The Yale World Fellow experience

Last week I came back home in The Hague from my Yale World Fellow experience: a semester at Yale University. I did not yet share anything of that experience on this blog. In early December, I was asked to take Instagram photos throughout one day on campus to give an idea of what a day at Yale looks like for a Yale Word Fellow. You can find this ‘One day in the life’ here.

Sterling Memorial Library, the Yale World Fellow experience

Sterling Memorial Library

There is however no such thing as a typical day for a Yale World Fellow. Each day was completely different from the next. I could have taken pictures of lecturing on the use of twitter in diplomacy, on the impact of climate change on security, or of discussing career choices with students. Or I could have posted pictures of a day that I trained students in multilateral diplomacy, where each student played the role of an ambassador in the United Nations.

View this link for the video of a class I gave at the Yale School of Management on our global environmental challenges this century.

I could have included pictures of studying in the beautiful Sterling Memorial Library, or in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, or working among other students in the Starbucks close to my apartment on the corner of Chapel and High Street. Many pictures of my time at Yale can be found at

Yale World Fellow life in pictures

I would have loved to share pictures of our memorable dinners in the World Fellows headquarters ‘Betts House’. We met there twice a week with distinguished speakers. For instance, the poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and recited “Praise Song for the Day” at President Obama’s first Presidential Inauguration. Or I could have added a picture of the dinner with General (ret.) Stan McChrystal who spoke about leadership, or perhaps a picture of the meeting with Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC. There are simply too many speakers that I could mention that inspired us, challenged us, or warned for the future of our planet.

Yale architecture, Yale World Fellow experience

Yale Campus

I would also have liked to show you more pictures of the remarkable architecture of Yale. The buildings seem designed to motivate you to study; others claim they should be used to shoot the next Harry Potter movie.

I would have liked to add pictures of the training we received in public speaking, or the interviews I did in the Yale studio.

To get an idea, you could listen to this podcast on the use of social media in diplomacy.

Working visits in the U.S. and abroad

I could have chosen to take pictures of the trips that we made outside of New Haven. Part of the Yale World Fellow experience was visiting the Wall Street Journal in New York City, the World Bank in Washington DC. We also had a retreat of the World Fellows in the forests of Massachusetts. I could have added more color by including pictures of the trips I made to Marrakesh and Naples. Both trips followed from the cooperation between Yale World Fellows and the German Marshall Fund.

Napels conference, Yale World Fellows

Naples in the days before Christmas

But there is not something like ‘the’ story of a Yale World Fellow. Not one single day is like the other; just like all the fellows are so different in their background and the way they create their own program during their semester at Yale. I have learned so much from listening to their experiences in life, the choices they have made in their professional careers, their innovative and often brave approaches. I will continue to follow these inspiring change-makers in their next steps. You can find information about them on the Yale World Fellow website. And with one more click, you get to their profiles where you can follow all of them on social media.

On this early morning after last night’s Christmas dinner in The Hague, I look back on this semester at Yale with enormous gratitude to the excellent, inspiring, and creative staff of the World Fellows Program that has provided us with this unique opportunity. It was truly an amazing experience.

Yale World Fellows retreat in Massachusetts

YWF retreat in Massachusetts

Yale World Fellows, Harkness Tower

Harkness Tower