Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on November 20, 2013
This article originally appeared on WKU Public Radio and is being republished courtesy of the author.
When you think of bluegrass and country music, places like Kentucky and Tennessee probably come to mind.
A scholar and musician who has been studying at WKU has another location for your list: Bulgaria.
Lilly Drumeva is a Bulgarian bluegrass and country musician who has been conducting research at WKU as part of her Fulbright Scholarship. During her time in Bowling Green, Lilly has worked closely with the WKU Folk Studies Department and Erika Brady, host of WKU Public Radio’s Barren River Breakdown.
Lilly will also travel to Nashville to research the business side of country and bluegrass music, as well as attend an international bluegrass conference in Raleigh, NC. She returns to Bulgaria in November, and will begin crafting her research into a Bulgarian-language book on bluegrass and country music.
She stopped by WKU Public Radio to talk to us about how she first encountered bluegrass music, and how the genre’s roots can be traced back to different part of Europe—including her native Bulgaria.
What made a nice girl from Bulgaria get interested in American bluegrass and country music?
“That’s a long story. It started 20 years when I was a student in Vienna, Austria. I was studying economics, and I heard country music for the first time when Emmy Lou Harris had a concert in Vienna. So I got hooked and started buying CDs.
I had a boyfriend then who played guitar, and he taught me to play a few chords. And I started buying bluegrass and country music CDs, and when I returned to Bulgaria I formed a bluegrass band, and I called it “Lilly of the West”, because Lilly is my name and also my favorite flower. And—for the Bulgarians—I came from Austria, which is in the west, so I was the “Lilly from the West.”
In 1998, we went to the Netherlands where there was a big bluegrass festival and competition. And we won it—we were voted “European Bluegrass Band of the Year.” And since then we started touring Europe, and we’ve released nine albums to date.”
When you gathered these fellow Bulgarian musicians, did you have to explain to them what U.S. country and bluegrass music was all about? Did they have any knowledge about it before you spoke to them?
“When I came back from Austria, I brought lots of CDs, so we had lots of material to learn from. But also, the three guys I found—a banjo player, a guitar player, and a bass player—they already knew a little bit about bluegrass, because in 1990 Tim O’Brien visited Bulgaria. So the American Embassy invited bluegrass musicians from the states to celebrate the fall of communism. So in 1990, the U.S. Embassy brought Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, and Sam Bush who gave a concert. And that’s when my colleagues heard bluegrass music for the first time.”
You mentioned that you were hooked when you heard Emmy Lou Harris at that concert in Vienna. Were there aspects of the music you felt that you could personally identify with? Why was it so special to you?
It’s hard to say. This is also the topic of my research—why this music is so captivating, why people get hooked. Probably it’s the energy in it, the melodies, the sincerity of the songs, the great voices, the instrumentation…the fact that this is acoustic music from the heart. And also the social element of it. You know, bluegrass is not only music, it’s also a friendship and a comraderie that you find anywhere in the world.
Some years ago I was in the states, and we visited Wisconsin. I didn’t know anybody there, but I found a banjo. He invited me on to his radio show, and just like this I was part of the community, and I was welcomed. And as a bluegrass musician, no matter where you are from you are welcome everywhere in the world.
Is there anything in bluegrass or country music that is similar in any way to—say—Bulgarian folk music?
“Of course there is! Since the United States is a melting pot of many different cultures, these nations brought their cultures and their music with them. For example, if we trace back the origin of the instruments, the banjo came from Africa, the mandolin from Italy, the guitar from Spain, the upright bass from Germany.
There are also instruments that came from Bulgaria. For example, a Bulgarian instrument is the tamboura, which is mixture between guitar and mandolin. And the tamboura was imported to Greece. The British, who fought in Greece, brought it to Ireland and England. And that’s how the bouzouki appeared in Irish folk music, and the Irish settlers brought the bouzouki with them to America.”
One of Lilly Drumeva’s original songs is being showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass conference Sept. 24-28 in Raleigh, NC.
You can find Youtube videos of Lilly Drumeva and Lilly of the West performing here.
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. For more information visit http://www.iie.org/cies.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on October 21, 2013
The Campus Spotlight series highlights the innovative ways in which institutions around the country are promoting the Fulbright Scholar Program and offers inspiration for campus representatives to implement new ideas with faculty and administrators.
This blog post originally appeared in the Killeen Daily Heraldon September 6, 2013 and is republished here courtesy of the author, Chris McGuinness.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas welcomed back its first Fulbright scholar, who gave a presentation about his work in the Republic of Cameroon to students and staff Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a phenomenal honor,” said Russell Porter, the university’s associate provost for the graduate studies and research.
Mathematics professor Christopher Thron was accepted into the prestigious exchange program run by the U.S. government after a lengthy and competitive application process. Being selected as a Fulbright scholar allowed Thron to travel to the French-speaking nation to teach graduate students at the Higher Institute of the Sahel in Maroua.
“I really enjoyed my time there,” said Thron, who holds doctorates in mathematics and physics. “It was a blast.”
The trip marked the second
time Thron was granted a Fulbright scholarship. He traveled to Chad in 2004.
During his time in Cameroon, Thron taught courses in mathematical modeling, which uses math as a framework to solve real world problems in areas such as infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications.
“I wanted to teach math that would be useful to them,” Thron said. “Math can help you manage the resources you have in the most efficient way possible.”
Thron said he turned to his graduate students at A&M-Central Texas to help him develop curriculum for his Cameroon students.
“I like to keep my (A&M-Central Texas) students involved,” Thron said.
While Thorn traveled to Cameroon to teach, he also said those same students had much to teach him.
“When you have an exchange between people of different backgrounds … that’s when real change and progress takes place,” Thron said.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on September 26, 2013
Independent grantee to India, 2012-2013
The convergence of both professional and personal experiences led me to make films on community mental health workers in India as a Fulbright-Nehru Grantee.
It was not that long ago that the thought of mental health care in a global context was a topic very foreign to me. This was true in spite of the fact that I am a doctor with experience in international health. Global mental health was just not discussed, either in my academic or social circles.
Then I read that the World Health Organization estimates that 450 million people around the globe have mental health issues including conditions such as autism, depression, dementia, and many others. I wondered why we never heard more about these stories.
I experienced the silence of the stigma surrounding mental health issues in my own family. I grew up under the shadow of my dad’s schizophrenia. The impact of his illness was enormous and hiding it was devastating. I knew my story was not unique because as a physician working in clinics for the underserved, I saw time and again the impact of stigma on individuals and their families. I decided to do my small part in fighting this stigma by making a personal documentary around my relationship with my father. (Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia, on PBS).
When I eventually lost my dad to his illness, I realized I needed to fight the silence on a bigger level.
I packed up my video camera and started traveling, looking for personal stories in China, France, the U.S., Africa, and India. The stigma was so great that it took a lot of effort to find people willing to share their lives on film.
As part of my Fulbright grant I completed the film, Hidden Pictures, which had its world premiere through the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, in April 2013.
While making Hidden Pictures, I was always on the lookout for solutions to the silent epidemic of untreated mental illness. That quest led me to Dr. Vikram Patel and the Public Health Foundation of India. Dr. Patel is a world leader in global mental health, who for years has been studying how lay people from Indian communities can be trained to provide basic mental health services.
I became passionate about understanding how such programs function. What exactly were these community members trained to do? How widely were such approaches accepted?
I have now spent the past eight months traveling to various NGOs in India to film these community mental health workers in action. In the future, I will make at least three short documentaries. Stepping in for Mental Health was recently completed. To know more about these films and Hidden Pictures, join the Hidden Pictures Film Facebook page. Also, visit, www.hiddenpicturesfilm.com.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on September 13, 2013
Adria L. Baker, Ed.D.
Associate Vice Provost for International Education
What a difference a two-week IEA makes! It was just two months ago that I arrived in Seoul, S. Korea, where I met up with my fellow international education colleagues from around the USA. We were anxious to see everything we could, since we had been well-prepared with many articles and pre-reading orientation materials about our host country. Little did I know how much these colleagues, as well as the Fulbright Korean colleagues, would come to mean to me – and how much I would learn from them, professionally and personally.
To me, having the opportunity just to apply for the Fulbright application felt like an honor in itself. Therefore, I cannot express how happy I was to find out that I was chosen for this program. The International Education Administrators (IEA) Seminar was a great Fulbright option for me, given the program’s purpose, goals, focus, and length of time.
I did not want to attend just any of the IEA programs though; I wanted specifically to apply to the South Korea IEA. This is because over the past decade at Rice University, the Korean student population has quadrupled, and our research collaborations have expanded significantly. We have hosted international delegations from S. Korea, and I have enjoyed learning about the many outstanding and diverse Korean institutions of higher education. I felt I needed to learn more about the country, the Korean people, their education system, and some of the underlying cultural contexts behind them. Applying for the U.S-Korea IEA would be an avenue where I would seek to: 1) learn how I could better meet the needs of our growing Korean student and scholar population, 2) expand collaborations on my campus with Korean colleagues and universities, and 3) find feasible partnerships, so that our Rice students would be interested in traveling to S. Korea for study, internships, or other educational pursuits.
Since I returned six weeks ago, I have been pleasantly surprised by the many opportunities to disseminate the great things about this program through reports, articles, presentation proposal approvals, and meetings. I truly enjoy describing the outstanding hospitality, kindness and professionalism of the Korean colleagues we met.
If you are considering applying for a Fulbright grant, I would do so only if you:
1) Aspire to grow professionally
2) Have specific reasons to increase your understanding of the host country
3) Plan to share your new-found cultural understandings widely, and as quickly as possible upon return
4) Can articulate how the purpose of the specific Fulbright program matches your professional needs, so that you can put to use the experiences you gain with others upon return
5) Want to give back to (and through) Fulbright by spreading the news about the wonderful program that it is
6) Seek to expand collaborations, understanding, connections and bi-national mobility with your host country, its people, and the professional colleagues that you meet
7) Desire experiences that will change you in a positive way, creating memories you will never forget!
Thank you, Fulbright!
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on September 3, 2013
Loretta L.C. Brady, Ph.D., APA-CP
Associate Professor, Saint Anselm College
I was a 21 year old first generation minority McNair fellow when my mentor told me about her Fulbright to the Netherlands, and I learned that one could travel, do research, and build career-long international connections, all while being paid! I set my sights on securing one, someday, and tucked the idea away.
By the time it was right in my career for me to pursue a Fulbright I was a married, mortgage-laden, pet- owning mother of five with more than only myself to consider as I perused the Fulbright Award Catalog. I searched for opportunities a year before applying, and it was about two years between looking at awards for 2012 and arriving in Cyprus with my husband, children, and a family friend who was traveling with us to help with the kids. During our semester in Cyprus I traveled to Israel, Egypt (with my three oldest children), Greece, and London (on our way back to the United States, thanks to a well-coordinated layover). We toured all over Cyprus and our kids collected Turkish and Egyptian lira, Israeli shekels, euros, and British pounds. Some people thought traveling with five children under seven would be a disaster, but we found it a rewarding and enriching experience. Maybe some of these tips will help your big family make a Fulbright work, too.
Parents with large families will need to prepare not only their scholarship materials but their family’s schooling, recreation, and community materials. Create organized files related to those needs while you are putting your application together. We had a Cyprus folder that included my proposals, contacts I was making for my work, and files related to schooling options, housing options, and community resources (pediatricians, uniform retailers, parks and playgrounds). Any time one of us came across something that might prove handy at a later date, it was added to the folder for easy reference later. We didn’t have all the details ironed out before hitting “submit” but we had enough pieced together that we could wrap our heads around the first steps should my application be selected.
While you will need to inquire about research support and student learning styles, parents of large families will also do well to ask specific questions about what your family is likely to encounter while in country. Program officers may know a lot about the community, but they generally only tell you what you have asked them. Share that you have a large family and ask them about what they think local reaction would be, logistics that would be required, and whether the budget you have available is likely to work for so many mouths once you arrive. If you connect with prior scholars, ask whether they traveled with family and how they found the experience to be.
Consider needs, diet, and infrastructure
While you need to select a country that works professionally for you, pay attention to information about the country’s climate, infrastructure, diet, population, and education system. This information is often available in various expat forums online and reviewing these will help you get a sense of whether the target country is a good fit for your family.
It is easy to get so swept up in big picture things like host institution and kids’ schooling that you forget details like transportation and whether or not cars exist that suit your family size. Most European countries, for instance, have smaller cars than in the U.S. and asking around to various rental agents is wise.
Budget for the unexpected
An education credit may seem generous until you realize it is only going to cover a portion of what would normally be a school day and that on top of tuition you will need to pay uniform and activities fees. Reserving at least 10% of your funds for these unlisted expenses can help a great deal.
While it may seem premature to have regular communication with folks before you learn of whether you have a Fulbright award, it is wise to send messages every few months to touch base, wish a happy holiday, or share a thought or idea. Being personally connected will make all the difference for what housing and transportation options you end up having access to, so don’t be shy even if you can’t be sure you will get there this year. We had communicated with so many people so often before our departure date that we threw a party our first weekend in Cyprus and invited everyone we had corresponded with along the way, as well as other Fulbrighters in the area. Most everyone we invited came and it served to make us feel connected to our new community right away.
Tell your story
We found that people were often excited to hear about our situation and often gracious with suggestions or leads. If I had not shared our interest in renting a village home with a colleague, we never would have had the opportunity to live in an idyllic Cypriot village and would instead have likely ended up in what would have been a cramped apartment too small for our needs in center city Nicosia. Americans can be very self-reliant, but it is okay to share what your needs might be.
Be gracious and curious
When we would encounter new friends we would ask about them, their work, and their families. This often opened up connections that brought us a chance to host other large families that we met. Often it is only large families that are brave enough to invite you over!
Hold onto routines and traditions
Dealing with homesickness can be a challenge. Having some consistency with your kids (bedtime stories, dinner, family meetings), even in a new environment, can help them feel grounded despite the disruption.
Create a countdown
Our children really benefitted from a calendar they created before we left and then again about half-way through our trip. It included major holidays and family events along with dates that we would travel. When they needed some reassurance that they would be traveling they were able to refer to it easily and mark off days as we got closer.
Give kids decision making authority
Whether it was in picking which Lego pieces would travel, which friends we would visit, or which items needed to come back home, giving kids some decisions that they get to make for themselves or the family goes a long way to making them a bit more cooperative even in the face of change.
Introduce new foods in familiar contexts
We learned a few recipes before we left and made a point to visit some Greek festivals to expose kids to tastes they would encounter. Don’t be put off if they hate the foods you try; exposure is the key to developing a taste for new flavors. Getting a few tastes in from home base will help them once you arrive.
Delegate (busy boxes) and Diversify (suitcase contents)
Easily the worst part of traveling with young children is the airport experience and the close, not-always-quiet, quarters of the plane. Packing lunch boxes with quiet but engaging activities, stickers, and snacks can save you some sanity en route. Airlines are bound to misplace at least one piece of luggage when traveling with such a large party, so be sure to put a change of clothes for each person in a carry-on. You might also want to mix and match items in each case so if a bag does get misplaced everyone is equally affected instead of only one person being on the hook.
Get guidebooks early
Leaving home is such an abstract idea that having something tangible that represents your new location can help kids start talking and preparing. Our kids created maps, charted all the locations they wanted to see, and learned about fun facts in a way that got them excited.
Use bedtime stories to share and prepare
When we arrived we lucked upon a locally written book about our village. I would read up about it during the evening and the next night that would become part of our bedtime story. When we took walks or saw something the kids could talk about the story and it helped them develop knowledge about their new home quickly.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on August 19, 2013
As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Marie Nazon conducted a qualitative study with the goal of developing an understanding and awareness of women’s experiences with empowerment in self-help groups in Senegal. The study examined how women in self-help groups associate empowerment with changes in women’s social, economical, and psychological conditions after their involvement. Dr. Nazon’s host institution in Senegal was Tostan International where she served as social work consultant for the Tostan Prison Project. She provided support in capacity building, grant writing, program development, mediation, and outreach initiatives in five of the major prisons in Senegal.
For the academic year 2010-2011, I was one of 13 researchers to receive a Fulbright grant in the African Regional Research Program. This was one of the most exciting, rewarding and productive years of my life and career. The Fulbright experience brought me into contact with a fascinating array of people and colleagues, from whom I have learned so much about the Senegalese culture and its people. The relationships I made benefitted my life beyond the grant and my research.
My host institution, Tostan International, is a non-profit organization known for its culturally sensitive approach to the community-led female genital cutting and forced marriage abandonment movement in Africa. As an affiliated researcher with Tostan, I had full access to their facilities, resources, and staff. I worked closely with Tostan staff to collect data in two villages where I conducted focus groups and individual interviews with an established women’s group. Prior to data collection, I spent time in the field getting to know the women’s group and the work of Tostan.
During my fieldwork, I learned about a small project in the prison system, the Tostan Prison Project. The prison project provides human rights-based informal education classes with inmates, family mediation, and trains inmates in income-generating activities so that when they are released they have a skill they can use to support themselves. In Senegal, I experienced what life was like behind prison walls. On any given week, I was in at least two of the five prisons where Tostan held programs. I focused my work primarily on the prisons for women and youth. It was a humbling experience for me to provide services for a vulnerable population and it was my work with the prison project that became the defining experience for me as a Fulbright Scholar and as a social worker. The experience with the prison project enhanced my sense of compassion and empathy for others and it helped me learn to be less judgmental.
I undertook some unexpected tasks with the prison project that included being the project manager for the construction of a well in the youth prison, an undertaking that I had initiated and for which I secured funding. At my invitation, the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal attended the inauguration of the well, which was also the U.S. Embassy’s first visit to the youth prison. In addition to my work with the youth prison, I launched a pilot project in one of the women’s prisons to teach women how to make their own sanitary pads. The project took off and became the Cloth Menstrual Pad Project. The women not only made the pads for themselves but expressed interest in making this an income-generating activity to sell to other women upon their release. The project will be launched at two other women’s prisons where Tostan conducts programs.
In addition to my research and community work, I mentored two undergraduate students at the local university. Also, with access to the U.S. Embassy’s facilities and in coordination with the Media Department at my home institution, I conducted two intercontinental video seminars. One was with students from my home institution in Harlem, New York, and Senegalese students on cross-cultural understanding and study abroad. The other was between a women’s studies class and Tostan staff, discussing my research and women’s empowerment in developing countries. What a thrill it was for my students in Harlem and the students in Senegal to overcome time and distance to converse on topics of mutual interest!
I returned to my home institution in Harlem, New York excited, energized, and with a new commitment to my students and my department. Six months later I returned to Senegal for a short follow-up trip and was invited to do presentations on the Cloth Menstrual Pad Project among other activities. The experience inspired new research interests and contributed to my scholarly activities such that I presented my work with the prison project at the International Social Work Conference. In collaboration with a colleague I met at Tostan, I developed a study abroad program in Senegal focused on women and sustainable community development.
On a personal note, this experience contributed immeasurably to my social and personal development. I made lifelong friends and professional contacts. But what made this experience special was that the Fulbright grant gave me an opportunity to give my teenage daughter an experience of a lifetime. My daughter started high school in Senegal. She had an opportunity to explore and learn about a totally different culture and to learn French. Moreover, she experienced tremendous personal growth. She is now studying French at a local college and plans to travel with her school on a study abroad program in Ethiopia. The Fulbright grant is one of the few travel research grants that is family friendly. Fulbright is an opportunity for you and your family to step out into an unknown world and to have a deep engagement with a culture unlike any you have had before. It is a life-changing experience that can leave you forever transformed.
Dr. Marie C. Nazon is Assistant Professor/Counselor with the Department of SEEK Counseling and Student Support Services at The City College of New York. SEEK is an opportunity program and stands for Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on August 9, 2013
The deadline for the 2014-15 Core Fulbright Scholar Program competition is Thursday, August 1.
Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program opportunities for faculty members, administrators, and professionals exist around the globe. This year there are nearly 600 awards in virtually every academic discipline and in six world regions. The Fulbright Scholar program offers teaching, research, or combined teaching/research awards. Applicants may search for awards by program and by academic discipline by visiting our online Catalog of Awards.
Please also keep in mind several program innovations have been introduced this competition to meet the changing needs of U.S. academics and professionals. These include the global TEFL award for teachers of English as a foreign language, flexible grant length options, post-doc and early career awards, and supplemented salary stipends.
Here are a few specific opportunities to consider:
Algeria (4382) Multiple Disciplines
Applications are sought in a wide range of disciplines from geology to architecture to communications. Grantees will teach at the undergraduate or graduate levels, with an emphasis on American studies. Numerous Algerian universities are available as potential host sites.
Bahrain (4384) Business and Economics
Two grants are available for scholars to teach and/or conduct research. Special foci include fostering sustainable and productive public-private partnerships and issues relating to trade relationships and policy. In addition, short term Flex grants for Bahrain are available through the Middle East and North Africa Regional Research Program. Flex grants support research opportunities for 1 to 3-month segments (in the same country) over two to three consecutive academic years, for a total of approximately one semester (4 to 6 months).
Belgium (4535) NATO Security Studies
The grantee will teach an elective course in transatlantic security studies at the College of Europe, Brugge, and will be invited to attend the Belgian Fulbright Commission’s annual EU/NATO seminar, offering an opportunity to visit NATO headquarters.
Brazil (4456) Fulbright-ALCOA Distinguished Chair in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering
This award for mid-career researchers and senior faculty is part of the dynamic new academic exchange partnership between the governments of the U.S. and Brazil. The scholar will teach graduate and undergraduate courses, organize seminars, and collaborate with Brazilian faculty with the objective of highlighting the contributions of U.S. scholars to the development of environmental and engineering scholarship in Brazil.
Canada (4473) Visiting Chairs in International Development Studies
This award presents an opportunity for scholars in a variety of fields, from conflict analysis to international development, to teach and/or conduct research as a Visiting Chair at Carleton University, with an additional affiliation at the prestigious North-South Institute or McGill University.
Colombia (4520) Fulbright-Colciencias Innovation and Technology Award
Scholars in a variety of STEM fields including energy, biotechnology, agriculture and information technology are encouraged to apply to this award. Colciencias is the Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation within the Government of Colombia and is responsible for advancing public policies that promote the development and transmission of knowledge in these areas. Flex grants that support research opportunities for 1 to 3-month segments (in the same country) over two to three consecutive academic years are available.
Fulbright-Fogarty Postdoctoral Public Health Award (Sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh, Peru) (4001/4002)
This group of awards is available through a partnership with the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center. Grantees will conduct public health research at Fogarty-affiliated sites in one of eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh or Peru.
Hungary (4236) Laszlo Orszagh Chair in American Studies
The Laszlo Orszagh Chair teaches and directs research at the undergraduate and graduate levels in topics ranging from American history to art to ethnic studies. Additional activities will depend on the specific host institution; scholars are encouraged to give presentations at other Hungarian universities.
India (4431) Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Awards
With the largest number of grants offered worldwide, this program offers scholars of all disciplines the opportunity to teach and/or conduct research in India’s expansive and dynamic higher education system. Grantees in South and Central Asia may also apply for a regional travel grant to give lectures at institutions in eligible countries in the region. In addition, scholars may apply for a flex grant to complete their research in multiple short term stays over two consecutive years.
Italy (4533) All Disciplines in the South of Italy
This award is open to scholars, particularly in science and technology, who wish to work from and focus their teaching and research on the south of Italy.
Jordan (4402) Nursing
This opportunity welcomes applicants specializing in adult health, oncology, women’s health, and community health nursing, among other related disciplines, to teach two graduate courses and one undergraduate course.
Kuwait (4406) All Disciplines
Private universities in Kuwait seek senior scholars to make an impact on the future direction of their institutions, especially in fields relating to American Studies. This award offers a unique opportunity to engage in dialogue and exchange ideas within the Arab higher education community while enjoying a standard of living similar to that of the United States.
Available for teaching, research or postdoctoral research, these awards welcome scholars in a range of specializations including art, dance, film, public policy, journalism and international affairs. Scholars will teach or conduct research in Taiwan’s dynamic and concentrated academic community.
Tajikistan (4446) All Disciplines
Applicants in fields from economics to education to global health are sought to teach classes at the undergraduate or graduate level, with some additional time for research, in this beautiful, mountainous country. In addition, grantees will be able to apply for a regional travel grant to give lectures at institutions in other eligible South and Central Asian countries.
Pakistan (4444) All Disciplines
Scholars will have the opportunity to increase understanding and engagement between the people of the U.S. and Pakistan through teaching and/or conducting research in a variety of disciplines. In addition, grantees will be able to apply for a regional travel grant to give lectures at institutions in other eligible South and Central Asian countries.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on July 31, 2013
Five months in India! The possibility of a long-term experience abroad inspired me to apply for a Fulbright. This motivation was also predicated on the discovery that a Fulbright Scholar could be a filmmaker, like me, and is not limited to just researchers and professors. Creative expression, documentary exploration, non-academic field research – these fields are welcome in the Fulbright program. And Fulbright even allows families to accompany the grantee, which was important in my case.
With a Fulbright grant in hand, I flew to Kolkata to make a documentary about the American writer Fatima Shaik, whose grandfather sailed from Kolkata to the United States in 1893. Mohamed Musa was one of the first Indians in the U.S. He was also the only Bengali Muslim in Fatima’s African-American Christian New Orleans family.
I took Fatima on her first trip to India in a reverse journey that tells a story of the Indian diaspora and the making of America. It’s also a look at present-day Kolkata and New Orleans, as well as an insight into intercultural/interfaith differences that merit recognition, but need not keep us apart.
For me, it was a return to the city where I was born. I was able to have many cups of tea with the filmmakers, writers, historians, artists, and philosophers of this city. I spent time roaming the streets of Kolkata and the villages of Hooghly to prepare for the principal cinematography I completed with an international Indian and American production team.
In Kolkata, I was affiliated with the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI) where I spoke to students about my work and theirs. In fact, the production team of my documentary included SRFTI faculty in major roles, with students as assistants.
For my children who were in Kolkata with me, there was a warm reception at the neighborhood stores whenever they went by themselves. They were inspired by the places they visited. For all of us, it was an opportunity to develop close professional and personal relationships—the ties at the heart of a deeper, lasting friendship between peoples.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on July 26, 2013
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
My family’s Fulbright experience has been fantastic, and everything that we hoped would happen has happened. When I applied to Fulbright, I was just finishing my Ph.D. and we knew that the natural next stage in my academic career would be to get a non-tenure track/postdoctoral position for about two or three years. Knowing that this would be temporary, my wife and I decided that we would be open to traveling to a foreign country, so I started looking at all of the different options. One of my top choices was the Hebrew University of Jerusalem because of their strong faculty in mathematics. Having already made contact and spoken with one of the professors from Hebrew University about my research, this made Israel and Hebrew University a logical choice for my Fulbright application.
Besides completing the proposed research project, we had broader goals that included creating new or stronger collaborations, building lasting friendships with our neighbors, and having a baby. My research interests are in number theory, in particular, the project that I proposed for Fulbright was to investigate the unobstructedness of Hilbert modular deformation problems. In addition to carrying out this research, I regularly attended the Jerusalem number theory seminar, frequently spoke with my sponsoring scientist Udi de Shalit, and gave an informal seminar on introductory algebraic geometry. As it turns out, I was able to complete my original project within the first year of the grant. While it is somewhat disappointing that the project wasn’t as involved as we thought, in the end, it is good that it is coming to a close since I now have two new projects waiting to begin. The first will be a collaborative effort with Udi and the second is a project with a colleague from the U.S.
One of our biggest concerns in coming to Israel was that my wife was giving up her job and didn’t have a clear idea of what she was going to do to stay active during the grant. As I mentioned before, we were hoping that at some point during the 20 months in Israel we would have our first child, but hoping to get pregnant is not exactly a concrete plan. Again, everything worked out more perfectly than we had hoped. My wife found work babysitting part-time three days a week. She also started volunteering for an Israeli NGO, advocating for greywater recycling. Both activities however, were part-time, so she was also able to fit in another part-time job teaching high school science (her chosen profession in the U.S.) for Americans studying abroad. Currently she is six months pregnant, so she’s stepping back from these activities, but she plans on returning to teaching next spring.
While in Jerusalem, we have made an effort to integrate and to participate in communal activities with people in our neighborhood. This includes participating in holiday celebrations by joining with our neighbors for meals, participating in various running activities (e.g., the Jerusalem 10k/half marathon/marathon), and taking ulpan (Hebrew language classes). Because of this, we have been fortunate to begin to form those friendships that we wanted. For example, one evening we held a memorial service for my mom in our apartment and the room was full of people that we had met while in Israel. We are excited that we have another year to deepen these relationships.
Posted by fulbrightscholarprogram on July 24, 2013