Cyrus Mehri Fellowship

Cyrus Mehri, Esq., ’83 has generously offered funds toward a Global Pluralism Fellowship for a deserving Hartwick College student.

Applications are due by noon on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Purpose of the Fellowship

Hartwick College has a deep commitment to global pluralism – to bring people of the broadest range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experiences into our learning community. This commitment springs from our educational purpose: to prepare people to contribute as active, thoughtful citizens to the world of their future.

Hartwick will be educationally effective only if we can create on our campus a diverse community of honest interchange, in which people can learn from one another through an open sharing of perspectives and life experiences. The success of this goal requires the presence of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff who take responsibility for bringing these perspectives fully into the educational experience. Those considered for the fellowship will demonstrate commitment to pluralism, diversity, and concern for the human condition and/or environs.


Eligibility

One student will be selected for this award annually. Any enrolled student is eligible for this award and all applications will be considered; however, first and second-year students are particularly encouraged to apply.

Download eligibility information.

Selection criteria:

  • The perspectives and life experiences of the candidate must be outside the range of the majority of perspectives and life experiences of Hartwick students.
  • The candidate must show promise of being both personally capable of and interested in sharing life experience and perspective, and be committed to helping to identify and support the types of campus activities that will bring more pluralistic and global perspectives to the campus.
  • The candidate must show an ability to carry out a project and follow through on tasks, from creation to implementation.
  • The candidate must demonstrate financial need.

Download application information.

Term of Fellowship and Mentorship

The award will be for the 2017-18 academic year. One student will be awarded a $2,000 grant along with her or his mentor, whose stipend will be $750. The mentor will guide the student throughout the period of the fellowship and will be required to report on activities to the Global Education Office each semester.

The Process:

A student may be nominated for this award by a faculty or staff member or a student may initiate his or her own application, which is available in the Office of Global Education.

Each student applying for the fellowship must submit an application that includes:

  • A definition how he or she meets the purpose of the fellowship.
  • A written proposal for a set of specific activities to be undertaken during the year. The activities should contribute to the presence of a diversity of perspectives on the campus. A student may propose activities to be undertaken by the student herself or himself, or may propose activities undertaken in concert with others, such as organizing a panel with guest speakers. The successful candidate will clearly demonstrate how she or he will share his or her work and contribute to the College community.
  • An itemized budget for the expenditures for activities outlined in the proposal.
  • A mentor’s statement of commitment and review detailing the faculty or staff person’s role in the process.

Cyrus Mehri Fellowship FAQ

Q: What is the Cyrus Mehri ’83 Global Pluralism Fellowship Award?
A: A distinguished Hartwick College graduate, 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 Hartwick, 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:

Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior Hartwick student in good academic standing. (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.

Q: How have past Cyrus Mehri fellowship winners used the award money?

A: For 2015-2016, Katie Orrell ’16 led a project entitled Introverts and Extroverts: A Global Perspective, which uncovered cultural and ethnic stereotypes around personality and the ways that American culture values extroverts over introverts. Through a speaker, films, and panel discussions, Katie encouraged the Hartwick community to examine their preconceived notions about the ways students, faculty, and staff of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures should behave. 

For 2014-2015, Gavin Jenkins ’15 organized a project entitled Religious Pluralism in Higher Education. which examined the diversity of religious views on our campus through speakers and an engaging online survey. 

For 2013-2014, Jenna Rodrigues’14 led a project Moving from Awareness to Solidarity with Central and South Narratives to educate the campus about the globalized economy’s impact on Central and South American communities.    

For 2012-2013 Tanae Adderley ’14 worked 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 was advocacy; she worked 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.

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.

Q:  Who qualifies as a “mentor”?
A: 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.

Q: . How do I apply?
A: Start filling out your application.
You’re welcome to arrange an appointment with Godlove Fonjweng to discuss your ideas in more detail.

Q: Whom should I contact for more information?
A: Carolyn Cooper
International Student Advisor, Office of Global Education & Service Learning
Email: cooperc@hartwick.edu
Phone: 607-431-4422
Fax: 607-431-4008

Godlove Fonjweng
Director of Global Education & Service Learning
Email: fonjwengg@hartwick.edu
Phone: 607-431-4414
Fax: 607-431-4008

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