Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
After 13 years, another Fellow from Jamaica has been chosen for the United States-based prestigious Eisen-hower Fellowships' 2014 Multi-nation Programme. Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr, director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute of the University of the West Indies, was chosen from a local batch of outstanding candidates.
Jamaica has been privileged to have eight nationals receive Eisenhower Fellowships over the past 43 years. Sandra Glasgow, (Eisenhower Fellow 2000), along with Morin Seymour, (Eisenhower Fellow 1995), decided that they needed to ensure that a Jamaican was selected to be part of the 2014 Multi-nation programme.
"As the competition for spaces in this global fellowship programme is intense, we set about to find a candidate that could hold his or her own among all the other candidates in the world. Our first task was to identify a group of young leaders who would qualify for the fellowship, and our second task was to assemble a Nominating Committee," Glasgow said.
The Eisenhower Fellowship requires that the committee consist of a chairperson and membership of a minimum of five to six respected leaders representing key sectors of society, including alumni Eisenhower Fellows. Dr Richard Bernal chaired the nominating committee, and the other committee members included Richard Byles, Joseph M. Matalon, Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie, Minna Israel and Thalia Lyn.
Of the four candidates from Jamaica who also included Kimala Bennett, Yaneek Page and Rezworth Burchenson, Lyew-Ayee Jr was chosen based on the stipulated criteria of the fellowship to include an emerging leader in a field important to Jamaica's development.
Lyew-Ayee is the conceptualiser and primary developer of the Caribbean's first GPS navigation system. Working with GIS - geographic information systems - Lyew-Ayee has been providing real-time technology aids to the security forces and others with an interest in spatial mapping.
"The Eisenhower Fellowship will give me an opportunity to see how the real world works in terms of best practices. It is a non-academic fellowship, and that is new to me. However, from the information gleaned, I want to be able to take it from a field point of view to a policy/business aspect and turn it into something useful," Lyew-Ayee said.
Lyew-Ayee will be among international fellows who will visit the United States for seven weeks, from mid-March to mid-May 2014. During their travels, fellows will identify concrete projects that they undertake upon their return home. Projects range from ongoing collaborations with organisations encountered during the fellowship travel to collaborative professional and philanthropic efforts.