Meet Our Fellow: Erin Schwartz
Why did you join the Fellows program?
A good friend who is a World Affairs Fellow Alum recommended the program to me. I was inspired by the chance to be part of a globally minded cohort and hear from an amazing group of speakers from around the world in an intimate setting. The program was directly relevant to my work in industry relations and a great way for me to bring knowledge of high level issues back to my work place.
What did you gain from the experience?
Being part of the World Affairs Council Fellows Program provided me with a macro perspective on my daily work in industry relations through candid, off-the-record conversations. I got to hear from expert speakers on geopolitics pertinent to my work from the Chips and Science Act to energy and climate control to cyber security and AI. I was able to personally connect with speakers while strengthening my global network thanks to the strong group of participants from across sectors. I met new folks from orgs like Microsoft, SeaGen, and Boeing that I work with daily, and also reconnect with old friends from global health.
What was a program highlight for you?
A couple of speakers stand out in my mind as stellar talks. One was Juan Lavista Ferres, Chief Data Scientist from Microsoft, who leads their AI for Good initiative. He was a great teacher and storyteller, and the talk was especially timely due to the explosion of international news about strides in generative intelligence. Another great speaker was Richard Ragan, United Nations WFP Representative in Yemen. He was also an amazing storyteller. He shared some remarkable personal stories about what it was like to live in various places in the world with his young family. Richard is extremely well connected and was open to me connecting him with a colleague from another INGO based in Yemen. The idea that a connection I made through the program could help people around the world with unmet needs makes my heart happy.
What would you say to incoming applicants?
I highly recommend the World Affairs Council Fellows Program and even would consider doing it again myself. The monthly gatherings are a unique opportunity to have open and candid conversations with high level leaders driven by the need for social change. Just being in their presence will make you feel plugged into our global community.