Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs selected for Marshall Memorial Fellowship
June 3, 2015
Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs was chosen as one of 76 fellows for this year's Marshall Memorial Fellowship.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity — I couldn't be more excited," he said after finding out he was selected from the pool of 700 in April.
The prestigious fellowship, created in 1982, encourages upcoming leaders from Europe and the United States to gain understanding of global diplomacy. The program stems from the German Marshall Fund, an endowment created following World War II to foster transatlantic relations and prevent a third global conflict.
Politicians, lawyers, business directors and a variety of other leaders will participate in this year's program.
“There’s definitely an understanding that it’s a unique experience to go to Europe, meet with leaders and take that knowledge and do something with it by contributing back to society.”Dan GibbsSummit County commissioner
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"There are very few opportunities, when you're working on professional level, to work with other young leaders around the world," he said. "I think it's going to be fascinating to meet a lot of people who are leaders in the business community."
To be eligible for the fund, fellows must be nominated by a previous Marshall Memorial Fellow, be younger than age 40 and be recognized as an emerging leader. Gibbs was nominated by Colorado Mountain College Chief Operating Officer Matt Gianneschi, who thought Gibbs would be a good fit given his previous experience working with federal, state and local government.
"For me, he seemed like a slam dunk. He's a terrific candidate, exactly the kind of person they're looking for," Gianneschi said. "I'm glad they agreed with me."
Gibbs, who formerly served as a state representative and senator as well as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, will be asked to share about his experiences with state and local politics to nominees from other countries, as well as bring back what he has learned to the Summit community.
"I'm a lifelong learner, and I'm looking forward to learning," Gibbs said. "I hope my experience will benefit Summit County and the state of Colorado."
At the beginning of the fellowship, he will read about different topics each week, which will be discussed with the other fellows. Then in September, the fellows will travel to Europe for a 24-day trip, where they will visit five different countries and meet with experts on selected topics, such as local infrastructure, transportation, education and sustainable tourism.
"There's definitely an understanding that it's a unique experience to go to Europe, meet with leaders and take that knowledge and do something with it by contributing back to society," he said.
While he hasn't chosen an area of focus yet, he knows that one of the stops on the trip for all fellows will be in Brussels, to meet European Union leaders and gain an understanding of their governance.
Gianneschi, who chose to focus on education throughout his fellowship, visited Hungary, Spain and Serbia to meet with university presidents and state education directors. He said that the trip was far from a vacation.
"You're meeting all day long, every day; you get challenged personally and professionally," Gianneschi said. "For me, it was extraordinarily beneficial. I hope (Gibbs) is similarly touched by whatever he sees, both positively and negatively."
Other Colorado fellows for this year include Denver attorney Meschach Rhoades and Denver resident Olivia Mendoza, director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade's Minority Business Office.