17 newly announced Kerry Fellows — including three Yale College undergraduates — will spend the coming school year researching international affairs alongside former Secretary of State John Kerry ’66, the Jackson Institute announced on Sept. 7.
In addition to the students in Yale College, the fellows include students at the School of Public Health, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the Law School, the School of Management, as well as the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. The three Yale College undergraduate Yalies among the cohort are Eric Sanderson ’20, Nicolas Jimenez ’19 and Rayan Semery-Palumbo ’19. Sanderson and Semery-Palumbo study Global Affairs, while Jimenez studies Ethics, Politics and Economics, as well as Applied Math. Last year, in the program’s inaugural year, there were five Kerry Fellows from Yale College.
“The Kerry Fellows are an outstanding group of individuals with diverse experiences from all over the world,” said Kerry in the press release. “I am inspired by their passion and commitment to making a difference and look forward to working closely with them on today’s most pressing global challenges.”
Last year, the fellows split into groups, each tasked with investigating key issues such as climate change, extremism and globalization. The group focused on climate change was involved with creating the Yale Climate Conference. Fellows helped draft Kerry’s opening remarks and prepare questions for panelists.
Jimenez, one of the Kerry Fellows who is particularly interested in economic development and strengthening state capacity, said that he looked forward to applying his research tools to real world problems. He added that, to him, Kerry was “an inspiring public servant.”
Jimenez, who was raised in Bogota, Colombia, said he is “really looking forward to working with the group of accomplished individuals who have a wide range of academic and professional experience.”
In a statement to the News, Kerry emphasized that the incoming class of Kerry Fellows mirrors the diversity of the newest incoming class of Yale College. According to Kerry, the class of 2022 features the largest number of African-American, Asian-American and Latinx students.
“We’re very pleased that the Kerry Fellows reflect [a] commitment to diversity,” Kerry said. “Diversity of ideas and perspectives are vital to developing effective policies and policymakers, which is an important part of what the Kerry Fellowship aims to achieve.”
Sanderson, a junior in the Energy Studies and Air Force ROTC programs, said he applied because of his work with previous Kerry Fellows. This collaboration allowed him to appreciate the importance of academic work completed outside a classroom setting, he added.
“I look forward to an experience that combines the vast academic resources of Yale with the insight and perspective of Kerry,” Sanderson said.
Kerry was named Yale’s first Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs in 2017.
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