Ismael Byers

Age: 23
Home Town: Clarkston, Michigan
Education: B.A. in Spanish and Biology (Hope College)
Specific Field Interests: Public Health, Sustainable Development, Youth Development, Videography
Placement: Youth4Jobs in Hyderabad, Telangana
Area of Focus: Livelihoods

Fellowship Project: Organize awards to bring the talent pool of artists with disabilities into the mainstream and to provide a platform for artists to showcase their work for sustainable livelihoods.

Highlights: Ismael is serving as an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow with Youth4Jobs in Hyderabad, Telangana. For his Fellowship project, he is organizing awards to bring the talent pool of artists with disabilities into the mainstream and to provide a platform for artists to showcase their work for sustainable livelihoods. Ismael’s interest in global work started when he was ten years old. Inspired by writers like Anthony Bourdain, Ismael became eager to learn about other cultures. He began producing his own radio show (The Embassy), hosting students of various cultural backgrounds to share their stories, music, and culture. Passionate about both medicine and culture, Ismael had his first exposure to development work while volunteering on a medical mission boat that served villages along the Amazon River in Brazil. There, he filmed his first social documentary. This experience inspired him to pursue an international career combining his passion for medicine, public health, and documentary film-making. He participated in a public health semester in Santiago, Chile, studying alternative approaches to medicine as practiced by local indigenous communities. While in Chile, he filmed "Solitude - A Companion Abroad," a documentary about loneliness and self-discovery that won the grand prize at the IES Abroad Film Festival. Ismael was part of research team studying community trust and mistrust in the context of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. As a researcher for the University of Michigan and Michigan State College of Human Medicine, he participated in the Future Public Health Leaders Program sponsored by the Centers of Disease Control. Ismael hopes to pursue a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology or Health Behavior to inform his career in medicine during which he will continue filming documentaries for social change.

Posts by ismael_byers

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“Discovering Ability” Art Awards: Stories of the Winners (Part 1)

120 applications and paintings. 15 finalists. 7 winners. Much deliberation went into deciding the 22 […]

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Peace in Unpreparedness and Existential Crisis: Lekha’s Philosophy of Art and Life

“Why are you here?” is a question I have been asked quite frequently while I […]

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