This spring, 15 people from 15 countries with one similar underlying goal – to change their worlds back home – arrived in Blacksburg. They are the Humphrey Fellows.

Virginia Tech welcomed these professionals from countries across the globe in their quest to pursue English-language training at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute. Here through August, each Fellow will then travel to another U.S. university for further studies in his or her field.

This is the fourth year that the Language and Culture Institute has hosted the Fellows as part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. The institute is part of Outreach and International Affairs.

The group this year includes engineers, journalists, an administrator with Save the Children, and an expert in microfinance. Countries represented include Bolivia, Nepal, Egypt, Azerbaijan, and Laos.

Bert Wilson, program director, says, “This program is beneficial for the Fellows because they are given the opportunity – through university courses, conferences, networking, and a professional experience – to strengthen their leadership skills.”

The Humphrey Fellows will be looking for opportunities to practice their English-language skills while in Blacksburg. Because speaking with Americans is a major goal, the group welcomes invitations to tour a company, speak to a group, or simply drop in on an office or departmental meeting. To arrange a meeting with the Fellows, contact Bert Wilson at (540) 231-5730.

The Humphrey Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or private sector.

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was established in 1978 to honor the public service career of its namesake. An exchange activity of the Fulbright Program, funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of State, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Long Term English Training Program is a signature initiative of the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute.

Yen Dinh from Alexandria, Va., a senior majoring in marketing, leadership and social change in the Pamplin College of Business, contributed to this report.
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