BURLINGTON—Vermont Housing Finance Agency Public Affairs Manager John Fairbanks is attending the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government this month. Fairbanks, who joined VHFA in 2001, was one of 20 applicants nation-wide who is attending the Program as a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow. The Fannie Mae Foundation awards fellowships to the Program in recognition of the Fellows’ “commitment to and accomplishments in the field of affordable housing.” The Program is “an intensive three-week course designed to enhance leadership skills, develop new management techniques, and cultivate relationships among public sector colleagues.” The curriculum covers policy analysis, strategic management, political management and negotiation and includes workshops run by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. The Kennedy School selects program participants representing public sector management in housing, health, public safety, budget, administration and public works. In 1996, the Fannie Mae Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University established the Fannie Mae Foundation Fellowship Program to enhance the management and decision-making skills of senior public and nonprofit officials dedicated to improving affordable housing opportunities in communities across the country. Each year, the Fannie Mae Foundation sponsors up to 35 fellowships, and since the program’s inception, nearly 250 state and local officials have participated. This year’s selection process was particularly competitive because there was an increased number of high-level applicants, with nearly 100 applicants for the available fellowships.