TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —
Florida A&M University alumnus Calvin Hayes
was recently appointed the newest United States diplomat to Bangladesh. As a U.S. diplomat, Hayes will oversee the Fulbright program, a United States sponsored international educational exchange program, and will assist with press and publicity.
“As a foreign diplomat, my job is to promote American values, encourage democracy and good governance, facilitate academic and cultural exchange, and support U.S. foreign goals through strategic communication and outreach,” Hayes said.
The former student body vice president will serve in this position upon completion of an intensive training program at the Foreign Service Institute. He is being trained in foreign policies and the official language of Bangladesh, “Bangla.”
“I wanted to combine my interest in public relations and journalism with my interest in working abroad,” Hayes said.
A 2010 graduate of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications (SJGC), Hayes credits much of his success to the guidance and opportunities he received while attending FAMU. During his undergraduate years, his interests in foreign service was sparked through his involvement in programs like Camp Adventure and Study Abroad, where he traveled to Europe, Israel, and East and West Africa.
“The reason why I do this is because I know it’s my purpose to have these experiences so I can give back to the next generation of students,” Hayes said.
Hayes spent most of his time on campus working as a student advocate and fighting for issues, such as affordable education and voting awareness. He says he plans to apply these same leadership experiences to the foreign arena.
“FAMU gave me the skills to be a leader and because of FAMU, I have the ability to improve the lives of others,” he said.
FAMU SJGC Professor LaRae Donnellan
is excited to hear that Hayes will take his cultural and leadership skills to Bangladesh.
“As a public relations student, Calvin honed his communication skills, which will certainly come in handy in his new position,” Donnellan said. “Calvin displayed a keen interest in international affairs and by studying Arabic, he prepared himself to make a difference in an important region of the world. Calvin will bring intelligence, empathy and passion to support initiatives in this incredibly impoverished nation.”
Hayes is the founder and CEO of “Define The Moment Enterprises,” a consulting firm that is focused on maximizing the full potential of youth. Hayes jumpstarted the company after graduating from FAMU and has spent time traveling around the country to encourage and inspire youth to make good decisions, challenge themselves and engage in international opportunities.
“It just gives me the opportunity to live out my purpose and live for a cause that is much greater than myself,” he said.
Hayes’ staunch support of early international engagement stems from the limited representation of minorities overseas. Hayes believes that students should take advantage of scholarships and opportunities that encourage international studies.
“I want to encourage students to study abroad, to learn critical languages and remain aware of global issues,” Hayes said.
Hayes is the co-author of Chasing the Artificial Rainbow. He will begin his two-year assignment to Bangladesh in April 2014.
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