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ASC to Host Several Humphrey Fellows

ASC to Host Several Humphrey Fellows

Alfred State College will host several Humphrey Fellows on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 11-12, where they will participate in a panel on climate change and meet select classes on campus as well.

On Nov. 11, Alfred State SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Robert Albrecht will introduce the panel discussion on Climate Change and Global Warming at 7 p.m. in the Orvis Auditorium on the Alfred campus. This event is open to the public free of charge.

Albrecht will relate the panel topic to the Countdown to Copenhagen UN Conference on Climate Change in December. Three Humphrey Fellows will give brief presentations on their countries and ASC President Dr. John Anderson will respond to them as well as discuss his own participation in the Clinton Climate Change Conference in NYC.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, three classes with as many as 10 Humphrey Fellows will meet in Engineering 215: 9:30-10:45, 11-12:15, and 12:30-1:45, where Alfred State English and Humanities Department faculty members Janice Stafford; Dr. Aniko Constantine, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor; and Albrecht will include their students as the base for the discussion—any interested people are invited to attend.

Alfred State, in conjunction with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has served as a “pilot” associate campus for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program hosted by Cornell University since 2007. As a designated associate campus, Alfred State hosts individual and group visits by this year’s Humphrey Fellows and, in partnership with the program staff at Cornell University, arranges professional, social, and volunteer activities on campus and in the rural Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania communities surrounding the campus. In addition, collaborative activity brings together faculty and staff resources from both institutions, as well as from several other partner institutions representing the public, private, and non-profit sectors, for exploratory discussions, action research, and capacity building related to rural development in the multi-county region of Western New York State and Northern Pennsylvania served by Alfred State.

Alfred State seems especially well positioned to advance the objectives of the Associate Campus initiative: the College continues its major effort to strengthen its longstanding academic programs in agriculture, emphasizing environmental and economic sustainability and emerging market opportunities for sustainably produced food. The institution-strengthening program now under way offers Humphrey Fellows in the fields of agriculture, environmental/ natural resource management, and rural development (the fields most commonly represented in the Cornell Humphrey Fellow cohort) an opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to the conceptualization, implementation, and management of applied agricultural research, extension, and community development programs by sharing their experience and perspectives with US professionals and community stakeholders.

This is the third consecutive year that Alfred State, as the first associate campus in the Humphrey Fellow Program, has participated in the endeavor which brings to the United States accomplished mid-level professionals from designated countries that have a wide range of development needs.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) and the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the associate campus initiative in 2007-08 to extend the international perspectives the Humphrey Fellowship Program brings to the current 15 host universities to other institutions of higher education and their local communities. The initiative creates alliances between existing Humphrey host campuses and colleges, universities, or community colleges that serve students who may not have opportunities to work with international visitors, such as the Humphrey Fellows. These alliances benefit both institutions, as well as offer Humphrey Fellows’ opportunities to engage with faculty, students, and Americans beyond those of their host campuses. (Funding for the program is provided by the US Department of State and the program is administered nationally by IIE.)

Clearly, among the most important reasons for this partnership is to enrich the Humphrey Fellowship experience. Fellows are keen observers of American culture and have often commented that people in many upstate New York communities are “different” from those they encounter in Ithaca.

Also, both Alfred State and Cornell view the Associate Campus program as a potential catalyst for broadening and deepening their existing collaboration, by drawing upon Cornell faculty and extension staff resources to strengthen the capacity for teaching, applied research, and outreach in agriculture and for assuming a more active role in the community and rural development of the Western New York and North Central Pennsylvania region.   

There is yet another benefit: Humphrey Fellows represent a significant pool of talent and experience for agricultural and rural development in New York State and across the region.  As the publicly supported Land Grant University for the State of New York, Cornell’s mission includes not only teaching and research, but also extension/outreach to citizens and their communities across the state.

Group and individual visits to Alfred are scheduled to take place throughout the academic year. While the Fellows are in the Alfred area, time for informal interaction with students, faculty, staff, and local citizens will be made available. Also, Alfred faculty members enjoy strong networks with the farm community and the broader set of organizations, both public and private sector, that comprise the food and agriculture industry. In its associate campus role, Alfred State organizes opportunities for Fellows to interact with professional counterparts..

Founded in 1978 in honor of the late senator and vice president, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program Fellows are nominated by US Embassies or Fulbright Commissions, based on their potential for leadership and a demonstrated commitment to public service in either the public or private sector. The Program fosters an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding, through which the United States joins in a significant partnership with developing countries. It is a very prestigious program -- only about 150 participants are selected each year from nearly 5,000 applicants worldwide. Cornell hosts Fellows in the fields of agriculture, environmental/natural resource management, and rural development; 14 other leading US universities host Fellows in other fields. The Humphrey Fellowship is a non-degree program.