The Wonders of the Universe and the Words of Lincoln

Now that spring has sprung, Fulbright Visiting Scholars are able to enjoy wonderful weather and beautiful blooms! A group of Scholars in the Los Angeles area recently visited The Huntington Library and Gardens where they toured the drought-resistant spring planters on a docent-led tour.

Huntington Gardens

Huntington Gardens

The president of Huntington Library, Laura Skandera Trombley, greeted the group and gave them an overview of the Library. Appropriately, Trombley also serves as Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and Fulbright holds a special place in her heart.

Laura Trombley speaking to Scholars - LA

Laura Skandera Trombley speaks with Fulbright Visiting Scholars at The Huntington Library

Scholars explored the library to find original copies of the Gutenberg Bible, works by Geoffrey Chaucer and letters by Abraham Lincoln.

Scholars also had the opportunity to visit Caltech, where they heard from top astrophysicists on infrared photography in outer space and the possibility of life in other universes. It was a full day of exploration and enrichment!

Scholar group photo

Scholars enjoy a break during an exciting day in Los Angeles

 

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Scholars Commemorate Black History Month at Howard University

This February, Scholars were treated to a special event at Howard University in Washington D.C, courtesy of the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center. The event highlighted the contribution of Howard University to the community, and the overall importance of historically black colleges and universities in the United States.

Scholars from China, India, Russia, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan were exhilarated to be a part of this event.

Group with the Provost and Jeronimo Augusto

Fulbright Scholars with the Provost and Jeronimo Augusto

The program for the day featured presentations by Dr. Gary Harris, Associate Provost Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Edna Medford, History Professor, Tonija Navas, from the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center, and Dr. Keri Miller, the Fulbright representative at Howard. Presentations touched on contributions in science, urban development, and the history of Howard University and its hospital, Freedman’s Hospital.

The highlight of the program was a special event on Howard’s involvement in the urban development of its community; a discussion with Howard students and Julian Castro, the U.S Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Secretary of U.S Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro speaking to the audience about urban development.

Secretary of U.S Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro speaking to the audience about urban development.

After the presentations, the group went on a walking tour around campus to enjoy the beautiful structures and history of Howard University.

Scholars delight in a walk around the Howard campus

The Scholars were invited to a special viewing of the Howard simulation labs in the medical school and the brand new interdisciplinary research center. They were amazed at the advancement in technology and the hospitality of the staff.

Scholars enjoying a discussion with a Howard Staff at the Simulation Lab

Scholars enjoying a talk with a Howard Staff at the Simulation Lab

In the end, the group left with new friends, a new place to call home, and a new found love and respect for historically black colleges and universities.

Some scholars strike a pose for the camera one last time before leaving.

Some scholars strike a pose for the camera one last time before leaving.

Scholars Cheer on the Brooklyn Nets

On February 1, 2016, Fulbright Scholars and their families were hosted by One To World in downtown Brooklyn for an evening of fun and basketball at the Barclay’s Center. Scholars enjoyed a riveting basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Detroit Pistons. The purpose of meeting at a popular sporting and entertainment center was to give Scholars and their families the full experience of the American sports culture.

[Right to left] Taiwanese Scholar Hanhsing Lee, and his son.

[Right to left] Taiwanese Scholar Hanhsing Lee, and his son.

Scholars from countries like Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom were able to enjoy this event together.

(From left to right) Senegalese scholar, Salious Dione and Nigerian scholar, Patricia Odumosu

[From left to right] Senegalese scholar, Salious Dione and Nigerian scholar, Patricia Odumosu

During the game, Scholars learned about America’s passionate love for basketball, foreign players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league, and the Barclays Center’s role in the community. Scholars and their families easily assimilated into the culture of American sportsmanship! They high-fived everyone in their section, stood up as the national anthem of the United States was harmoniously projected from the speakers, cheered passionately when the Nets scored and booed just as passionately when the rivalry team scored, danced in and out of their seats to the music and bought hot dogs and other tasty items from food vendors.

Fulbright scholars and their families enjoying the game.

Fulbright scholars and their families enjoying the game.

Despite the surprising loss (the scores were so close!) by the Brooklyn Nets, it was an unquestionably great experience. In the words of Katherine Gash, a Fulbright Scholar from the United Kingdom at Columbia, “It was fantastic! Great atmosphere and hot dogs! It was great to meet other Fulbrighters. The game was fast and very fast moving and I really enjoyed all the music/atmosphere. The national anthem pre match was lovely to hear. I loved it. It was a real American experience!” This was the universal sentiment expressed by all who attended the event.

In the end, Scholars and their families left with full stomachs, joyful hearts, a renewed feeling of community, and a better understanding of America’s culture beyond the four walls of their offices and homes.

Brazillan scholar, Amilcar Pereira displaying his newly acquired Black History Month Brooklyn Brooklyn Nets shirt.

Brazillian scholar, Amilcar Pereira displaying his newly acquired Black History Month Brooklyn Nets shirt.

Scholars and the Seas

International House Davis held their annual Asilomar Conference this November in the beautiful Monterey Bay area. For two days, Fulbright Scholars, Families, and Volunteers were joined by Humphrey Fellows to learn about, “The Oceans: Managing Critical Issues”. They heard from guest speakers from the Hopkins Marine Station, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary, which are among the top research centers on the West Coast.

mont bay

Humphrey Fellows and Fulbright Scholars visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Left to Right: Kakhaber Bakhtadze (Georgia), Carmel Christy Kattithara (India), Tannia Mayorga (Ecuador), Harum Mukhayer (Sudan), Tomasz Koncweicz (Poland), Nirina Fenoarifara (Madagascar), Humberto Camacho (Bolivia), and Ivar Kruusenberg (Estonia)

They learned about many marine issues, such as “The Death and Life of Monterey Bay”. This bay underwent a 100 year restoration project that was once polluted to death but now has been restored to life and is a marine sanctuary. They also learned about the adaptability of marine life under extreme conditions.

beach

Children of Fulbright Scholars strolled down the Asilomar Boardwalk

The conference was also hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest and most comprehensive aquariums in America and a leader in ocean conservation, research and education. They were able to see the tools and perspectives used by marine biologists and others in the field. On the final day of the tour, scholars presented on ocean issues from their countries, specifically: fisheries in Norway, education about ocean conservation in Norway, drilling for oil and the tar sands in Canada, and ocean acidification in Spain.

asilomar

Fulbright Visiting Scholars Panel with Bernt Aarset and Jessica Marks (Norway), Philippe Le Billon (British Colombia, Canada) and Joaquim Garrabou (Spain) to discuss critical marine issues in their home countries

A main takeaway from the conference was the importance of citizen involvement in saving the oceans and promoting policies to create more marine sanctuaries, and demand restrictions which will further protect the seas.

group pic

A group photo of Fulbright Visiting Scholars, Humphrey Fellows, Advisory Committee members and staff at the beautiful Asilomar Conference grounds

Many Cultures, One Neighborhood: A Fulbright Adventure to Harlem

On a sunny day in early May, Visiting Fulbright Scholars and their families located in the greater New York City area trekked to a famous neighborhood in their host city. Although not publicly known for tourism, Harlem proved to be a rewarding and unique area to visit.

Tour guide, Anthony Bowman, answering the scholar’s questions after the church service

Tour guide, Anthony Bowman, answering the scholar’s questions after the church service

The group was guided by a specialist in African-American history through the vibrant streets of Harlem. Beginning at the famous Apollo Theater, Fulbrighters learned about events such as the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance. Eventually the scholars landed at their midway destination, the First Corinthians Baptist Church, where they listened to beautiful Gospel hymns and listened in to a service on the need for justice in the black community. Reverend Lekisha related this necessity to the social unrest unraveling in Baltimore.

Scholars and their families walking down 116th Street in Harlem

Scholars and their families walking down 116th Street in Harlem

After the moving experience at the church, the group toured a part of Harlem known as “Little Africa,” named for the presence of West African immigrants. In this area, scholars passed the mosque Masjid Malcom Shabazz, where they seized the opportunity to discuss Malcom X’s philosophy of unifying Muslims from all cultural backgrounds.

Anthony talking about the evolution of Jazz

Anthony talking about the evolution of Jazz

At the end of the outing, scholars were treated to discover American “soul food,” with delicious samplings such as fried chicken, candied yams, macaroni & cheese, and sweet tea. Overall, scholars were amazed at how safe and lively the streets of Harlem were, which is typically stereotyped as a poor and dangerous neighborhood of the city.

Traveling Back in Time to Sturbridge Village

Boston area Fulbright Visiting Scholars traveled back in time to 1830’s rural New England at Sturbridge Village, a living history museum in Sturbridge, Massachussetts. Costumed actors, historic buildings and activities such as pottery making, smithery, weaving, and cooking, brought Massachussetts history to life in this small village.

A local schoolchild in period clothing.

A local schoolchild in period clothing.

Scholars spent the day enjoying aspects of 1830s life. They took horse-drawn rides in stagecoaches and hay wagons. Some watched the making of butter in a wooden churn and tasted the final product. Others learned about the history and crafts of the period through books in the General Store and Bookshop. Still others enjoyed taking hiking trails around the millpond and through wooded fields.

Visiting Scholars enjoy a hay ride.

Visiting Scholars enjoy a hay ride.

One highlight of the day was the annual springtime Family Farm Fest,  which featured newborn farm animals and activities for school children. Everyone enjoyed playing with lambs and bunnies, while staff in period costume explained the historical context of farm activities.

Barbara Harrison of WorldBoston with a young Fulbrighter.

Barbara Harrison of WorldBoston with a young Fulbrighter.

The day was packed with learning about Massacussetts history and culture. Several Scholars commented that although they spent the day at the village, they could spend many more enjoying the many things to see and do!

 

A Meaningful Stroll Along the Los Angeles River

Los Angeles area Fulbright Visiting Scholars enjoyed a relaxing tour and picnic along the Los Angeles River where they learned about the river’s history and current restoration efforts.

The Los Angeles River runs through downtown Los Angeles near several local landmarks and has been featured in a number of classic American films including Chinatown and Grease. Today, the river is undergoing a $1.2 billion restoration and revitalization project  to make it an attractive and central part of the city.

Scholars in the Courtyard of the LA Music Center.

Scholars in the courtyard of the LA Music Center.

Throughout the river walk, scholars enjoyed a variety of sites including the Los Angeles Music Center, bridges with beautiful 1920’s style architectecture and a quiet rural park. Enjoying their picnic lunch in a park, scholars remarked at the contrast between urban and rural areas they were able to see along the river.

Scholars pose in front of one of several bridges built in the 1920s

Scholars pose in front of one of several bridges built in the 1920s

Scholars were able to witness how a community has come together to restore a little known part of Los Angeles.

Scholars enjoy a picnic lunch in a riverside park.

Scholars enjoy a picnic lunch in a riverside park.