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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 04 

Virginia Tech welcomes 10 Humphrey Fellows from 8 countries

April 27, 2015

Khim Ghale talking with Leslie Hager-Smith
Khim Ghale, a journalist from Nepal, talks with Blacksburg Councilwoman Leslie Hager-Smith during a reception for the Humphrey Fellows at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

Khim Ghale has worked as an editor and district bureau chief for the largest Nepali language newspaper in Nepal. But like his colleagues in the United States and elsewhere, he is anxious about the future of journalism.

As a Humphrey Fellow, Ghale will spend a year in the United States developing his leadership skills and studying ways to marry modern technology and traditional journalism. First, though, he'll spend the next four months with nine other Fellows improving their English at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute.

This is the eighth year the institute has hosted the Humphrey Fellowship Long-Term English Language Program. The 20-week program increases Fellows' English proficiency and understanding of American culture.

"In addition to language courses at the institute, the Fellows learn leadership skills and intercultural development," says program director Susan Neu. "They really get immersed in the activities and opportunities at the university and around Blacksburg."

Don Back, the institute's director, says the community also benefits. "These individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and fascinating experiences to the university," he says. "All of the Fellows are generous in sharing their international perspectives – whether it's with a class, a departmental meeting, or a community organization."

The Fellows are accomplished midcareer professionals from designated countries around the world who will go on to study at other U.S. universities for a year of graduate work, professional training, and career-related experiences. The fellowship is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education.

In addition to providing language training to international students, the Language and Culture Institute, part of Outreach and International Affairs, also develops international partnerships and global initiatives that link Virginia Tech to the world.

To arrange a meeting with the Fellows, contact program administrator Eric Moore by email or at 540-231-6681. 

2015 Humphrey Fellows

  • Buddhi Ram Chaudhary Tharu, a local economic development expert from Nepal
  • Tito Francisco Chile Ama, an architect from El Salvador
  • Khim Ghale, a journalist from Nepal
  • Sam Oeurn Ke, an agricultural value chain and rural business advisor from Cambodia
  • Tannia Margarita Mayorga Torres, a professor specializing in geographic information systems and software related to modeling and mining from Ecuador
  • Juan Camilo Molina Bolívar, a professor of ethics, social science, and communication from Ecuador
  • Azar Nazarov, a journalist from Azerbaijan
  • Maria Beatriz Pugliese, a viticulture researcher from Argentina
  • Sylvanie Patricia Nelly Talani Nanitelamio, a journalist from the Republic of Congo
  • Khaing Thandar Nyunt, an assistant director for the Central Bank of Myanmar

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Rich Mathieson

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