Civic Happenings
from the UMass Civic Initiative                                              

May  2019
Director's Greeting

Goodbye to our long-serving colleagues, Sam Camera and Lonce Bailey

The Civic Initiative generates a lot of "hellos". We also generate a lot of "goodbyes". The best thing we do each year is to get to know people from all over the world, but the saddest thing is saying goodbye at the program end. Many people have said it over the years but we become a family in a very short time.
This year will feature some special goodbyes. Sam Camera, who has directed our Pakistani Student Leader Program since 2009 will not be the Academic Director this year. Her co-director, Tom Fricke, will work with Journalism instructor Shaheen Pasha. Sam and I first said our "hello" working on Indonesian teacher programs. We have worked all over Indonesia and Pakistan. It has been an honor to work with Sam.
Lonce has been with the Civic Initiative since its founding in 2003. He has helped as a volunteer; worked as a full time employee; and served as the Academic Director for our SUSI Scholars program on American Politics and Political Science since 2007.  Lonce will work with the program for a part of this summer and take a lead in scheduling speakers. I will take over the day to day academic work.
Sam and Lonce are responsible for many of the Civic Initiative innovations over the years and they are the model of what an Academic Director should be. They are knowledgeable about the subject but also sensitive as to how to convey that information to an international audience. They both, in their different ways, went way beyond the classroom and reached out and touched the lives of every visitor. They were always engaged, curious, and enthusiastic.
I said we say a lot of goodbyes - but as many of you know - we also come back to re-engage. Both Lonce and Sam are looking for new projects and will also be around to help with the program; speak; and continue to inspire each and every one of our visitors. I will very much miss their daily support but I am also confident we will work together in the future.

We are looking forward to another great summer in Amherst. We will welcome the Argentinian Fulbright group, Pakistan student leaders, our international scholars (APD), a group of nonprofit administrators from Pakistan and a brand new group of entrepreneurs  from North Africa. 

Mike Hannahan
Director, UMass Civic Initiative
What We Did Over Our Winter "Vacation"
The Civic team and alumni on the beach near Karachi in January

We went on the road once again in January. We traveled to the familiar (for us, at least!) country of Pakistan with a group of 10 staff and UMass students. Included in the group were Mike Hannahan, Civic director; Becky Howland, Civic program manager; Dana Henry, ODLS director and Ken LeBlond, the institute's marketing communications manager

The group kicked off one program, continued two others and concluded a third. "Strengthening Civic Society Organizations" is a new program, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, that works with nonprofit organizations through Pakistan on capacity-building. Many of the orgs who attended the workshops will also travel to Amherst to continue the program this summer.

Alumni from the Instructional Leadership Institute for Pakistani Educators (ILIPE) attended workshops in Lahore led by faculty from the UMass Amherst College of Education.

The SUSI Pakistani Student Leaders program has been run by Civic every year since 2010. We held professional development workshops for alumni groups in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi which were attended by close to 150 alumni.

Finally, the Balochistan University Partnership Program concluded after several installments in Pakistan and the US, starting in 2016. Sixty current college students from the Balochistan province attended two days of workshops in Karachi.

Mike and Ken also traveled to Peshawar to touch base with several alumni of the American Politics and Political Thought program and discuss possible future programs with a few educational institutions. Mike also gave foreign policy lectures at Islamia College and the Quaid-e-Azam school.

Connections made outside the program
Students in the Swat Valley of Pakistan get needed supplies

GPS Thaan Torwal students with their new backpacks
Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Instructional Leadership Institute for Pakistani Educators (ILIPE) program brings 20 Pakistani secondary school teachers and administrators to UMass for five weeks providing training and instruction on curriculum development and evaluation. 

One of the Summer 2018 teachers, Mujahid Torwali from the Swat region, struck up a friendship with Ken LeBlond, Marketing Communications Manager at the UMass Donahue Institute. After seeing pictures of Mujahid's government school in Bahrain, Pakistan (GPS Thaan Torwal), Mr. Torwali accepted Ken's offer to help the school with the purchase of student supplies. Ken then raised funds in Amherst with the help of friends and Civic Initiative colleagues. Next, working with a supplies vendor based out of Quetta, Pakistan, Ken and Mujahid  collaborated on the purchase of 200 pencils, 120 notebooks and 120 backpacks. The pencils and notebooks were printed with "GPS Thaan Torwal" on them.

The supplies were delivered to Mujahid in January 2019 and Mr. Torwali distributed the supplies to his students in March 2019.

Civic Participant Showcase

Syed Waqas Ali
Program Title and Year: SUSI on American Politics and Political Thought, 2018

What have you been up to since the program?  Following my UMass Civic Initiative experience, I have been having a very productive time with active involvement in public talks and debates on the American political system and its evolution aiming at creating understanding US politics, its dynamics and furthering Pakistan-US relationship on civil society level. Undoubtedly, the rigorous training on US politics and political system proved to be empowering and helped me rebuild my understanding based on evidence and personal experience.  
I have also been appearing on television talk shows as a political analyst, hosting workshops on governance and peace-building, addressing conferences on educational challenges and also doing a lot of civil society work on peace-building, governance and political empowerment of young people. Besides, I had a great opportunity to host and reconnect with amazing colleagues from the Civic Initiative group during their January 2019 trip to Pakistan, which further enhanced opportunities of mutual learning and interaction.
What was the most influential experience you had while in the U.S. with the Civic Initiative?  The relationships I built, the interactions I had, the value system I observed, the acceptance I got, while embracing diversity as one of the strengths of the system, and dignity of human lives were very influential. The most powerful experience with the Civic Initiatives was the trust, confidence and the environment of learning and sharing among scholars from almost all the continents of world who bonded like a close-knit family. This would never have been made possible without a strong value system upheld by the Civic Initiative. I highly appreciate the team spirit and exchanging ideas on relevant topics and the insights on US politics and the American Political Thought.

If you could spend another day in Amherst, how would you spend it?  I don't think one day would be enough because memories are quite vivid and revisiting the place would definitely require more than 24 hours. Nevertheless, I would enjoy having a long conversation on the latest developments of American and world politics on the lawn by the lake with my SUSI group and UMass Civic Initiative group.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a person chosen to participate in this program?  One should always be open to change, be ready to embrace new ideas, and believe that both society and government can operate differently. Take the plunge in the big world of American politics and ask as many questions as possible.
What is next on your To Do List?  Besides expanding my academic writings and outreach, I am planning to prepare a course on US history and potentially consider ways of expanding Pakistan-US relationship at grassroots level. I am also planning to work and lobby for political empowerment of young people through their trainings and social movement for restoration of democratic structures at grassroots. As a peace-building activist, I am planning to create environment that should enable both India and Pakistan to move ahead and restore bilateral relationship and dialogue, in particular over the disputed region of Kashmir from where I belong.
Where Are They Now? 

Eric White
Mentor, Pakistan SUSI, 2011 
APD Team Leader, 2012

What have you been up to since Civic?  When we finished up the APD program and closed the summer programming in Amherst, I moved back to Boston, MA and joined the "Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate" campaign. I was a field organizer in my home neighborhoods of Roslindale and Hyde Park and organized door-to-door canvassing, phonebanks, and recruited for larger political events such as parades and rallies. I was later hired by an at-large Boston City Councilor named Ayanna Pressley. as a part-time neighborhood liaison handling constituent matters from neighborhoods around Boston-issues like potholes, broken street lights, and public park clean ups. In 2014, I was promoted to handle her policy portfolio on the Boston City Council as her Policy Director, which included her groundbreaking work reforming the State of Massachusetts' antiquated liquor license laws. At the end of 2017, I was promoted to be her Chief of Staff managing her entire operation inside City Hall, including her staff, policy, communications, constituent services, as well as her political organization. In 2018, she decided to run for the United States Congress in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District. I remained her Chief of Staff managing her official and campaign activities and in September of 2018 she upset a 10-term incumbent Congressman for the Democratic nomination. In the November general election she became the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in Congress in the 230-year history of the state's delegation. Since then, I have served as the Congresswoman's District Director in charge of her office here in the Massachusetts 7th District. I oversee a staff of four others who are responsible for all federal constituent services, managing the Congresswoman's official events, communicating with constituents as well as the press, and bringing the voices of constituents at home to Washington DC.
What was the most influential experience you had while in the U.S. with the Civic Initiative?  The most influential experiences might be the casual conversations outside of the classroom with participants and other staff. Away from the classroom and the 'assigned reading' we were able to learn about each other's day-to-day lives before coming to the Civic Initiative. I did not travel very much growing up, but for those summers I was working on the APD program I was able to meet and learn about 18 different countries through my new international friends. There were small quips about how we will never know what crowds really feel like until we visit Hyderabad, India. And, there were deeper conversations about how America earned its reputation in countries like the Sudan and how our personal interactions here in the program can build a new image in at least one professor's mind. It has always stayed with me that those honest conversations on the sidewalks of Amherst, Massachusetts put a face to a name for at least 18 professors.

If you could spend another day in Amherst, how would you spend it?  I have been back in Boston since graduating college, so first I would need to take a walking tour of the campus. I would love to poke my head back into the basement of the library and see where I wrote all those late-night papers. And of course, I would have to stop by The Hangar and grab some honey mustard boneless wings and a beer. Haven't found wings that good since I left college.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a person chosen to participate in this program?  It's the same advice I give anyone (even if I still struggle to follow it myself). Keep a journal of those conversations. You'll never recall the whole conversation, but I do wish I had a better record of who I had the privilege to share the summer with and at least a prompt of what we spoke about.
Do You Remember?

Bowling with 2015 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program
Experiencing Massachusetts nature with 2015 Young Southeast Asian Leaders
APD 2015
What were your favorite memories from your program? 
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