Our Fulbright-MTP participants made it safely to Portland for today’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey. Here they reflect on their Fulbright experience thus far, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing global Millennials today and how their Fulbright-MTP project is a vehicle for enhancing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
In the words of Alyas Widita, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Indonesia:
I feel very fortunate to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship as it has enabled me to immerse myself with the voices, perspectives, and ideas of fellow Fulbrighters and Millennials around the world. Through these meetings and conversations, I believe the pressing challenges of my generation, the Millennial, are centered around one term: connection. Millennial is the first generation that has the resources and technology to recognize the world is, essentially, inextricably linked. Not only does the linkage manifests in global challenges such as climate change, sustainability, economic development, etc., but also relates to our daily life — what we wear and how we move. To that end, I believe the Millennial generation can shape a better world by further intensifying connection and solidifying understanding between themselves, as well as with generations before and after them. I would like to make sure Millennials and generations after me will continue to enhance this connection by being an active advocate of knowledge and cultural exchange.
Iowa City, IA, is a place I have been calling home over the past year. As I delved myself into the city’s life, I was amazed at how powerful Millennials are and how they drive the city with its university-based economy. Millennials and students are essentially at the centerpiece of the majority of city development policies — ranging from transportation, housing, land-use, among others. As the city and university work hand in hand to provide a conducive environment, Millennials and students energize the city with a wide range of academic and recreational-related activities, or both; thus, making Iowa City a bustling place filled with big city activities in a relatively small geographical setting. These circumstances exhibit how Millennials and students can be the engine of their surrounding environment.
My ‘Millennial and Future Cities’ on-train project aims to shed further light on how Millennials are being engaged in urban development processes and to study Millennials’ ideas about future cities. By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas during a period when today’s Millennials will assume leadership throughout the world’s urban landscape. Millennials thus could not be overlooked in the development process of our cities.
Through discussions, meetings, and interviews with organizations dealing with urban development issues and fellow Millennials across 7 cities during the MTP journey; as well as consulting necessary secondary data, this project aims to paint a clearer understanding about how future cities might look.
As cities are undoubtedly the epicenter of our future, this project won’t only benefit those who are interested in urban issues, but will also eventually benefit and serve even greater audiences.
While I am excited to imagine that the outcome of this project will benefit, serve, and inspire others, I am equally thrilled in the preparation process and MTP’s journey itself; as I will be able to foster interaction with the people of the United States. I could not think of a better opportunity to cement this interaction other than being a part of MTP’s journey where I will meet with U.S. citizens from many remarkable regions encompassing the country from west to east; thus, making MTP’s journey as a great way to advance Fulbright’s mission of promoting mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.