Civic Happenings
from the UMass Civic Initiative                                                       May, 2017

Civic alumni in Karachi, January 2017
2017 has been a busy year for the Civic Initiative, wading through the aftermath of the presidential elections, applying for new grants, preparing for the summer, and traveling to Pakistan and Turkey for reunion programs. In January the Civic Initiative team hosted a successful Entrepreneurship Education Summit in Karachi, Pakistan, with over 80 attendees gathered from academia, government, non-profit organizations and the business world. The team then traveled to Islamabad to continue to connect with leaders in entrepreneurship. They met with Plan 9 and Plan X, a large tech incubator and accelerator to discuss possibilities of working with the groups to strengthen the entrepreneurial climate in Balochistan. 

In April, a Civic Initiative delegation of A mherst educators and former Civic mentors made the trip to Lahore as a continuation of the Instructional Leadership Institute for Pakistani Educators, and SUSI student program, meeting with alumni, touring schools, meeting students, and continuing an exchange of ideas and techniques between educators. Becky and Mike traveled to Istanbul, 
The team in Iqbal Park with the Minar-e-Pakistan in the background
Turkey directly from Islamabad meeting up with Lonce Bailey to host a reunion conference in partnership with the Hacettepe University Department of Political Science and Public Administration, and the US Department of State. This conference, titled "Governance and Institutional Change: Cross-National Perspectives", brought together alumni of the SUSI program on Politics and Political Thought from all over the world. 

Back in Amherst, we are preparing for the 6 programs we will run this summer, 2 of which are part of the new Balochistan University Partnership Program, which will bring 15 students and 15 faculty members from Balochistan to study Entrepreneurship. Academic program scheduling is underway, and we are excited to begin the next Civic Initiative summer!

Civic Participant Showcase
Guido Waisberg
Fulbright's Argentine Young Leaders Program 2010

What have you been up to since the program?
Since the program I hav e continued with m y judiciary care er. I have been fulfilling new positions and  advancing in this path.  Currently I am secretary of the National Criminal Court of Cassation.

What was the most influential experience you had while in the U.S. with the Civic Initiative? 
Being in contact with the American education system was very important. It made me want to have a longer experience in the US so in 2012 I got my Masters degree (LLM) at Yale Law School. 

If you could spend another day in Amherst, how would you spend it?
In the amazing library. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to a person chosen to participate in a Civic Initiative program?
Open your eyes and experience it not as a 30 day experience but as part of a much longer future experience.

What is next on your To Do list?
The next step in my career is to become a magistrate (judge or prosecutor), so I am currently going through the necessary institutional mechanisms to do so with a lot of patience, since it could take a lot of time or it could never even happen. 

Where Are They Now? 
Neha Deshpande
Mentor for the Pakistani Young Leaders Program 2014
Team Leader for the Pakistani Young Leaders Program 2015

What have you been up to since the program?
Since Civic, I've been living and working in Boston. Currently, I am working as a paralegal at an Immigration law firm.

What is your favorite Civic memory? 
There are too many to count! But one of my favorite memories includes going on a reunion trip to Pakistan in 2015. It was a wonderful experience to reconnect with students in their home country, reflect on their experiences in the US, and learn more about Pakistani culture and politics while actually there! I also loved the presidential campaigns each group did in Amherst. While the campaigns were a lot of work, I was always impressed with the creativity of each group and how much everyone learned about the electoral process in a short amount of time. 

What do you miss most about working with the Civic Initiative?
I truly miss the opportunity to become friends with people from such diverse backgrounds! It was fascinating to learn about the different lives and experiences of each person (program participants and Civic staff alike), and to share my experiences with them as well. 

What advice would you give a first time Civic Fellow on their first day?
Just jump right in! Working as a Civic Fellow is an incredible experience, but I would be lying if I didn't say it can be overwhelming. But if you go in with a positive attitude and use the support network of the other Fellows, Mike, Becky, and your respective Academic Director, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience with Civic!

What is next on your To Do list?
Next on my to-do list is to take a trip to Germany at the end of May! I will be doing a two week loop through Nuremberg, Munich, Berlin and Heidelberg. Once I'm back, I'll be hitting the books to start studying for the GRE!

Do You Remember?
Being out and about
Apple picking at Quonquont Farms with YSEALI 2016
IYLEP 2016 standing in front of their home for the summer
SUSI 2016 at a barbeque at Dr. Moscardelli's home in Connecticut
If you'd like to read more about the Civic team's trips to Pakistan, please visit:  

If you'd like to keep up with Mike and his thoughts on the current political landscape in the US, please visit:

What were your favorite memories from your program? Email us your favorite pictures at for a chance to get featured in the next newsletter!

Michael Hannahan                                              

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