Thank you all for the very encouraging response to last week’s video blog, both here on my website and on YouTube – and, in fact, at Betts House (Yale World Fellows HQ), where the staff and several of my World Fellowship colleagues also commented favourably on my maiden voyage as a video blogger.
So I felt encouraged to continue.
I know that I promised you interviews with my colleagues, and fear not, they will come, but I wanted to allow a little more time for us all to get to know each other before I started singling people out for one-to-one interviews. So for now you will have to make do with another solo performance from yours truly.
Having said that, our motley assembly of Fellows is rapidly starting to feel like a real group, with a strong esprit de corps, and a genuine feeling of mutual respect and support. So there will be new faces coming soon to a computer screen near you.
Lots to catch up on since my last update. I’ll let the video do most of the talking, but my show notes are pasted below.
Day 1: August 15th
Today would have been Dad’s 83rd birthday. He was always academically ambitious for me. I think he would have been proud of me.
Introduction from Michael Cappello, Program Director:
223 world fellows from 79 different countries
Mission statement: “The mission of the Yale World Fellows Program is to cultivate and empower a community of globally engaged leaders committed to positive change through inter-disciplinary dialogue and action.”
First cohort of second decade of the program. Big reunion and review last October. We are the guinea pigs for the new improved version. “Our expectations for you are incredibly high” – to be best we can be and also to give back to the life of the university, and to the world at large.
We are expected to strike a 50/50 balance between giving and receiving. Also encouraged to participate in college life, especially dinners and Masters’ teas. Over the course of the semester, we can expect to do 8-15 talks on campus.
The new curriculum is shaped around characteristics that a 21st century leader needs:
– Network of collaborators and experts
– Willingness and ability to collaborate
– Courage, including the courage to fulfill our potential
The new version of the course has an enhanced emphasis on collaboration.
Many of us will change careers. Or will recommit to existing path. Either is fine, so long as the experience is meaningful.
Yale alumni include 4 out of last 7 presidents, 1/3 of Supreme Court, and many ambassadors.
“With any great privilege comes great responsibility” – Chatham House rules – dinner conversations are off the record.
To grow as an effective leader
To figure out what exactly I’m going to lead!
To devise a plan for next 7 years
To figure out strategy for personal financial sustainability
To achieve measurable impact on campus sustainability
To better understand human motivation across different cultures
That I have unrealistically high expectations of how much I can achieve in my time here
That I won’t have a broad enough margin to process what is happening
I gave my introductory presentation, recorded for future comparison so I can see if I improve over the course of the semester. Patrick Streubi from Switzerland also made his presentation. Some parallels between our stories. He also started to question his high-flying career, sold everything, took some time out, and headed off in a new and more rewarding, ethical career direction. He founded Fairtrasa to import organic, fairtrade produce from Mexico and South America.
6.30am Hike to top of East Rock – new horizons
Our two politicians – not convinced politics is best way to go, private sector or NGOs also possible ways to exert influence for change
Dinner at Betts House for spouses and partners in the evening, showed videos of my Atlantic crossing. If you’re interested, earlier versions of the same videos are available on YouTube:
Meeting with Prof Bruce Wexler, neuroscientist, interesting conversation about human attitudes to environment and how to create change. Lots of resources and ideas. Discussed courses I might take. Shopping period of two weeks at start of semester, during which we can drop in and out of lectures to see what appeals. Video of interview with Bruce here, and his book is available on Amazon, or, of course, from your local independent bookseller.
Tour of campus from the Yale Visitor Center, found out a little more about undergraduate life. 5,300 undergrad students in 12 residential colleges. 10% overseas students. (I am affiliated with Saybrook College, known for the “Saybrook Strip”. Yes, it is what you think it is!)
New Haven’s claims to fame: home of American style pizza, hamburger and lollipop. There is a restaurant in town that serves pizza with mashed potato and bacon topping. Is it just me, or is that plain wrong?!
Yale crew is oldest collegiate sport in the US. Yale President Theodore Dwight Woolsey‘s toe rubbed for luck in important events such as sport, exams or on hot dates. (Yes, I did rub his toe for luck on the World Fellow’s Program!)
Back in 1700s, one of the earliest benefactors was called Jeremiah Dummer. But fortunately naming rights went to a later benefactor, called Elihu Yale, otherwise instead of being called Yalies we would be called Dummies.
Tremendous opportunity, at exactly the right time for me. Want to make the most of it, and get every drop of value out of it, while not ending up frazzled.