Alumnus Plans to Use Fellowship to Promote Human Rights
May 2, 2012 – A Georgetown alumnus who spent the first 15 years of his life in Haiti has won a fellowship to pursue a career in the Foreign Service from the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program.
Garvey Pierre (C’09), who received a master’s degree in education and social change from the University of Miami, will use the fellowship to obtain a master’s degree in international education development from Columbia University.
Pierre has signed an agreement to work for the State Department for three years immediately after his two years of graduate school.
“I am honored to have been granted this amazing opportunity to serve in a capacity that will allow me to reach individuals from various cultural backgrounds across the globe,” Pierre says. “I hope to utilize all the resources at my disposal to promote democratic principles and fight for human rights issues, especially in support of traditionally marginalized and oppressed groups.”
Outstanding Young People
The Rangel program, which seeks to attract “outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service” is a partnership between Howard University and the U.S. Department of State, with support from Congress.
It encourages minority group members, historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, to apply, as well as those with financial need.
“My long-term career goal is to use development as a cornerstone of public diplomacy with a strong focus on education as a means to create dynamic partnerships which will last over generations,” he says.
Though Pierre was born in Boston, he was raised in Port-au-Prince.
“I grew up in an environment where strength and perseverance were prerequisites for survival and success,” he says, “forcing me to develop the level of drive and determination which has enabled me to face immense challenges in my life.”
A French major with a minor in sociology at Georgetown, Pierre, who also speaks Haitian Creole, was an intern during his undergraduate years with Voice of Haiti, a Washington, D.C., based organization that works with Haitians to connect them to experts, other organizations, and the Haitian government to physically rebuild communities.
He also worked in Haiti's Bande du Nord helping Mayor Michel St Croix implement the organization’s development plan.
“I believe that my commitment to service, along with my experiences in the nonprofit industry, coupled with my trilingual skills place me in an ideal position to be an asset to the State Department,” Pierre wrote in his application essay. “Those early years spent in high risk environments will allow me to navigate through crisis zones that may be unfamiliar to others.”
Pierre spent two years working for Teach For America in Florida after graduation.
“I got an opportunity to fight for what I believe to be the civil rights issue of my generation – educational equality,” Pierre says.
The alumnus now serves as assistant director for the Upward Bound Program in Boston.
He also holds a fellowship with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a career development institution that equips African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans with “the key ingredients – skills, coaching and door-opening relationships – that unlock their potential.”
Pierre says his attachment to Georgetown “seems to only get stronger as I remain extremely grateful for the doors that were opened for me there.”
He notes that he has maintained strong relationships with former university leader and English professor Daniel Porterfield, now the president of Franklin & Marshall College, and with Andria Wisler, now director of Georgetown's Program on Justice and Peace.
“I can honestly say that I felt truly embraced by the Georgetown faculty, students and staff since the first day I set foot on campus,” he says.