Dear Friends of Eisenhower Fellowships,
In these difficult days, we hope you and your families are safe and healthy. Thank you for your support, your patience and your understanding as we navigate the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seems like only yesterday that nearly 250 Fellows and invited guests from 37 countries gathered for a spectacular global conference on the Future of Education in Cartagena, Colombia, putting on vivid display the electric energy Eisenhower Fellows generate whenever they come together. Since then we have been closely following developments and our hearts go out to all the members of our EF family whose nations and communities have been ravaged by the rapacious spread of the coronavirus.
In Philadelphia, our staff has been working remotely and productively for the last five weeks, immersing ourselves in intensive planning to adapt our 2020 fellowship programs to these fast-changing circumstances disrupting life everywhere.
We remain committed to our mission of connecting and supporting exceptional leaders to enhance international understanding and catalyze the kind of collaborations that generate concrete impact and help better our world. To ensure the safety of our Fellows and of our colleagues, we have postponed all our spring programs and public-facing events until this fall, including our Annual Meeting.
In the meantime, we are finding innovative ways to engage the EF global network. Today we began a series of virtual “family chats” with our country chapters around the world to check in with our Fellows and hear how they are coping with the crisis. As a member of the EF global family, you will be able to see these virtual conversations and other stories of Fellows who are rolling up their sleeves to address their societies’ most critical needs.
Looking ahead to this fall,
the Eisenhower Fellowships Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner will be held in Philadelphia on Wednesday, October 14, with follow-on events the next day, October 15.
In the months before then, we will be engaging all our 2020 Fellows online with new virtual programming weeks before they begin their travels in the U.S. or overseas.
In the meantime, Eisenhower Fellows do us proud every day. In Shanghai, Trustee Solomon Cai, an Eisenhower Fellow from China, and a group of other Chinese Fellows have donated 10,000 surgical masks to EF. In Philadelphia, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa, an Eisenhower USA Fellow, connected EF to the office of Mayor Jim Kenney and to Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, Director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and another Eisenhower USA Fellow. Adam and his team will oversee distribution of the masks wherever they are most needed in the city.
Beyond this example of Eisenhower Fellows in action in our home city, we are inspired by the leadership, dedication and resilience of our Fellows in other countries and across the United States.
For more than 66 years, Eisenhower Fellowships has been the world’s premier international leadership exchange organization, connecting exceptional leaders around the world in direct dialogue to share ideas that break down barriers across borders and cultures. We have faced difficult challenges in the past and have always persevered. We will do so again this time.
Thank you again for your many heartfelt expressions of support as we work our way through this complex situation with you, our friends who believe in the promise and power of our amazing Fellows. The mission and work of Eisenhower Fellowships has never been more important or relevant. We need your support more than ever during these challenging times.
We hope to welcome you to Philadelphia for our Annual Meeting on Oct. 14 so you can join our Fellows from around the world as they converge here to celebrate this organization we all cherish. Until then, be safe and keep yourselves and your loved ones healthy. We look forward to seeing you soon on the other side of this.
George de Lama | President
250 S. 16
Philadelphia, PA 19102