Category Archives: U.S. Fulbright

”Aqui Está la Vida” Learning to Listen in La Carpio

By Jenna Harvey, 2013-2014, Costa Rica

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Jenna Harvey, 2013-2014, Costa Rica, conducts an interview with a small business owner in the informal settlement of La Carpio; Photo credit: Perfil Magazine, 2014

Costa Rica’s central valley is surrounded by stoic cloud-capped mountains and teeming with life—70% of the country’s population to be exact—working, studying and raising families in the sprawling metropolis of San José and its surrounding areas. One of the best views of the buzzing valley is from La Carpio, an informal settlement perched atop the entrance to the country’s largest trash dump and enclosed on the sides by a water-treatment plant and a quarry. La Carpio’s favorable view is just one of many unexpected features of this fascinating community, home to over 20,000 people, about half of whom are immigrants from neighboring Nicaragua.

As a Fulbrighter in La Carpio, my research was focused on the spectrum of informal economic exchanges taking place there: from street vendors peddling their goods on corners to successful micro-entrepreneurs selling products and services from storefronts. I specifically focused on the participation of women in the informal economy of La Carpio and how their efforts have contributed to the economic development of a place that began as a squatter settlement in an abandoned coffee field.

My research objectives were two-fold: gain a better understanding of “urban informality” by identifying both success factors and limiting factors for informal workers, and uncover ways that small-business creation and entrepreneurialism could create a much needed bridge between the migrant women of La Carpio and the Costa Rican women of San José. To accomplish my second objective, I collaborated with a women’s microfinance organization in San José, to foster dialogue about the potential for services to be extended to migrant women living in marginalized areas like La Carpio.

Music = Cultural Exchange

Read How 2014 Fulbright-mtvU Grantee Benjamin Cohn Is Preparing to Begin His Grant in Ghana

Are you applying for a Fulbright-mtvU grant? If so, join the first informational Fulbright-mtvU webinar for the 2015-2016 competition on Thursday, November 13, at 2:00 p.m. EST.

As I await my departure for Accra in November, I thought I could answer some of the most common questions I receive, rundown some of my preparation and detail what I hope to do. I am lucky to live in the Bay Area, home to many organizations built for the preservation of the arts and arts education. I have spent the last months meeting with teachers, employees and heads of music programs of all kinds. It has been a fantastic time to learn, gather resources, make contacts and gain insight into the world I hope to join.

Why Ghana?
Narrowing down what country to create a proposal for was a difficult process. The path that lead me to Ghana began with The Jazz Ambassador Tours and specifically Louis Armstrong’s experiences in Ghana. Ghana was also the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence, standing as a role model for the first Wave of Independence through Africa in the 60s and the Civil Rights movement in America.

The Ballad of Fulbright Dave and the Sympathy Chicken

By David Kienzler, 2013-2014, Fulbright-Clinton Fellow to Malawi

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David Kienzler, 2013-2014, Fulright-Clinton Fellow to Malawi, with noted Chelsea FC fan Levison Munthali and Lil’ Alan Shearer the Newcastle Sympathy Chicken

Despite being American, I have been a big fan of the English football team Newcastle United since I was in high school. They are terrible, but teenagers often make poor life decisions and my misguided loyalty wasn’t a big deal until I came to Malawi. Malawi likes winners and my allegiance to a lousy team was a continual source of pity around my office. Things came to a head in April during a six-game losing streak. After the first few losses, a colleague started giving me kwacha (the local currency) because as he put it, “in Malawi you express your condolences with gifts.” Eventually, after yet another loss I walked into my office on Monday morning to discover a live rooster on my desk. It was Lil’ Alan Shearer the Newcastle Sympathy Chicken. My coworkers loved this and spent all day coming by to see it and tell me to come over to a winning club. You have no idea how hard it is to get work done with a rooster running around your office.

And there was so much work to be done. My Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship placed me in Malawi’s Ministry of Mines. Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries, has historically been economically dependent on agriculture, but in the last few years there has been an emphasis on mining as an avenue for economic growth and development. This has only increased with the recent discovery of the possibility of oil under Lake Malawi. But while there is great potential, there are serious obstacles. The lake is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has to be protected. Malawi’s oil and mining legislation is old and outdated. Last year a massive corruption scandal rocked the government. If not developed properly, mining in Malawi could cause more problems than it solves.

The 2015-2016 Fulbright-mtvU Competition is Now Open!

Garrett Rubin

Garrett Rubin, 2013-2014, Fulbright-mtvU Fellow to Jordan (center), working at the Children’s Music Workshop at the Collateral Repair Project Refugee Community Center in Amman. To read more about Garrett’s experiences, visit: http://fulbright.mtvu.com/author/grubin/

Are you a U.S. citizen and interested in pursuing a Fulbright grant that explores music as a global force for promoting mutual understanding? Consider applying for a Fulbright-mtvU grant, now through February 27, 2015!

Applicants are encouraged to consider all aspects of the power of music in developing their proposals. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance. Applications for all countries where there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program are encouraged.

Applicants are encouraged to consider all aspects of the power of music in developing their proposals. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance.

Applications for all countries where there is an active U.S. Student Fulbright Program are encouraged.

- See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.yfsSuPh3.dpuf

Applicants are encouraged to consider all aspects of the power of music in developing their proposals. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance.

Applications for all countries where there is an active U.S. Student Fulbright Program are encouraged.

- See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.yfsSuPh3.dpuf

Applicants are encouraged to consider all aspects of the power of music in developing their proposals. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance.

Applications for all countries where there is an active U.S. Student Fulbright Program are encouraged.

- See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.yfsSuPh3.dpuf

To learn more about this unique Fulbright opportunity, please visit our website to obtain the details on the application requirements and the current Fulbright-mtvU Fellows blog.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us!

 

 

 

Going Batty in Oz: Conservation of the Critically Endangered Southern Bent-wing Bat in South Australia

By Kristen Lear, 2011-2012, Australia

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Kristen Lear, 2011-2012, Australia, with a Southern Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii) in Bat Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia

Happy Halloween! In honor of the Fulbright Program celebrating #BatWeek on Twitter, today’s blog post is from Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumna Kristen Lear, who studied the conservation of the Southern Bent-wing Bat in Australia back in 2011. Enjoy!

The wind stirs as I sit under the bright stars and listen to the rustle of bat wings as they flit past me. The bright screens of my laptop and the thermal imaging camera are the only lights shining in the dark. The stream of bats gets heavier until there are over 1,000 flying out of the cave every minute. I spend most nights like this, sitting outside Bat Cave at Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia, taking fly-out counts to determine the population size of Southern Bent-wing Bats (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii). The aim of my Fulbright project is to monitor the bats at the maternity cave (Bat Cave) and at their overwintering sites throughout South East South Australia.

The Southern Bent-wing Bat was listed as Critically Endangered under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 based on the fact that the sub-species has undergone a reduction in population by about 67 percent over three generations (from about 100,000-200,000 bats in the 1960s to about 30,000 in 2009) and that it has a highly restricted range, relying on only two maternity caves (Bat Cave in Naracoorte and Starlight Cave in Warrnambool, Victoria). During my Fulbright year, I have been taking regular fly-out counts with thermal imaging cameras to monitor population trends at Bat Cave and determine the peak population size, monitor pup health to watch for signs of disease or starvation and conduct overwinter cave surveys in the South East region. The information gathered from this study will help guide management strategies that will aid in the recovery of this species.