Former Walla Walla resident John Smelcer, now of London, was one of 24 Americans chosen to be a fellow of the British American Project. Its aim is to help maintain and enrich the longstanding relationship between Britain and the United States.
The BAP annually selects up to two dozen new members each from the United States and Great Britain to join and participate in a conference that alternates each year between the United States and Great Britain. The conference this year was in Edinburgh, Scotland, with the theme "From abundance to Scarcity - Sustainability and Development in the 21st Century." It focused on the changing landscape of risk and opportunity in an increasingly resource constrained world.
Nominees to become fellows are between 28-40 years of age, with a proven track record of achievement and high future potential.
Both committees, British and American, look for the following qualities in candidates: The ability to take risks with ideas and to offer significant insights from both their own specialism and other domains; interest in the views of others and in the transatlantic dimension of the Project; leadership achievement or potential to make significant impact in their fields; and a personality that combines well with the chemistry of the conference.
A 1994 graduate of Walla Walla High School, John graduated from Princeton University in 1998 and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist for the state of Washington. After graduation, he lived and worked in southern Africa for five years. He was founding national program director of the Public Policy Partnership in South Africa, a program that built and led a coalition of South African government, universities and local and international funding organizations to provide public policy training to top South African university students to prepare them for careers in public service there. He returned to the United States to attend the University of Washington School of Law.
While there, he was named to the William Sampson Fellowship and studied in Dublin, Ireland, for a summer, was an editor of The Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal and was co-president of the Innocence Project Northwest Student Chapter.
Following graduation from the UW School of Law in 2006, he joined the London office of the law firm Latham and Watkins LLP, as an associate with focus primarily on project development and finance.
His wife, Dr. Mpho Tlali, is a physician at the Royal London Hospital. His parents are Dale and La Dessa Smelcer of Walla Walla.
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