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Cronkite new home to State Department program for foreign journalists

May 28, 2010

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will be home to visiting journalists from around the globe under a new $1 million grant from the State Department.

The five-year grant will bring nine to 15 mid-career journalists and professional communicators from developing countries to the Cronkite School each year for 10 months as part of the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.

The Humphrey Fellowship Program, named in honor of the late vice president and U.S. senator from Minnesota, started in 1978 to provide professional enrichment and non-degree studies at American universities for experienced professionals around the world. Fellows are selected based on their leadership potential and commitment to public service.

There are 17 other Humphrey Fellowship programs in a wide variety of disciplines, bringing 160 to 190 fellows to U.S. host universities each year under the auspices of the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Humphrey Fellowship Program, administered by the Institute of International Education, has more than 4,000 alumni in 157 countries “working to improve their communities and the lives of those in need,” according to the State Department.

Host universities in other disciplines include MIT, Cornell University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Minnesota.

The University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism has been home to the journalism specialization since 1993. Due to heavy interest, the State Department last year invited top U.S. journalism schools to compete for a second Humphrey program in journalism.

“We are thrilled to be part of the prestigious Humphrey Fellowship Program,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan, who worked with Humphrey fellows as associate dean at the University of Maryland. “Humphrey fellows add richly to their home university, broadening and illuminating discussions both inside and outside the classroom. Our students and faculty will learn as much from our Humphrey fellows as they do from us.”

The Humphrey program will be the signature program of a new series of international initiatives at the Cronkite School. Associate Professor William Silcock, a two-time Fulbright Scholar who leads journalism seminars and training sessions around the world, will be curator of the Humphrey Fellowship Program and director of the newly established Cronkite Global Initiatives.

“I feel in so many ways I have prepared my whole life for this new mission,” Silcock said. “What a thrilling opportunity to help deepen global connections and build new bridges of learning and understanding for our students, fellow faculty across campus and citizens of Arizona. I believe our namesake, Walter Cronkite, would be particularly pleased to know his school is now a part of the prestigious Humphrey Fellowship Program.”

Fellows are required to have an undergraduate degree, a minimum of five years of substantive professional experience, demonstrated leadership abilities, a record of public service, little or no prior U.S. experience and strong English skills.

The Humphrey program will start at ASU on Aug. 1. Ivy Bohnlein, most recently the graduate coordinator for ASU’s Herberger School of Design Innovation, will be the program manager.