Cyrus Mehri '83 Global Pluralism Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Cyrus Mehri '83 Global Pluralism Fellowship Award?
One of Hartwick's most distinguished graduates, Cyrus Mehri '83, went on to become a preeminent civil rights attorney after receiving his JD from Cornell Law School. Among his most influential cases are landmark class action settlements against Texaco, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, and Smith Barney, in addition to anti-discrimination work with the NFL and Madison Avenue advertising agencies.

In his 2009 Commencement speech at the College, Mehri characterized his career to date as "one of representing the powerless against the powerful, overcoming long odds, and taking financial risks in pursuit of justice." When accounting for the roots of this commitment, he credited his Iranian parents – his father an eye surgeon, his mother an artist – from whom he "picked up [his] best qualities," including professionalism, hard work, optimism, courage, and "a deep appreciation for education and the precious, sometimes precarious, freedoms we often take for granted."

In 2006, Mehri endowed an annual named fellowship, with an operating budget, to be awarded to one current Hartwick student though a competitive proposal process. The award, which is announced each year at Honors Convocation, also includes a stipend for the student's faculty or staff mentor. The student's proposal should specifically address issues of globalism and/or pluralism, and how the student would facilitate greater awareness of these issues on our campus through specific activities or speakers funded by the operating budget. Faculty and staff from all departments and administrative may nominate students who are committed to intercultural exchanges and experiences that enrich the educational environment, or students may self-nominate.

For more information about Mehri and the impetus for his civil rights work, see the following websites and news sources:

Mehri & Skalet Lawfirm
Recent Editorial on Newtown Shooting
The Exemplar
Bloomberg BusinessWeek Article

2.Who is eligible to apply?
Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior Hartwick student in good academic standing who will graduate in December 2013 or after. [While the operating budget of $2,000 is, ideally, to be used over the course of an academic year, those students graduating in December may still submit proposals for diversity programming that occurs just in the Fall.] The student may be undeclared or from any department, and must demonstrate some degree of financial need.

3. How have past Cyrus Mehri fellowship winners used the award money?
For 2012-2103, Tanae Adderley '14 is working to educate Hartwick on the experiences and conditions facing children in the Global South. As a native Bahamian, she has a strong connection to those growing up in low resource, high risk environments. The tone of her fellowship is advocacy; she's working closely with the International Student Club as well as other student organizations to advocate for the acknowledgment of universal human rights and to show through lectures, campaigns, and discussions the extent to which the experiences of many children in the world fall short of achieving those basic human rights.

For 2011-12, Mark de Roziere '13 exposed the Hartwick and Oneonta communities to the Filipino-American experience in the United States through performance artist Christine Corpuz and her one-woman show, "I am Nothing Like My Mother". Ms. Corpuz also engaged in talk backs, workshops, and classroom visits.

For 2010-11, Brittanie Kemp '11 explored the Intersection of the African Diaspora in the Caribbean through a presentation by a Bahamian activist and former Director of the Bahamas Department of Archives Dr. Gail Saunders; a faculty roundtable discussion about gender in the workplace; and a Caribbean dance workshop.

For 2009-10, Hira Siddiqui '10 explored Misconceptions of Islam through a roundtable discussion about Islam; a guest lecturer on Islamic law, the Qur'an, and roles of women in Islam; and a cultural fashion show with a discussion of dress codes in different countries.

For 2008-2009, Lisa Sampson '09 explored Pluralism Awareness through a speaker series (seven lectures/roundtables on different topics); a visit to a Buddhist monastery in the Catskills; yoga; and a photo exhibit.

Students and their mentors are encouraged to explore a range of elements that contribute to global pluralism, and to think broadly and across all disciplines. Every academic program at Hartwick has the potential to serve as a lens through which global pluralism finds expression.

4. Who qualifies as a "mentor"?
Any faculty or staff member may serve as the student's mentor. As stated in the application packet, one of the application criteria is a statement of support from the mentor in which he or she supports the student's proposal and endorses the student's ability to complete the activities outlined therein. The statement should also outline the mentor's role throughout the process.

5. How do I apply?

6. Whom should I contact for more information?
Feel free to contact Godlove Fonjwengg,, in the PSGE Center, Golisano, First Floor.