First-year Lehigh student Ryan Javier ’26 has been selected as a 2023 Frederick Douglass Global Fellow and will travel to Cape Town, Dublin and Washington, D.C. in the summer as part of a four-week comparative study of social justice leadership.
Javier will join 11 other students of color who were selected for the prestigious award based on their demonstrated commitment to advancing peace by building bridges among people with different viewpoints. He will join students from Arizona State University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Indiana University, Macalester College, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.
The program will run from July 6 to Aug. 5, with the students studying how changemakers shaped pathways to peace, including a study of the Emancipation Proclamation, the end of apartheid in South Africa and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
“To me, winning this award reinforces the idea that there are people who are willing to listen to my story and engage in conversations regarding antiracism and community, themes Frederick Douglass heavily advocated for,” Javier said.
“With this award, I want to bring those experiences and perspectives I hear from my time abroad … to Lehigh and enhance the conversations regarding antiracism within our predominantly white institution. I want more students of color to feel heard and provide spaces where they can share their experiences comfortably.”
The government of Ireland will co-sponsor the global fellows in honor of the meeting between abolitionist Frederick Douglass, then 27, and Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845. That experience had expanded Douglass’ view of social injustice and influenced his style of agitating for positive change through nonviolent social and political efforts in the United States.
“The future leaders on this program will return home from their time abroad with an enhanced global perspective on advancing social justice and better prepared to be agents of change in their communities and in our world,” said James P. Pellow, president and CEO of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), in a prepared statement.
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship was launched in 2017 as part of CIEE’s commitment to increasing access to study abroad by students in underrepresented groups.