The Jackson Institute of Global Affairs hosted the World Fellows’ Night on Thursday

at Horchow Hall on Hillhouse Avenue. The event was a reception for

this year’s class of the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a showcase

for their various groundbreaking initiatives that brought them to Yale.


The Greenberg World Fellows Program brings together sixteen mid-career

professionals from around the world to Yale for a four month long immersive experience

on campus. The Fellows are leaders and change-makers in fields spanning the arts,

business, government, journalism and human rights. Established in 2002, simply as

‘World Fellows’, the program received a $16 million contribution from The Starr

Foundation in June of this year. The Foundation is chaired by the former CEO of AIG, Maurice

R. “Hank” Greenberg, in recognition of whose generosity the program was renamed this



Admitted through an extremely competitive application process, the sixteen selected

World Fellows spend four months in New Haven, interacting with the best minds in their

fields and broadening the scope of dialogue over vital issues. They lead roundtable

discussions, seminars, and lectures with students and faculty on campus, and they also audit

courses themselves.


At the World Fellows’ Night, the scholars interacted with a diverse range of

the New Haven community, as undergraduates and professors alike visited Horchow

Hall to learn more about the Fellows’ initiatives in their home countries. “This is a time to

get away from the intensity of work and reflect after putting in 16 hours of work a day

back home. Here, I have been learning academic terminology for tasks I pursued daily

in my endeavors” said Anuradha Das Mathur from New Delhi. Mathur is the founding

dean of The Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, a residential program in

management practices for young women.


The Fellows have been using this time to revisit their academic passions. Gabriela

Hernandez Cardoso, the former CEO of GE Mexico said “This has been a great time for

me to go back to the basics and study things I have forgotten or didn’t have time to,

earlier.” The Program is also an opportunity for the Fellows to experience the American

higher education system first hand. “Having studied entirely in India, this is the first time

I am observing the American education system. The difference in the kind of

conversations in class is very interesting to observe,” said Mathur, who is auditing

classes in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department and at the Yale School of

Management. Cardoso who is auditing eight classes herself, including Introduction to

Cognitive Science and Listening to Music, was impressed by the standards of the

undergraduate student body. “All the students are always on time with their readings

done. I am struggling to cope with reading for eight classes but the quality of learning

happening is definitely admirable,” she said.


The Fellows have been interacting with the Yale community through seminars, lectures,

tea with the Heads of Colleges and roundtable discussions which they will continue

hosting over the course of the Fall semester. Fellows from UK, activist Sughra Ahmed

and diplomat Kanbar Hossein-Bor addressed a lecture in the popular Gateway to Global

Affairs course earlier on Thursday. Speaking about Islamic identity in today’s world, they

brought diverse perspectives to the class, leaving the students with much to mull on.


Living in New Haven for four months, the Fellows will be able to immerse themselves in

American life and culture. However, some disparities in society have already begun to

catch their attention, four weeks into being here. “The stark disparity I see between Yale

and the larger New Haven area is certainly disconcerting,” said Ahmed, who hails from

London. Ahmed is a prominent community activist and academic. She has engaged in

significant research in the fields of interfaith relationships and community building, and

has authored a paper titled ‘British by Dissent.’


The World Fellows Night gave an appetizing trailer to a semester full of enlightening

talks and conversations ahead, by stalwarts in their field. The Maurice R. Greenberg

World Fellows will be a vital presence in campus conversations, and offer their unique

perspectives on a variety of issues.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *