In a local farmers market, colorful t-shirts hang from hooks proudly proclaiming, in the words of William Faulkner, “To understand the world, you have to understand a place like Mississippi.” As a More »
My journey to New York University (NYU) to pursue graduate training in dance education started when I was still young. My artistic creativity, performance dexterity and exposure to dance artistry were nurtured More »
As a physicist, I study cosmic rays—high-energy particles that zip around the universe. If scientists are lucky, these cosmic rays land on detectors set up on the ground. For my Fulbright grant, More »
By Nangyalai Attal, 2013-2015, Afghanistan
As a Fulbright Student from Afghanistan, I have been pursuing a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Management at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California. While working for the United Nations in Kabul, I realized that a lack of technical human resources was – and is – one of the most pressing challenges facing the Afghan government and its private sector. Every year, millions of dollars from donors go unspent because Afghan institutions lack competent individuals to put development programs into practice. Additionally, the Afghan private sector continues to struggle in attracting human capital that would increase the number of domestic businesses. I decided that I wanted to be part of the solution to these problems and the Fulbright Program has provided me with an avenue to pursue this ambition.
By Ammar Mohammed, 2013-2015, Yemen
In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are re-posting an article from Fulbright Foreign Student and 2014 Fulbright-Millennial Trains participant from Yemen Ammar Mohammed, whose research in sustainable development focuses on promoting the leadership and entrepreneurship of African-Yemenis – a marginalized population in Yemen. We hope the Fulbright community is inspired by Ammar Mohammed’s – and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s – work in promoting positive change within their communities.
We are living the most technologically advanced generation of all times – yet have some of the most pressing challenges in the history of humanity – be it economic, environmental, social, or political. As a Fulbright Student in sustainable development, I always contemplate the solutions for those challenges. I believe that a sustainable solution is a combination of addressing the above challenges. I see social entrepreneurship as the key to solving economic and social challenges—putting into account preserving the environment—that creates new markets and promotes social integration and participation. Entrepreneurs are leaders who transform communities. Entrepreneurs can also multiply their impact by lobbying the government for more support for young people and legislation that encourages entrepreneurial ideas. I believe that this hybrid model of social entrepreneurship and policy advocacy will be my first priority to tackling present challenges.
During the past year, I’ve come to see how this generation has diversified mindsets. There is a tendency to change the status quo through various means available exclusively to the Millennial generation. There are numerous campaign initiatives to improve the life of the less fortunate and for social justice around the world. The most striking aspect, however, is that this generation tends to shift entrepreneurship to be more socially oriented, using technology to that end. Social entrepreneurship, crowd-funding and impact investing show how a business can solve a social challenge and at the same time be profitable. In fact, this is one aspect I will definitely take back with me to Yemen and work to promote it.
By Corinne Stokes, 2014-2015, Fulbright-mtvU Fellow to the United Arab Emirates
In early November, I went to an open mic for local poets at an Abu Dhabi venue called The Space. It was the fourth event in a new Rooftop Rhythms series for Arabic poetry, organized by Rooftops founder Dorian “Paul D” Rogers. The event featured about fifteen poets, who combined elements of Arabic poetry with spoken word. They were multilingual UAE residents from a variety of Arab backgrounds—Palestinian, Lebanese, Emirati, and Sudanese. Many were regulars at Rooftop events but usually performed in English. They reminded the audience of this since the connotations of writing poetry differ from one language to another. Arabic poetry is associated with mastery of Classical Arabic and a deep knowledge of the Arabic literary heritage, while spoken word favors poetic prowess that is grounded in lived experience. But the audience was open-minded, receptive to hearing Arabic poetry in a variety of dialects, registers, and styles. The evening had a warm, familial vibe, with listeners snapping fingers supportively from their bean bag chairs.
I chose a poem to feature here that fits neatly into the themes of this blog. It’s by Dubai-based poet Zeina Hashem Beck, written in appreciation of the performative style of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum (d. 1975). Umm Kulthum is one of the most beloved figures of the Arab world, and the lyrics to her songs are among the most widely memorized of Arabic poems. Zeina’s poem is called “Umm Kulthum or Al-Intithar [Waiting],” (a title that brought to my mind Umm Kulthum’s famous song, “Ana fi Intizarak” [I’m waiting for you]). Zeina is from Tripoli, Lebanon, and studied English Literature at the American University in Beirut. She is an English-language poet, with her work published and forthcoming in over a dozen literary journals, but considers herself a newcomer to Arabic poetry. Her debut poetry collection, To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press, 2014), won the 2013 Backwaters Prize and has been recently released. The poems of this collection describe Beirut as she sees it; a city that resembles autumn in its uncertainties and the conflicted feelings it inspires.