Fellowship Supports SAIS Scholars

October 10, 2023 by Ruth Wendlandt | Header image by Will Kirk

Robert K. Carr Fellowship leaves a lasting impact on recipients

For more than 30 years, the Robert K. Carr Fellowship has impacted generations of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) students. Robert “Rob” Carr, a 1964 SAIS graduate, established the fellowship in honor of his late father — an educator, expert in constitutional law and civil liberties, and former president of Oberlin College. As a former SAIS student himself, Carr explains how he received financial assistance and knew he wanted to give back when he embarked on his career in international energy. The fellowship supports student scholars studying in the areas of development, climate, and sustainability.

Rob Carr is standing outside smiling. There is a lake in the background. Rob is wearing a blue dress shirt, green tie, tan jacket, and dark dress pants.
Alumnus Rob Carr established the Robert K. Carr Fellowship in honor of his father. The fellowship supports SAIS scholars.

“I admired my father’s career in academia,” says Carr. “I also appreciated my fellowship aid and its significance. I was married and studying in Bologna, Italy. I needed the aid.”

Throughout the past three decades, the fellowship has grown in scope. In 2022, Carr elevated the impact by committing to increase the student financial award and the endowment annually. Carr, who is now retired, emphasized as his career opportunities advanced, he wanted his contributions to match.

“I’m in a totally different financial situation. I did what I could before. I’m going to do now what I can. It’s all been built into my estate planning exercise,” says Carr. “You reach a point in your life when you can afford to do more and you should.”

Gillous Harris, the 2022 recipient of the Robert K. Carr Fellowship, felt the financial impact immediately as he navigated his second year of studying international relations. He describes how being a 2023 SAIS graduate and a fellow helped jump-start his career. Harris is a research analyst in Washington, D.C., where he works on projects focused on AI and international development.

Gillous Harris is smiling. He's wearing a dark jacket, blue tie with small white polka dots, and a white collared shirt with small blue polka dots.
Gillous Harris, 2022 Robert K. Carr Fellow.

“I’m so grateful to Rob. To receive a named fellowship was an honor,” says Harris. “I was able to solely focus on my studies and internship — it’s why I’m working where I am today.”

Last fall, Harris met Carr in Washington, D.C., where they shared stories about their time at SAIS Europe in Bologna, along with their educational and professional experiences.

“It was great to talk to Rob. We discussed international relations and finance in Africa. It was really cool,” says Harris. “It was interesting to learn how much SAIS has changed since Rob was a student. He was excited when I told him about the classes I was taking and how they were being taught.”

“Meeting the awardees is refreshing and positive. It’s a fulfilling experience,” adds Carr. “There are many career opportunities emerging for SAIS students. The students are receiving a broad education with hands-on experience, and internships. I believe it’s a home run.”

Carr remains active as alumnus, staying informed about SAIS, and even previously serving on the advisory board. He enjoys learning about how the fellows are becoming global leaders.

“Why do we give to worthy causes? Because we think it’ll have a positive impact. The relevancy of this program moving beyond academics and into real world career opportunities are valuable to society,” says Carr. “It’s public service. Even if the graduates enter into a business career like mine, to understand the significance of climate change, renewables, and geopolitics, in my mind, is extremely important.”

As a recent graduate, Harris expresses how fortunate he feels to be connected to Rob, SAIS fellows, and alumni.

“Rob is great; he’s so interesting,” says Harris. “I’m thankful for my fellowship.”

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Topics: Alumni, School of Advanced International Studies, Strengthening Partnerships, Support Scholars