2019-20 UC Davis Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows.
2019-20 UC Davis Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows with Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor of Global Affairs Joanna Regulska (third from left, bottom row) and Associate Director Nikki Grey Rutamu (far right, top row). TJ Ushing/UC Davis

UC Davis Welcomes 11 New Humphrey Fellows to Campus

By Bonnie Shea, director of communications, Global Affairs

On August 13UC Davis welcomed its 29th cohort of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program participants — 11 accomplished mid-career professionals from 11 different countries — who are spending the 2019-20 academic year strengthening their professional skills, improving their leadership abilities, and engaging in meaningful collaboration.

UC Davis is one of 13 university hosts of the fellowship program, an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Since 1986, UC Davis has hosted 296 Humphrey Fellows from 105 countries.

We are honored to host another fantastic cohort of fellows at UC Davis this year. While at UC Davis, our fellows help provide our campus and community with a deeper, nuanced understanding of the complex agricultural and environmental issues affecting our world,” said Nikki Grey Rutamu, associate director of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program within Global Affairs.

Among the 2019-20 cohort are fellows from Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Honduras, Lebanon, Panama, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Vietnam, bringing perspectives and expertise in fields such as agriculture and rural development, natural resources and environmental science, and environmental policy.

Fellows talking
Fabrice L. Inkonkoy (left) and Lisbeth Karina Vergara (right) conversing outside the International Center on campus. TJ Ushing/UC Davis

The fellows will participate in various community events, conferences and seminars, with activities ranging from installing solar panels on homes with non-profit organization GRID Alternatives to participating in a UC Davis World Food Center conference on dialogues and discourse in science and society.

“The skills they develop in environmental policy, human interaction with protected areas, resource conservation and efficiencies along with the relationships they build go forward to benefit communities across the globe,” said Grey Rutamu.

On September 27 at 1 p.m., UC Davis Global Affairs is hosting a public welcome event and reception at the UC Davis International Center, where each fellow will formally introduce themselves to the campus and community, share about their backgrounds and experiences, and describe how they plan to spend their time collaborating at UC Davis and across the United States.

“We’re proud to be one of only three universities in the U.S. to host both the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, both supported by the U.S. Department of State,” said Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs. “Given the tremendous experience these international leaders bring to campus and the natural fit with our academic strengths at UC Davis, we continue to see fellows meaningful collaboration between our hundreds of fellows all over the world and our students, faculty, staff, and community members."

Martin Kailie, a 2017-18 UC Davis Humphrey Fellow began collaborating with Dana Armstrong, an international agricultural development graduate student, and Peter Nasielski, a design and sustainable environmental design undergraduate student, after meeting on campus. The trio began working on a sustainability project together, eventually traveling to Kailie’s home country of Sierra Leone to complete a feasibility study. Another student, Leanne Bolaño, an environmental science and management major, put her coursework into action with 2015-16 UC Davis Humphrey Fellow Kakhaber Bakhtadze as they worked on business planning and training effortsfor entrepreneurs in his home country of Georgia.

Those interested in collaborating with the Humphrey Fellowship Program at UC Davis should contact Associate Director Nikki Grey Rutamu at ngreyrutamu@ucdavis.edu.

UC Davis Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows

  • Mohammad Nazmul Ahsan, Bangladesh
    Deputy Director, Department of Bangladesh Haor and Wetlands Development, Ministry of Water Resources, Bangladesh
    • Available for: ​​​​Speaking on technical topics (climate change adaptations, integrated water resources management, wetland management and other environmental management issues); speaking on a cultural topic; formal/informal classroom visits; meeting with student groups; meeting with individual professors/researchers 
  • Jihad Joseph (JJ) Atallah, Lebanon
    Electrical Engineer Consultant, Dar Al Handasah, Lebanon 
  • Issam Chariag, Tunisia
    Engineer-Project Manager, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries-Regional Office of Gabes, Tunisia
    • Available for: Speaking on a technical topic (water resources management, agricultural development, irrigation and drainage issues); speaking on a cultural topic; meeting with student groups; meeting with professors/researchers
  • Fabrice L. Inkonkoy, Democratic Republic of Congo
    Indigenous People & Local Community Advisor, World Wide Fund for Nature, Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Available for: Telling his story of conservation and community development; meeting with professors/researchers; supporting community service activities; meeting with student groups; formal classroom visits
  • Vindyani Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka
    Assistant Manager in Environment, Safety & Health Management Systems, MAS Active Trading Pvt Ltd – MAS KREEDA, Sri Lanka 
    • Available for: Speaking on a technical topic (occupational safety and health in industrial sector, creating a culture of safety and environmental consciousness, environmental sustainability in apparel manufacturing, implementation of environmental safety and health management systems); meeting with formal and informal classroom groups
  • Ojja Martin Albert Kapaya, South Sudan
    Socioeconomic Research & Livelihoods Team Leader, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) South Sudan Program, South Sudan
    • Available for: Speaking on technical topic (South Sudan natural resources, environmental protection, conservation leadership, applied research, organizational management, community based conservation, education outreach programs)
  • Alain-Georges Moukoko, Gabon
    Department of Justice and Human Being, Judge, President of Indictment Chamber, Court of Appeal of Mouila, Gabon
  • Zuomei Ning, China
    Executive Director, Snow Alliance, China​​​​​​​
    • Available for: ​​​​​​​Speaking on a technical topic (wildlife, habitat protection); meeting with individual professors/researchers; talking with student groups; sharing Chinese culture
  • Rommel Reconco, Honduras
    Associate Professor, Agribusiness Department, Zamorano University, Honduras​​​​​​​
    • Available for: ​​​​​​​Speaking on a technical subject (corporate finance, operations management, agribusiness strategy, agricultural risk management, optimization of the agricultural value chain, proposals and evaluation of agricultural products)​​​​​​​; speaking on topics related to history and culture in Honduras 
  • ​​​​​​​Lisbeth Karina Vergara, Panama
    Environmental Specialist, Panama Canal Authority, Panama​​​​​​​
    • Available for: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speaking on environmental and social management topics; meeting with student groups, individual professors and researchers; informal classroom visits; speaking on the Panama Canal; speaking on Panamanian cultural topics  
  • Thu Thi Vo, Vietnam
    Disaster Risk ReductionWorld Vision VietnamVietnam​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​​​Available for: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Speaking on a technical topic (disaster risk reduction, environment and climate change adaptation); speaking on a cultural topic; formal classroom visit; informal classroom visit; meeting with student groups; meeting with individual professors/researchers

About Global Affairs at UC Davis

Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 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.

About the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

An initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was founded in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter to honor the late senator and vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey, an advocate of international connections and understanding.

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