By establishing the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, fomenting Yale-China relationships and bringing world-class figures such as Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton to speak on campus, President Levin has given the student body no doubt that one of his main tercentennial goals is the globalization of Yale.
Some have argued that the University’s globalization initiatives have not translated to material change in the daily life of undergraduates. However, the presence of the World Fellows on campus each fall has begun to challenge such claim, especially with growing publicity about the World Fellows.
Every September to December, 16 to 18 mid-career professionals who are leaders in a variety of fields around the globe spend time at Yale taking classes, participating in seminars, giving talks — and interacting with undergraduates. The World Fellows Program’s vision is to involve the Fellows in all aspects of the residential college and campus life so that both students and World Fellows will have the chance to enrich their education through interaction with each other. World Fellows – typically in their late 20s and 30s — come to live in New Haven for at least 17 weeks and provide the kind of accessibility, down-to-earth nature and real world experience that we, as undergraduates, are seeking. In short, the World Fellows act as resources, mentors and inspirations to us.
What are some of the ways in which undergraduates have interacted with World Fellows? Dinner discussions with a policy adviser to Tony Blair on the future of European Union, talks to student groups on the future of Kosovo by a lawyer who happens to be drafting the nation’s constitution, movie night hosted by an Indian bank executive who pioneered micro-credit practices, and salsa dancing with a Bolivian city councilwoman are just a few of the ways. These are the kind of experiences that stay with us long after graduation.
Interactions between World Fellows and undergraduates are fostered with the help of student liaisons. The student liaisons take a very active role in facilitating their assigned World Fellow’s assimilation into residential college and campus life during the fall semester. Recognizing the need for an even more visible World Fellows Program, student liaisons will have concrete responsibilities this fall, such as inviting their Fellows to dinners at their colleges at least twice a month, organizing Master’s Teas for their Fellows, production of the annual World Fellows Night — a festive forum hosted by World Fellows in September — and promoting the weekly World Fellows Thursday Lecture Series aimed specifically at an undergraduate audience.
The World Fellows Program is currently accepting applications from students interested in serving as liaisons at www.yale.edu/worldfellows/liaisons. If you would like to act as a host to a World Fellow this fall — and help fulfill both the globalization initiatives of the University and the demands of an increasingly global-minded undergraduate community — I definitely encourage you to apply.
YoonSeok Lee is a senior in Davenport College and head liaison for the World Fellows Program.