Meet the Fellows

One of the first tasks the fellows engaged in was to shape their elevator pitches and personal mission statements, which they continued to refine throughout the year.

hhhportrait_01_smallMy name is Fernando Aguilar and I am a social communicator working for Quetzalcoatl Consulting Group in El Salvador. There, I lead communications strategies to promote the cultivation of the cocoa plant, which is the base for chocolate. My objective is to bring economic prosperity to the municipality of Izalco involving various sectors of society. During my Humphrey year I expect to expand my knowledge about communications strategies aimed at broad audiences using traditional and new communications platforms. I have a real passion for helping the people in my country. I love philosophy, languages, sports and arts. I am always looking into learning new things and sharing experiences with people.

hhhportrait_11_smallMy name is Hina Ali. I am from Pakistan. I have been working as a journalist for the last eight years, but for the last two years my focus has been on documentary films. I like to describe myself as a storyteller. In my country we have over 100 news channels that air only one kind of stories – news stories. To change that, I started making documentary films. News covers issues but does not always give you the human realities of the story. What goes on with those affected after a bomb blast? What it is like to live in poverty generation after generation? My documentaries are stories about average people; they are about you and me, and the outstanding struggles we make to live our average lives. During my Humphrey year, I focus on leadership qualities, visual storytelling and investigative journalism. Once back home I will continue on the same path and pass on my knowledge to young journalists. I love watching movies and karaoke.

Mission Statement: My personal mission as a Humphrey Fellow is to discover more about the woman I want to be, understand American society and enhance my understanding of visual storytelling and journalism.

hhhportrait_07_smallIvana Braga – Brazil. I am a Brazilian journalist who decided to work in communications to uphold human rights, especially for at-risk children and black women. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for almost 10 years. I develop communications strategies in online, print media and public relations. I also design and fundraise for social ventures, lead social mobilization actions, build coalitions with stakeholders from different sectors and advocate for public policies. I am learning English and working to further grow my communications skills on digital media and improve my leadership capabilities. I enjoy discovering new places, tastes, cultures and people.

Mission Statement: I have a strong sense of commitment with everything I join – family, friends, causes and career, for example. This feeling makes me strive to give my best and be a better person in all aspects. I believe that relationships build and change people, who build the world. I want to leave my best footprint where I am and with who I’m with, as my contribution to a better place to live. Even a little raindrop is able to impact the ocean.

hhhportrait_05_smallMy name is Maja Cakarun, and I come from Croatia, a small European Mediterranean country. I work as the head of the PR division in a public company called Zagreb City Holding, which provides public services. Prior to that, I worked in a government agency that administers EU programs and projects as a communication officer and project manager. I work in the public sector because I feel it is the best way to serve the community and to give back. I passionately believe in servant leadership. I see myself as an active and enthusiastic person. Routine is the worst thing for me. That is one of the reasons why I love PR – it makes you expand your boundaries and explore your creativity. My goal during this Humphrey year is to improve my skills as a communication professional, especially in the field of public campaigns and using social media. Discovering my leadership ability and potential is also one of the key features of my year in the U.S.

Mission Statement: My Humphrey year enables me to broaden my knowledge and understanding of the world and myself. I’m committed to global community building and my core values are empathy, optimism and passion for change and growth. The will and passion in everything I do gives a meaning to my life.

WahidaI am Wahida Ifat from Bangladesh. I am a communications professional working as an information manager in the communications and development services section in icddr,b, which is a leading international health research institution based in Bangladesh. icddr,b addresses some of the most critical public health concerns facing the world today. Before joining icddr,b I worked in BRAC. In BRAC I developed life-skills-based education materials for teenage children on issues such as reproductive health, child abuse and more. The program covered 150,000 underprivileged adolescents across the country. During my Humphrey year, I would like to broaden my knowledge and skills in strategic communications and social media. I want to utilise this tool to advocate and expand opportunities in the lives of people having limited choices in Bangladesh. Among my interests are painting and traveling.

Mission Statement: To enrich myself to enhance the lives of people in need.

hhhportrait_04_smallMy name is Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro and I am from the Caribbean twin-islands of Trinidad & Tobago. I am a marketing and communication professional with over 12 years experience in higher education. Currently, I work as the marketing and communications manager at The University of the West Indies – the largest university in the English-speaking Caribbean, which serves 16 islands. I have a keen interest in social media and online communication. In fact, it is also my doctoral research focus as I pursue a Ph.D. in Business Administration. In my Humphrey year I would like to learn how to leverage new digital media tools like social media for strategic communication and the advancement of education, particularly higher education in the Caribbean region. I have proclaimed 2013-14 my year of transformation, self-discovery and development, and so an important part of that process is understanding who I am as a leader and unearthing my true leadership potential. I love the outdoors and I am a huge sports fan. I especially love cricket and football (soccer). Two things on my bucket list  while here in the U.S. are to drive a monster truck and to go hunting and finally have permission to shoot something.

Mission Statement: To live a purpose-driven life.

hhhportrait_03_smallMy name is Steven Kapoloma. I come from Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. I am the chief communication officer for the Malawi Revenue Authority – a tax-administration agency like the Internal Revenue Service. For the past 10 years, I have helped my government tell stories about the benefit of paying taxes as part of national efforts to increase domestic finances. I see myself as a change agent. My passion is to see Malawi stop relying on foreign aid to achieve its development agenda. Currently, almost 40 percent of its national budget comes from foreign aid. In my Humphrey year, I want to improve my leadership skills in driving communication campaigns, engaging employees and telling stories through social media.That is why I desire to connect with PR and communication professionals working in the financial services industry. Outside of work, I enjoy watching soccer and dancing. While in the U.S., I hope to meet my favorite musicians, Snoop Dogg/Lion and Selena Gomez.

Mission Statement: To vigorously learn, shamelessly network, tirelessly enjoy and taste everything and give back a little something to the community.

hhhportrait_06_smallDerya Kaya – Turkey. I am experienced in several areas of the nonprofit sector, having worked as a development professional, social entrepreneur, volunteer and activist for almost 10 years. I contributed to several key publications on the nonprofit sector and social entrepreneurship in Turkey and organized many national and international events and campaigns. As a doer, organizer and thinker with an obsession for change, I love seeking and developing new ideas and projects. My purpose is to act as a change agent by expressing my creativity and my passion; and to explore, learn and act as a believer in active citizenship to make the world a better place. During my Humphrey year, I hope to learn more about PR and communications tools and methods, which are, according to several researchers, the most-needed skills for nonprofits in Turkey.

Mission Statement: My purpose is to act as a change agent by expressing my creativity and my passion to explore, learn and network as a believer in active citizenship to make the world a better place.

hhhportrait_02_smallI am Issa Napon, a journalist from Burkina Faso, a French-speaking country located in West Africa. I have worked 16 years for the public Radio TV corporation (RTB) as a news anchor and reporter but I am also involved in investigative journalism, covering stories on political and social issues, highlighting facts that threaten and negatively affect people’s lives. I am proud to have been awarded several times in my career national as well as international recognitions including a 2008 CNN African Journalist of the Year Award. I always try to deliver high-quality information to promote transparency, accountability and higher quality of life for our citizens. For my fellowship year, I am on my way to becoming empowered as a leader. Beside that, I hope to strengthen my knowledge in investigative journalism and improve my skills in digital media, meet experienced people and professionals in my field of study. I love soccer, enjoy music like Marvin Gaye, Dire Straits, Temptations, Beyonce, discovering nature, famous places and everything linked to Indian tribes, especially the Navajo and Apache.

hhhportrait_08_smallJavaria Tareen – Pakistan. I have been working as a journalist and communication officer for the last eight years in Balochistan, Pakistan where I cover Gender, Women Rights and Child Protection issues. This year I want to learn more about online media techniques and to explore and learn about Human Rights issues in the United States.

Mission Statement: To learn new technology and explore U.S. media in depth.

Photo Credits: Michel Duarte

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