UC Davis Humphrey Fellows Spend Week in Nation’s Capital

Humphrey Fellows at Global Leadership Forum
The 2017-18 UC Davis Humphrey Fellows at the Global Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

By Rowan O’Connell-Gates, student writer, Global Affairs

For 32 years, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows have been coming from all over the world to various universities in the United States, including the University of California, Davis. And each fall, the Humphrey Fellows from each host university convene in Washington, D.C. During their time in our nation's capital, the Humphrey Fellows attend meetings with politicians, foundations, and ambassadors—all while exploring the city’s history.

Stopping by the Global Environment Facility and World Wildlife Fund

The 2017-18 UC Davis Humphrey Fellows’ D.C. experience began on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 with a visit to the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Fellows met with David Elrie Rodgers, who serves as the Senior Climate Change Specialist at GEF. Given that the majority of our fellows have a background in agricultural science or environmental affairs, the lively and informative meeting was particularly relevant. 

Humphrey Fellows at Global Environmental Facility in D.C.
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows at the Global Environment Facility with Senior Climate Change Specialist David Elrie Rodgers (fourth from right).

Later that afternoon, the fellows visited World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in D.C., meeting with Andrea Santy, who serves as the director of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program, and discussing the importance of communication with external audiences, especially when attempting to mobilize change regarding science, research, and progress.

Humphrey Fellow Maria Fernanda Gonzalez has worked with the WWF as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer since 2015 in her home country of Ecuador. 

Humphrey Fellows at World Wildlife Fund
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows at the World Wildlife Fund Washington D.C. Office.

Visiting with Representative John Garamendi

Our Humphrey Fellows continued their time in Washington D.C. with a Thursday morning trip to the Office of Representative John Garamendi. The fellows met with Garamendi and his wife, Patti Garamendi, who has had a distinguished career in international development including work with the Peace Corps, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, and Save the Children. The fellows then had the opportunity to watch a budget vote take place on the T.V. in Representative Garamendi’s office.

Humphrey Fellows with Representative Garamendi
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows with Representative John Garamendi (center).

After their visit with the Garamendis, the Humphrey Fellows spent the afternoon at the World Resources Institute (WRI). Much like their visit with the GEF, their time at the WRI consisted of discussing environmental issues such as climate change, emissions standards, and emissions trading.

A Special Visit to the Somali Embassy

Humphrey Fellow with Somali Ambassador
Ambassador Ahmed Isse Awad with UC Davis Humphrey Fellow Abdi Ahmed Mohamed. 

Later that evening, the Humphrey Fellows capped off the day with a special visit to the Somali Embassy, where Ambassador Ahmed Isse Awad and his wife hosted the fellows for dinner. The Ambassador provided a wide array of delicious food and beverages for the meal, allowing the fellows the opportunity to immerse themselves culturally. One of this year’s fellows, Abdi Ahmed Mohamed, is a Somali native. 

Humphrey Fellows Group with Somali Ambassador
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows and Ambassador Ahmed Isse Awad.

On Friday, our fellows spent the morning at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They then continued on to the U.S. Forest Service International Programs Office. Both programs provided opportunities to learn and discuss possible avenues of collaboration.

Convening at the Global Leadership Forum

The Humphrey Fellows’ Washington D.C. trip concluded with the Global Leadership Forum (GLF), a multi-day series of presentations, meetings and receptions featuring all the Humphrey Fellows currently being hosted by different U.S. universities. At the forum, our UC Davis Humphrey cohort contributed a group presentation and video on global climate impact in each of the fellow’s countries.

Harum Mukhayer, a 2015-16 UC Davis Humphrey Fellow from Sudan, spoke in a guest speaker role at the GLF. She led a guided visualization exercise geared towards the crowd of nearly 200. Throughout her talk she gave tips and insights to Humphrey Fellows on getting the most out of their fellowship.

Lastly, 2017-18 Humphrey Fellow Martin Kaile, of Sierra Leone, led a discussion on creating an NGO. Kaile was able to speak from experience, having founded the the women’s empowerment NGO Green Africa.

Humphrey Fellows at Global Leadership Forum
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows at the Global Leadership Forum.

A Quick Break for Sightseeing 

In addition to all the meetings, events, and presentations, the Humphrey Fellows had the opportunity to enjoy the sights and history of  Washington D.C.

Humphrey Fellows in DC
Humphrey Fellows from Ecuador: Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, Hungary: Anita Kazamer and Morocco: Laila Annouri (from left to right) taking a break during a busy visit to D.C.
Humphrey Fellows at Capitol
UC Davis Humphrey Fellows (from left to right) Laila Annouri, Anita Kazamer, Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, Selenge Chadraabal and  Xin Liu exploring Capitol Hill.

Reflections back in California

The 2017 trip to Washington D.C. allowed the UC Davis Humphrey Fellows to learn about pertinent political and environmental issues on a national and global level, in an American city rich with history. In concluding their stay, all of the fellows came away with a greater understanding of American culture, politics, and organizations, which they can all now apply to the rest of their time at UC Davis.


Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 8,400 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty studying and researching internationally-and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world's most pressing problems through more than 150 international partnerships.

Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is now in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.

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