Bringing Howard to the World Bank Group

Nadine Chapman notes the absence of African-Americans in the World Bank Group.

by Vinciane Ngomsi
Nadine Chapman's headshot

When Nadine Chapman (B.S. ’90) joined the World Bank Group (WBG) as a mediation officer in August 2000, she was inspired by the diversity of the staff. However, she noted the absence of African-Americans.

“People are often drawn to fields where they know someone who has worked in that industry,” Chapman says, who first learned about the WBG from her Aunt Geri, who worked there as an executive assistant. “Unfortunately, not many individuals have exposure to the WBG or similar institutions during their formative years.”

The World Bank Group is an international finance institution and one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It has 130 offices worldwide, the largest in Washington, D.C.

In 2014, a historic meeting between WBG former president Jim Yong Kim and President Wayne A. I. Frederick occurred at the Howard University School of Business. The meeting occurred around the time when Chapman pitched an idea to Homer LaRue, director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center at Howard School of Law: an opportunity for Howard law students to work at the WBG. By August 2015, the initiative was underway.

The program creates a pipeline between the WBG and third-year Howard law students, who would serve as associates. Associates are competitively selected to spend one year with the WBG Internal Justice Services, where they apply their legal skills and expand their network in an experiential learning environment.

Past associates have told Chapman that having the WBG on their resumes helped them stand out when seeking employment after law school. To date, the WBG has welcomed 50 associates from Howard, with 10 additional associates joining this Fall.

Chapman currently serves as manager of mediation services. Her office mediates complex workplace disputes and provides facilitation, training and team building. She has personally mentored associates assigned to her office and has remained in contact with some after their departure. “This program is the highlight of my career,” she says, noting how the experience builds confidence in the associates.

“The program is a win-win for Howard and the WBG in that staff are exposed to a diverse cadre of students they previously would not have met.”

This story appears in the Spring 2021 issue.

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