Scholarships & Fellowships

McCain Institute welcomes 26 new McCain Global Leaders

Diverse group of 26 leaders from 25 countries begins new fellowship

The McCain Institute at Arizona State University is proud to announce the inaugural cohort of McCain Global Leaders. Comprised of 26 leaders, speaking 24 languages, from 25 countries and five continents, the McCain Global Leaders will participate in a 10-month fellowship.

The diverse and highly accomplished 2022 cohort is made up of leaders working “in the arena” in a variety of public sector, private sector, military and NGO positions that are all connected to a thematic focus area for each region. The regional themes include migration, defending democracy, peace and security, and sustainability.

Full list of the 2022 McCain Global Leaders Cohort are:

Hibo Abdi- Head of Programs, Network Against FGC, Somaliland
Mohanad Adnan- Founder, Roya Development Group, Iraq
Dr. Zyh Akumawah- Founder and Medical Director, Easy Health, Cameroon
Reham AlSaidi- Analyst Programmer, UN Relief and Works Agency, Palestine
Dulamkhorloo Baatar- Co-Founder, Nest Center for Journalism Innovation and Development, Mongolia
Lemona Chanda- Founder, OurCause, Bangladesh
Nino Dolidze- Executive Director, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Georgia
Jean Edwidge- Teacher & Co-Founder, HAITI Migration Group, Haiti
Wubrest Fantahun- Legal Officer, UNHCR, Ethiopia
Ina Filote- Advisor, Romania Chamber of Deputies, Romania
Dr. James Gough- Founder & CEO, OneShot, United Kingdom
Raquel Grünauer- Head of Office and Advisor, Andean Parliament, Ecuador
Elmas Hasanovikj- Advisor, Cabinet of the Minister of Defense, North Macedonia
Hana Kerkebane- Activist, Algeria
Nate King- National Director of U.S. Advocacy, International Justice Mission, United States
Colonel Hennadiy Kovalenko- Staff Officer, Strategic Allied Command Transformation HQ, Ukraine
Dr. Mariia Levchenko- European Director of Outreach and Training, River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Ukraine
Angelina Makore- Founder & Coordinator, Spark R.E.A.D., Zimbabwe
Samah Mansur- Program Director, Communication Techniques for Development-ACT, Egypt
Tomas Martinaitis- Deputy Mayor, Akmene District Municipality, Lithuania
Etiene Martins- Federal Judge, Brazil
Baccus Roberts- Executive Director for Compliance, Liberia Electricity Corporation, Liberia
Laura Rwiliriza- Communications Specialist, Rwanda
Charlie Shandil- Executive, Australian Public Service, Australia
Ferth Vandensteen- Deputy Manager, The Climate Reality Porject, The Philippines
Andrea Villagrán- Member, Parliament of the Republic of Guatemala, Guatemala
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Taiwan awards 26 Taiwan Government Scholarship students to study Health Care Administration, Tropical Agriculture, ICT, Environment Engineering, Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Education, E-learning, Human Resource Development, Economics, and International Relations in Taiwan.


Programming, which kicks off this September, will bring together students from across campus who are current students in their final year of study in a master’s program at Chicago Booth, Harris School or the Crown Family School. The UChicago Obama Scholars will supplement their studies with innovative co-curricular programming, and engage with partners on the South Side of Chicago, while applying those experiences to advance social change.

“The Obama Scholars program provides students with the unique opportunity to give and gain insight into the work that fellow young leaders are driving in their communities, while speaking to the intersectionality of their efforts through collaboration,” said Valerie Jarrett, chief executive officer of the Obama Foundation. “We are eager to welcome the new cohort of scholars to the Foundation family—a network of changemakers tirelessly working for a more equitable future.”

Generous support for the University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars program is being provided by BMO Harris Bank; Robert and Jane Clark; The Clayco Foundation; The Crown Family; The Harris Family Foundation; Rachel DeYoung Kohler and Mark S. Hoplamazian; The Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation; Charles Ashby Lewis and Penny Bender Sebring; The Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation; The Neubauer Family Foundation; and Susan Rustandy and Tandean Rustandy.

The program is designed to inspire and connect emerging leaders with the tools to better impact their global communities. Members of this year’s cohort are actively working to address many challenges and issue areas across the globe—from projects in Chicago to the Middle East to Africa to Asia.

To learn more about the program, please visit Learn more about this year’s UChicago Obama Scholars below:

Deqa Aden (Harris) - Somaliland
Former Manager, Harhub
Empowering victims of gender-based violence in Somaliland by providing access to legal services, medical and psychosocial treatments.

Chris Akel (Crown) - Chicago
Co-founder, Pathways
Nurturing access to education and mental health counseling for youth leadership development in refugee, rural and low-income Palestinian communities.

Olamide Babatunde (Booth) - Chicago
Former Director, Alumni Career Office, Noble Network of Charter Schools
Improving career opportunities for low-income youth and adults across Chicago.

Linda Flor Brito (Harris) - Chicago
Community Organizer, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
Building collective resistance against the deportation and criminalization of immigrants and forcefully displaced communities.

Binh (Ben) Bui (Booth) - Vietnam
Founding Member and Product Lead, Social Walk
Increasing educational opportunities for underserved learners through technology.

Christine Goggins (Crown) - Chicago
Lead Violence Recovery Specialist, University of Chicago Medical Center
Providing crisis intervention care to promote the comprehensive recovery of victims and families of intentional violence.

Noel Green (Crown) - Chicago
Student and Change Agent, Southside Health Advocacy Resource Partnership (S.H.A.R.P.)
Curating community-driven models of social change that foster liberation of marginalized groups from oppressive systems.

Ben Harris (Booth) - Denver, Colorado
Former Health and Social Systems Strategic Advisor, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
Developing and supporting community-based service models for individuals with complex health and social needs.

Amanda Lee (Booth) - Chicago
Director of Practice Transformation, Access Community Health Network
Transforming health care delivery in the community health setting to advance health equity.

Orlando Mayorga (Crown) - Chicago
McCormick Reentry Policy Coordinator, Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative - Office of Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton
Championing restorative and transformative policy reform that supports healing for people and communities impacted by mass incarceration.

Heena Mohammed (Harris) - United Kingdom
Former Policy Advisor, UK Government
Designing and improving equitable, community-based solutions to eliminating racial disparities in crime and policing policy.

Karem Muksed (Crown) - Chicago
Mental Health Professional and Refugee and Immigrant Advocate
Increasing mental health care access to refugees by focusing on services and trauma-informed practices.

Omotunde Odedeyi (Booth) - Nigeria
Co-Founder, JetAfrica
Bridging the opportunity gap for young Nigerians through mentorship and entrepreneurial skills development.

Rebecca Silverman (Crown) - Chicago
Co-Founder, Rose Café
Promoting literacy, education and peace in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago.

Nishit Shukla (Harris) - India
Co-Founder, ReHive
Scaling impact of promising climate adaptation startups through climate finance solutions.

Lily Wang (Booth) - Canada
Co-Founder & CEO, Demi
Building a healthier planet through sleek and convenient urban composting solutions to reduce food waste and encourage sustainable living habits.

DeKevious Wilson (Harris) - Chicago
Regional Manager, Youth Guidance - Becoming A Man Program (BAM)
Fostering, supporting and strengthening resources of urban communities through mental health advocacy and policy work.

Umama Zillur (Harris) - Bangladesh
Founder and Director, Kotha
Addressing the root causes of gender-based violence in Bangladesh and South Asia through advocacy and educational interventions.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are restarting our travelling patterns while reviewing and expanding our format. We offer the opportunity to a series of researchers to work in the field for an extended period, with the support of local partners. The researchers will contribute to solidify and expand a research agenda that each partner has been developing along with the DPU, in a collaborative fashion.

Applications are currently open for the fellowships in Cali and São Paulo, whereas we will share the call for Berbera and Zeila in a few weeks. All DPU alumni, and DPU and UCL current PhD students, are eligible to apply. The financial support for the Research Fellows is: 4500 GBP for Cali; 4500 GBP for São Paulo. This amount is meant to cover travel costs, living allowances (accommodation, meal, transportation), visa as and if applicable and medical insurance. Duration of the fellowships is one month (starting in mid-November), plus up to one month for finalisation of deliverables. Full details are available in the Role Descriptions on the DPU summerLab webpage.

In Cali, we are happy to partner with Universidad del Valle, one of the most influential public universities in Colombia. DPU and Universidad del Valle have recently collaborated on the Gridding Equitable Urban Futures in Areas of Transition (GREAT), a three-year research project (led by Lancaster University) that aims to generate change in informal off-grid settlements located in Cali (Colombia) and Havana (Cuba). The research in Cali is focusing on four ‘barrios populares’ (‘popular neighbourhoods’, informal settlements understood as areas of transition), through three thematic PublicLabs: Mobility and Transport, Zero Waste and Neighbourhood Upgrading Policy. So far, GREAT has managed to build a strong network of community, public and private actors to work on the development of the first neighbourhood upgrading programme with an intersectional approach to be implemented in the four settlements GREAT focuses on. The Research Fellow will support the agenda of the PublicLabs, analysing and interpreting existing data, producing a series of qualitative georeferenced maps – on emotions and perceptions, for instance – and liaise with relevant stakeholders through participatory research methods.

In São Paulo, our partner will be the Fundação Escola de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo (FESPSP), a partner of DPU, The Bartlett and UCL in both teaching and research activities. FESPSP is Brazil’s first undergraduate Social Sciences school, and hosts a postgraduate programme as well, with more than ten courses. It is a reference in MBAs in public policy. FESPSP provides support to governments, non-profits and companies, helping them formulate, implement and evaluate social policy as well as urban and infrastructure policy. The Research Fellow will be part of FESPSP’s research group on Sanitation and work alongside a local student – financially supported by DPU, too. S/he will contribute to further expand a cross-departmental research initiative at UCL (see here for instance, as an example amongst a wider series of projects) that is concerned with mapping linkages between sanitation and the sustainable development goals, to raise the importance of sanitation and promote integrated approaches and benefits. The Research Fellow will carry out grounded work in São Paulo, and dialogue with local stakeholders, mapping the synergies, risks and trade-offs between sanitation and the SDGs.

We thank our partners for the effort that have, and will, put in this initiative, and DPU colleagues Dr Catalina Ortiz and Dr Pascale Hofmann for their inputs, supervision, and engagement with partners in, respectively, Cali and São Paulo. We look forward to a rich experience of knowledge co-production.

Deadline for application is Monday 17 October at 1pm. For further information and clarification, please contact the DPU summerLab programme coordinator Dr Giorgio Talocci at [email protected]

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