This years’ Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship concluded with a Farewell Ceremony hosted at the residence of H.E. Claire Cronin, the United States Ambassador to Ireland. The elegant affair offered the chance for Fellows to network with leaders of international exchange and share details about their time in Dublin.
Ambassador Cronin opened the ceremony by emphasizing the importance of international exchange:
“Exchange is one of the most valuable tools that we must continue to build and foster the relationship between our nations and our people. The relationships formed during Douglass’s visit [to Ireland] have contributed to the shared history of both of our countries, and much like the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows Exchange, these people-to-people ties add another element to our storied friendship.”
The event was attended by the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass, Nettie Washington Douglass; officials from the United States Government; members of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs; representatives from FDGF-sponsor USIT; and members of the CIEE Worldwide team, including President and CEO of CIEE Dr. James Pellow.
Following the greetings, Fellows were presented with certificates and a commemorative relay baton, symbolizing the important part they play in the race toward social justice. They were reminded of the words of Vice President Kamala Harris, who addressed the 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows, saying "Frederick Douglass passed you a baton. The question will be: during your part of the race, what will you do with it?
2022 Fellow Ryan Doan-Nguyen presented a poem at the Farewell Ceremony which he penned during his time in Dublin.
His words moved the audience and serve as a reminder of the mission of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship: bringing young leaders from diverse backgrounds together, helping them find their wings, and watching, delightedly, as they soar.
Nettie closed the ceremony by encouraging the Fellows for their journey ahead:
“Just as my great-great-grandfather was transformed by the experiences he had in Ireland, I hope your lives have been changed by the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship and that you will be returning home with greater intercultural awareness and sustained passion to change our world for the better.”
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship was launched in 2017 as part of CIEE’s commitment to increasing access to study abroad by students in underrepresented groups. For the last two years, it has taken place in Ireland, cosponsored by Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs, in honor of the historic meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845, more than 175 years ago. This year, the program was also co-sponsored by USIT.
While in Ireland, the Fellows learned of the great sacrifices that a young Frederick Douglass made to travel internationally in his fight for human rights. Fellows walked, literally and figuratively, in Douglass’ footsteps, learning firsthand how to equip themselves as leaders, like he did, to usher in positive social change.
On behalf of the 2022 cohort, Lauren Baker, Grand Canyon University, and Justin Babu, Providence College, thanked CIEE and their sponsors at the Farewell Ceremony for this unique study abroad opportunity and sent their peers off from the Farewell Ceremony with the final words: “Educate, educate, educate!”