Collegiate Graduate Shares His Global Travels as a Fulbright Fellow

Collegiate School alum Cole Phillips ‘12, a Fulbright Fellow currently living in Amman, Jordan, shared his perspective with three Upper School classes today about the political climate in the Middle East.

For his year-long Fulbright grant, Cole is researching the economic problems in rural areas of Jordan and how they contribute to the political unrest in the region. He first met with students in the Global Discussions Senior Seminar, taught by Upper School faculty member Rhiannon Boyd. 
Cole talked about how participating in Collegiate’s inaugural International Emerging Leaders Conference (IELC) six years ago, and traveling abroad to Morocco as a student at Collegiate, guided him toward his current career path.

“It really sparked my interest in the Middle East,” he said. 

Aside from his research, Cole works with Collateral Repair Project, a nonprofit organization that aids refugees from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Eritrea with basic needs as they try to rebuild their lives. He teaches English classes, helps with activities for adults and children, and raises funds for the organization.

Cole’s next stops were visits with students in Director of Global Engagement and Inclusion Erica Coffey’s Human Rights Seminar and Upper School English teacher Vlastic Svab’s Writing for Publication class. The groups spoke via Skype with Ahmad Bayer, a Syrian refugee and friend of Cole’s, who told the students about how he and his family escaped from their home in Syria and relocated to Jordan.

At the end of his day with the students, Cole expressed how proud he was of working with refugees and how excited he is to continue doing so in the future, perhaps for the UN Refugee Agency or for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in the U.S. State Department.

The students and teachers, impressed by all Cole has experienced, felt inspired by his commitment and dedication.

“When alums come back to visit our school, it shows (current) students that they really can have an impact on our world,” said Mrs. Coffey. “What Cole is doing is not typical by any means. He allows them to see that there are so many different roads to take. He is following his passion — something we hope all our students will do.”