Traveling from over 13 different countries in the Western Hemisphere region, 2012-13 Fulbright NEXUS Scholars gathered in snowy Banff, Canada on November 8 for a four-day meeting and orientation. The meeting, hosted by Fulbright Canada, welcomed guests from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, the U.S. Consulate in Calgary and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), sponsor of the Fulbright Program. Ann Stock, ECA’s Assistant Secretary of State gave opening remarks via video and commended scholars for their innovative research projects focused on climate change and adaptation strategies.
Guided by Fulbright NEXUS Lead Scholar Daniel Kammen of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley, scholars traveled to Canada to build on their individual experiences and organize into research teams to produce efforts that will address critical climate, water and energy issues in the Americas. Teams were organized by the following key research issues: Information Communication Technologies for Early Warning Systems; Low Carbon Sustainable Communities; Ecosystems Services and Mapping; Returns on Research and Development; and Compilation of Data Metrics for the Americas. Each team will be supported by research liaisons at the Energy and Resources Group at UC-Berkeley.
The meeting agenda included guest panels and a series of working-group sessions. Scholars spent their first day getting to know each other while hiking through Canada’s Lake Louise region. The team-building exercise allowed Scholars to learn about the each other’s individual research projects and explore possibilities for collaboration throughout the program year.
Former 2011-12 Fulbright NEXUS Scholars Patrick Feng (Canada), Sandy Ng (Canada), and Maria Paz Gutierrez (U.S.) led a panel discussion and provided valuable insights to program participants. As alumni of the Fulbright NEXUS inaugural cohort, these individuals had a unique vantage point and were able to provide tips, lessons learned, and share coping strategies with fellow Fulbright NEXUS Scholars.
Chairman of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, Tom Healy, concluded the session stressing the urgency in finding critical and creative ways to address climate change and energy needs.
Scholars will spend the next year collaborating through a virtual online platform in addition to cultivating partnerships with regional stakeholders while completing individual research visits across the Western Hemisphere. The next in-person NEXUS meeting will be hosted by Fulbright Colombia in April 2013.