Scholars Celebrate African-American History at Howard University

February 27: In honor of Black History Month, Scholars attended a lecture and tour at Howard University. Howard University began as a federally chartered university for the education of African Americans. Throughout its history and through to the present day, it plays an important role in empowering and educating African-American students.

After a warm welcome from university representatives, Dr. E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and Director of the African American Studies Resource Center spoke to Scholars about Black poetry and his own experiences attending Howard in the late 1960s. He explained the significance of Black poetry and the role Howard University played in empowering young black students during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. He also treated Scholars to readings of several poems from the journal he edits, Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States.

Dr. E. Ethelbert Miller addresses Scholars on African-American poetry.

Dr. E. Ethelbert Miller addresses Scholars on African-American poetry.

Following Dr. Miller, Dr. Edna Medford, Chair of the Department of History, spoke on the history of Freedman’s Hospital (Now Howard University Hospital), which was the first hospital founded for the treatment of escaped slaves. She also gave an overview of Howard University’s history from its’ beginnings to the present day.

Dr. Edna Medford addresses Scholars on the history of Howard University.

Dr. Edna Medford addresses Scholars on the history of Howard University.

After a light reception, Scholars went on a tour of Howard University and its’ College of Medicine. In the College of Medicine Scholars were impressed to “meet” several medical dummies, unique to Howard, that could be programmed to simulate real life medical situations for students. The simulation dummies blinked, reacted to movement and even talked to Scholars in different languages.

A Visiting Scholar from China photographs a dummy patient in a simulation lab at Howard University’s College of Medicine.

A Visiting Scholar from China photographs a dummy patient in a simulation lab at Howard University’s College of Medicine.

Scholars noted afterwards that while they had heard about Howard University before, they had had no idea about its cultural and historical significance in African-American history. One Scholar, upon learning about Howard’s exchange with different countries, expressed great interest in recommending Howard to students in her home country.

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NY Scholars Learn Emergency Preparedness Skills at the American Red Cross

February 20:  Scholars had the opportunity to learn hands-on emergency preparedness skills at a visit to the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross (ARC), provides disaster relief and emergency education within the U.S. and the New York Chapter is its largest and most active.

The day began with a warm welcome from Mr. Edmund Torraca, the Brooklyn disaster Program Manager. He introduced Scholars to the wide range of disaster relifef services that the organization provides, from responding to small home fires to large natural disasters such as Hurrican Sandy. The ARC works closely with local police and fire departments to provide shelter, food, and health services imediately after disasters happen.

Edmund Torraca, Brokklyn Disaster Program Manager, shows Scholars a map of incidents the NYC chapter responded to last year.

Edmund Torraca, Brokklyn Disaster Program Manager, shows Scholars a map of incidents the NYC chapter responded to last year.

Following the introduction, Scholars participated in a hands-on emergency preparedness workshop. Award-winning actress and Health and Safety Services Instructor, Lipica Shah, spoke on the importance of putting together an emergency communication plan and safety kit. In the second part of the workshop Scholars learned and practiced basic cardiopumonary rescuscitation (CPR) skills.They also learned how to respond to everyday emergencies such as choking, burns and seizures.

Fulbright Scholar Romain Maitra from India volunteers to play the role of victim, while American Red Cross instructor, Lipica Shah, demonstrates how to stop heavy bleeding from a deep wound.

Fulbright Scholar Romain Maitra from India volunteers to play the role of victim, while American Red Cross instructor, Lipica Shah, demonstrates how to stop heavy bleeding from a deep wound.

Many Scholars had been familiar with the Red Cross’ work in their own countries, but were surprised to find out about the organization’s work on a local level with first aid training and blood drives. They were also impressed to learn that the ARC is 90% volunteer run. They greatly appreciated being able to learn basic emergency skills that they could use both in the United States and in their home communities.

(left to right) ] Amakai Kefas from United Kingdom and Marta Manczuk from Poland, practice their CPR skills.

(left to right) ] Amakai Kefas from United Kingdom and Marta Manczuk from Poland, practice their CPR skills.

 

Evening of Food, Music, and Dance continues a 40 year Fulbright tradition

February 19: Visiting Fulbright scholars in Los Angeles enjoyed an evening of food, music, and dance held in their honor at UCLA. The event continues a 40 year tradition started by Anne Bodenheimer, the former Los Angeles Fulbright Enrichment Coordintor for 29 years.

The highlights of the evening included performances and addresses by two Fulbright Scholars. Hungarian scholar and pianist  Tunde Kraznai performed pieces by classical Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Indian Scholar and dancer, Swarnamalya Ganesh, demonstrated Bharatantyam dance, one of the oldest forms of South Indian classical dance.

Support for the dinner was generously provided by the UCLA Affiliates Network.

Tunde Krazai, Hungary, performs Rachmaninoff.

Tunde Krazai, Hungary, performs Rachmaninoff.

Swarnamalya Ganesh, India, performs the Dance of Shiva.

Swarnamalya Ganesh, India, performs the Dance of Shiva.

Yummy desserts!

Yummy desserts!

 

 

Los Angeles Scholars dance and sing to gospel tunes at FAME Church

February 8: Scholars danced and sang to upbeat gospel music as part of a Sunday morning service at First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church of Los Angeles. The church is the oldest African-American founded church in Los Angeles. Started in 1872 as a small congregation by Ms. Biddy Mason, a California entrepenuer, philanthropist and former slave, the church now has over 19,000 members.

The church’s pastor, Rev. J. Edgar Boyd warmly welcomed Scholars to the worship service.The service included dance performances, gospel singing and a powerful sermon from Rev. Boyd.

After the service, FAME graciously hosted scholars for lunch, which gave Scholars the chance to interact with the community. Scholars learned from the church’s youth about what Black History Month meant to them in a discussion following the lunch. Overall, the visit allowed scholars to experience unique aspects of African-American religion and culture and understand the significance of Black History Month.

Members of FAME Church perform a cultural dance.

Members of FAME Church perform a cultural dance.

Rev. Boyd warmly welcomes Fulbright Scholars.

Rev. Boyd warmly welcomes Fulbright Scholars.

Fulbright Scholars take part in the service with FAME community.

Fulbright Scholars take part in the service with FAME community.

 

Scholars Cheer on the Brooklyn Nets at Basketball Game

February 2: Scholars watched the Brooklyn Nets basketball team take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. They were joined by native Brooklynite and basketball expert, Shayna Jeffers, who chatted with scholars about the rules of the game, its place in American culture and the Barclays Center’s role in the local community.

The game opened with a Gospel rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by the Mcdonald’s Gospel Super Choir followed by an intense neck-to-neck game.

Scholars enjoyed taking in the game’s festive atmosphere including local food, enthusiastic fans, entertainment, and audience participation. They even took part in wildly cheering on the Nets. The game ended with a winning basket in the last seconds with a 102-100 victory for the Nets.

The event also offered Scholars an opportunity to see the role of basketball in bringing Americans together. One Scholar from Turkey remarked on how impressed she was to see people of all types, men, women, children, and couples enjoying the game. Another Scholar from China spoke on how the game allowed her to understand the “American spirit of courage and collectivism,” very different from the common perception of American culture as purely individualist.

(left to right) Farida Ryskulueva from Kyrgyzstan, Zainab Riaz from Pakistan & Rebeca Adami from Sweden

(left to right) Farida Ryskulueva from Kyrgyzstan, Zainab Riaz from Pakistan & Rebeca Adami from Sweden

(left to right) Megan Davies Wykes from the United Kingdom and Martin Loucka from the Czech Republic

(left to right) Megan Davies Wykes from the United Kingdom and Martin Loucka from the Czech Republic

Asli Ozyar Mizrahi from Turkey

Asli Ozyar Mizrahi from Turkey

 

A Fulbright Visit to the NY Metropolitan Opera

February 24 & 28, 2014: During the last week of February, visiting Fulbright students and scholars participated in two events at The Metropolitan Opera. The first event was a final dress rehearsal of the Met’s celebrated original production, The Enchanted Island, was described by Ukrainian scholar Inna Golubovych as “one of the most powerful musical experiences in [her] life.” It included musical works by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau and Purcell arranged to accompany a storyline inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Following the performance, Fulbrighters relaxed at a nearby Chinese restaurant, enjoying lunch as well as each other’s company. On Friday, February 28th, the Fulbright group returned for a backstage tour of The Metropolitan Opera’s immense, backstage production house. The wonderful guides of the Metropolitan Opera Guild are true connoisseurs whose “knowledge on the subject is outstanding and their passion contagious,” as related by Mexican Fulbright Student Maria Lorena Padilla Banuelos on exchange at New York University.

Dario Cepo (Scholar from Slovakia), Aline Pognonec (One To World Fellow), Shagufta Akbar (Scholar from Pakistan) Thanh Hoang , (Vietnamese Student), Chao Yang (Scholar from China),  Monica Hernandez (Hondurian Student) and Esther Achaerandio (Spanish Student) (left to right) with one of the Met Guild’s knowledgeable guides during the backstage tour.

Dario Cepo (Scholar from Slovakia), Aline Pognonec (One To World Fellow), Shagufta Akbar (Scholar from Pakistan) Thanh Hoang , (Vietnamese Student), Chao Yang (Scholar from China), Monica Hernandez (Hondurian Student) and Esther Achaerandio (Spanish Student) (left to right) with one of the Met Guild’s knowledgeable guides during the backstage tour.

A Visit to Gallaudet University

February 20, 2014: This was an introduction to Gallaudet University for the Visiting Fulbright Scholars.  Despite the fact that this is a world-renowned institution, none of them even knew it existed.  Upon our arrival, the group received a warm welcome from Charles Reilly, Executive Director of the Office of Research Support and International Affairs and learned about the concept of DeafSpace as pioneered by Gallaudet and applied to its campus design.  The group then took a tour of the campus focusing on the history and culture of Gallaudet as a one-of-a-kind institution, and then learned of the newest developments in the area of visual language and learning.  All of these meetings were accompanied by two excellent American Sign Language interpreters.

Gallaudet #1 Gallaudet #2 Gallaudet #3