Adrian Kulesza

This year’s 16 Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows include politicians, social activists, a data innovator, an Olympian and a comedian, according to a March 25 press release.

The fellows, recognized for having distinguished themselves in their respective fields, will spend four months together at Yale. During the program, the fellows will participate in weekly seminars, receive skills development training, host events open to the Yale community and mentor students. The international fellowship began in 2002 and is based out of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. The 2019 cohort brings the total number of World Fellows to 346 since its founding.

“We aim to select a cohort of extraordinary individuals from across the globe, from different disciplines and backgrounds, committed to making the world a better place for everyone,” said the program’s director Emma Sky. “The selection process is highly competitive. We receive thousands of applications for the 16 slots.”

The program — an initiative to globalize the University — has three main goals: to strengthen fellows’ knowledge and skills essential for global leadership; to provide the opportunity to serve others by sharing knowledge and experience; and to grow a global community of people with shared values who are connected to each other and to Yale.

Applications for the fellowship are open to English-speaking non-U.S. citizens who are in their early to midcareer. Eligible applicants are asked to submit a personal statement outlining their achievements, why they want to be world fellows and what they can contribute.

Diversity is an important component of the selection process, according to Sky. She said that the “initial sift is according to geographical location.” Then, they interview all shortlisted candidates and narrow the list to 16 World Fellows, she added.

“Having been chosen among this group of 16 is a privilege and an extremely rewarding professional experience for me,” said one of the 2019 World Fellows, Katrin Eggenberger. “I look forward to becoming part of the Yale family soon and I am sure, I will use this unique chance to interact with the Yale community in any shape or form provided.”

Eggenberger heads the World Economic Forum’s Community of Chairpersons. She said that her career so far has given her “insight into some of the key challenges facing the world today” and that during her time at Yale, she hopes to deepen her understanding of global affairs, expand her vision, network and “learn how to be a leader.”

Simidele Adeagbo, a Nigerian Olympian who was chosen to be a fellow this year, told the News that the application process challenged her to clearly articulate her vision for making the world a better place and the unique characteristics that make her a good fit for the program.

She said that she applied because she wanted to have the opportunity to expand her vision and explore new challenges in her community, country and continent. She added that she valued the connections that she would be able to make with “other promising leaders from around the world working across government, civil society, and the private sector.”

“Sport is often overlooked as a vehicle for societal transformation,” Adeagbo said. “Through my unique perspective as a trailblazer in sport, I’ll contribute a distinct point of view on leadership, creating change and moving the world forward.”

Cristina Veléz Valencia, a 2019 fellow from Colombia, told the News that she applied because she wanted to connect with others, plan for the future and find an intellectual space.

As a fellow, she said she hopes to continue working for vulnerable people, specifically migrants, through local government and beyond. She is also excited to connect with people who have worked on similar issues as herself and to mentor students who wish to learn more about Latin America and Colombia.

Rebecca Sullivan, an Australian author who advocates for sustainable living, said that she is a “natural sharer and educator” with experience in food and sustainability, which she plans to share with the other fellows as well as with the rest of the Yale community.

The World Fellows Program will be accepting applications from Yale students for its 2019 World Fellows Liaison program until April 22.

Ayumi Sudo |