Stephan Hess (MMF ‘85) Reflects on Meeting Rosa Parks During His MMF
"Meeting Rosa Parks in Charleston, with her calm and collected demeanor, was a highlight of my MMF experience that has only gained significance over the years," alumnus Stephan Hess (MMF ‘85) recently reflected.
Born and residing in Munich, Germany, Hess is an artist who works across a variety of media. His inclination to experiment and produce new visual encounters is evident in his land-art, concept-art, and performance-art endeavors, as well as his drawings, prints and sculptures.
Hess believes that regardless of one’s profession, the deep cultural and policy immersion offered through the Marshall Memorial Fellowship holds the power to transform careers and lives. “Nothing beats looking at the real thing," he maintains. “It may even relieve you of the blindness of your own assumptions. Indeed, many European MMFs arrived in the U.S. with anti-American sentiments which they soon felt compelled to examine,” he noted. With respect to his own experiences – meeting the civil rights activist Rosa Parks, witnessing the early days of Silicon Valley, and visiting churches housing undocumented immigrants in Houston– all have influenced the themes and interpretations of his own creative work both as a leader in the business world and in the art world. “We must make an effort to both see and understand,” Hess believes. Through exposure to transatlantic relations gained during his MMF, he and other alumni have solidified many important ties across the Atlantic.
Nominations for the Marshall Memorial Fellowship 2017-18 cohort are now open. You have the power to extend this opportunity to a rising leader in your network—to create a leadership learning moment as rich as meeting Rosa Parks.
Who will you nominate?
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.