niilenge – Namibia


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