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.
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 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 in California recently took the time to give back to their community and help the homeless. They began the day with a visit at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization that researches topics relevant to public policy. For this program, they provided insight based on their research on homelessness and homeless populations in the United States, a relevant topic to the work of several scholars.
A scholar responds to the RAND speakers
Following this thoughtful briefing, scholars went to a Santa Monica homeless shelter to hear about their work at the shelter and with low income housing placements. The discussion was inspiring for scholars, who responded in turn with diligent efforts at their next location, the Westside Food Bank. Here, scholars assisted in boxing oranges for distribution, and left the event feeling that their actions had made a difference.
Sorting oranges at the Food Bank!
Fulbright Visiting Scholars in Los Angeles were treated to a night to remember at the Los Angeles Clippers game last week. The game came down to the final seconds as the Clippers battled the Golden State Warriors (the ultimate winners), and scholars were thrilled to witness the rush of professional American sports first-hand.
The highlight of the night was being allowed to watch warm-up from the second row, and meeting Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors! One scholar from China remarked, “I am so honored to meet Steve Kerr, he has a huge group of Chinese fans!”
Fulbright Visiting Scholars meet Steve Kerr before the Clippers v Warriors game
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.
Swarnamalya Ganesh, India, performs the Dance of Shiva.
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.
Rev. Boyd warmly welcomes Fulbright Scholars.
Fulbright Scholars take part in the service with FAME community.
January 11: Fulbright Visiting Scholars got to experience a bit of Hollywood history at the performance of Jack Lemmon Returns, a one-man show narrating the life of classic comedic actor Jack Lemmon through the eyes of his son, Christopher. The play explored their complex father-son relationship amidst tales of the Beverly Hills circles in which Lemmon moved. It was performed at the Broad Stage, a part of Santa Monica Community College, which aims to provide a major center for the arts away from downtown Los Angeles. Following the play, Scholars ate dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant where they discussed cultural insights gained from the play. Overall the event was an exciting opportunity for Scholars to experience unique aspects of Southern California culture.
Poster for the play, “Jack Lemmon Returns.”
Fulbrighters enjoyed seeing Christopher Lemmon portray his father in Jack Lemmon Returns.
November 3: UCLA and the Fulbright Association hosted a welcome dinner and reception for Visiting Fulbright Scholars and UCLA students and faculty. Distinguished political science professor, Dan Caldwell, gave a keynote speech about the fall U.S. elections. Scholars and students enjoyed great food, wonderful company, and are excited to welcome the new year in Los Angeles!
Fulbright Visiting Scholars meet each other for the first time