At first it was just me – the Humphrey fellow. When I got my final approval of being the next Croatian Humphrey fellow, I had only a vague image of what that means. I was scared and excited and I couldn`t wait to meet the others. My group, my cohort, the Humphrey fellows. Starting to use the plural meant I had my first little network, a group, people I could relate to for the rest of my life simply by the fact that we got to spent an awesome year together. And suddenly countries like Cambodia or Bangladesh, South Africa or Uruguay had a familiar face.
The Cronkite Humphrey fellows at a State department reception during the GLF in Washington
We grew together for three months until we were introduced to the big family, 150 Humphrey fellows from all over the world. Washington DC, a city that for me always meant all work and no play, suddenly became a colorful background for one of the most beautiful stories about culture sharing, education opportunities, personal development, networking and friendship.
We all speak the same language – the Balkan group of current and ex fellows: Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo
There was a chance to connect regionally, professionally, by background, by points of interest, by future plans, by shared experiences or just by a smile and a glass of wine. I got to dance sirtaki with other fellows from Europe, I got to meet Hubert Humphrey`s niece, I got to attend a birthday party of what might as well be he future Egyptian prime minister, I got to experience Halloween from an intercultural perspective, I got to work in different groups on different issues. But most of all, I became a part of a very powerful network – the Humphrey crowd. An extremely influential and progressive network of professionals, willing to help, share, participate and experience new things with me in the future. If for no other reason then because we all know what acronyms like GLF, IIE, IPP and PA mean.