Vice President Kamala Harris and Ireland's Prime Minister Micheál Martin Join CIEE in Congratulating the 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows

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At an online St. Patrick’s Day roundtable today, Vice President Kamala Harris and Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin joined Nettie Washington Douglass, the great-great- granddaughter of Frederick Douglass, and representatives from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to recognize the winners of the 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a competitive award for diverse student leaders to attend a four-week summer study abroad program focused on leadership, intercultural communication, and social justice. 

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs will co-sponsor the 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows in Dublin, Ireland, to honor the 175th anniversary of the meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845. 

The following high-achieving students were selected for this prestigious award:

  • Sophia Kathryn Jackson, Bard College
  • Leeah Derenoncourt, Emerson College
  • Carolina Jimenez , Harvard University
  • Brielle Smith, Howard University
  • Katherine Sanchez,  Lehman College, CUNY
  • Iesha-LaShay Phillips, Oberlin College
  • Corinne Bobb-Semple, Pomona College
  • Mikayla Tillery, Stanford University
  • Paul Douillon, University of Miami
  • Nikita Joshi, University of Missouri - Kansas City
  • Jaylen Antoine, University of Puget Sound
  • Delali Gadzekpo, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Isaiah Franco, Wofford College
  • Ayodele Theard-Lewis, Xavier University of Louisiana

You can hear from all 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows in this video.

In Ireland, the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will study leadership, effective communication, and strategies to affect positive social change as they explore the life stories and legacies of Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell. They will be joined on their program by the 2020 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows who were unable to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, last summer as scheduled due to COVID-19.

At the roundtable event, Vice President Harris congratulated the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows. She expressed her pride, and America’s pride, in their accomplishments. She said to them: “You will create friendships around the globe as an extension of the work we do as a country to inspire and to work on and to build on the friendships we have around the world.”

“Many of you know that I attended Howard University, a school that was founded at a time when few recognized the potential of Black students to be leaders,” said Vice President Harris. “At HBCUs, and at fellowship programs like this, students of color are prepared to lead. Like Frederick Douglass in Ireland, you can come as you are, and you can leave who you aspire to be.”

Following today's roundtable, which was attended by many of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows who will travel to Ireland this summer, the Taoiseach said: “I was delighted to join Vice President Harris this morning in meeting these exceptional young people. Frederick Douglass has a vital and valued legacy on either side of the Atlantic and my Government is delighted to mark the 175th anniversary of his historic tour of Ireland by welcoming twenty brilliant American students from minority backgrounds to follow in the great abolitionist’s footsteps and learn of the influential relationship between Daniel O’Connell and Frederick Douglass. Today's meeting with the Fellows is also a great opportunity to recognize the great diversity that powers both our countries and our relationship today.”

“It’s fitting that this diverse group of young people will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills in a place so special to Frederick Douglass,” said Nettie Washington Douglass, chairwoman and co-founder of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass and great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington. “The welcome and respect with which Frederick was greeted across his tour of Ireland affected him profoundly. I can think of no better place for future American leaders to gain a global perspective and prepare to be agents of change.”

“Frederick Douglass was transformed by his time in Ireland and returned to America in 1847 as a free man, spending the next 50 years of his life agitating for positive change in our world,” said James P. Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE. “We know this group of exceptional students will have a similar transformative experience in Ireland and return home with enhanced skills and passion to change our world for the better.”

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship was launched in 2017 by CIEE to expand access to international education to underrepresented students.

In addition to funding the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows, CIEE provides all students who complete the fellowship application a $1,500 grant to attend a CIEE summer study abroad program. Known as the Frederick Douglass Summer Scholars Grant, this award is matched by many colleges and universities, making an international education experience financially attainable for many more students from diverse backgrounds.

To learn more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, visit

Media Contact: Leslie Taylor, (207) 553-4274,

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