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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright

Around The U.S. In 7 Days For Education Equality

September 9, 2016
Fulbrighter Jarod Yong (right), Malaysia, with Millennial Trains Project Founder and Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumnus Patrick Dowd (left).

Fulbrighter Jarod Yong (right), Malaysia, with Millennial Trains Project Founder and Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumnus Patrick Dowd (left).

If I were to summarize my MTP journey into one word, it would be “affirmation.

Prior to my Fulbright, I was a teacher at a secondary school deep within the jungles of Borneo. My students were children from one of the most marginalized people groups in my country. During those six years, I designed and initiated multiple education programs which aimed to holistically develop my students in ways that their homes or the school could never do.

Being a guest to the U.S., I am naturally curious about education programs that exist for children from marginalized communities in this country. Therefore, my project during the MTP journey involved visiting and learning from organizations working to bridge education disparities for at-risk communities in the U.S.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Sharing Brilliance, Sharing Innovation

August 9, 2016
Jarod Yong

Jarod Yong, 2015-2017, Malaysia (third from left), taking a break with a few of his 2016 Millennial Train Project colleagues

Greetings from Kansas City! We are currently halfway through our Millennial Train Project (MTP) journey and it has really been a blast so far. Together with the MTP staff and mentors, we have travelled to Pittsburgh and Chicago. We have just left Kansas City for Albuquerque and will subsequently head to Los Angeles. Amongst the 25 participants on the train are three Fulbrighters from Peru, Germany, and Malaysia.

After getting to know everyone during the journey, I was blown away by their experiences, achievements, and projects. It is a great feeling to know that I have been sharing the same air with some of the most brilliant and innovative people in this country. Additionally, a deep kinship developed between us in the tight quarters of the train. We had so many laughs and tears together.

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U.S. Fulbright

Being There: A Conversation on Collaboration in Barbados

May 11, 2016

Katherine Cloutier is a 2012-2013 Fulbright-mtvU alumna, currently finishing her PhD in ecological-community psychology. Her Fulbright-mtvU grant was a participatory research project that was done in collaboration with a sexual health education program and secondary school students.

Matt Saleh is a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student in Barbados whose research focuses on collaboration and service coordination among community service providers, government agencies, and secondary schools in school-to-work transition for youth with disabilities.

After learning of the overlap between our two Fulbright projects and experiences in Barbados, we decided to sit down and try to put some of the commonalities into words for the benefit of future Fulbright Students. On the shores of Accra Beach over refreshments at the Tiki Bar, we quickly got to work. 

Katherine Cloutier

Katherine with Lisa Thompson from PEPFAR (left); Katherine Cloutier, 2012-2013, Barbados, with previous U.S. Ambassador Larry Palmer; and dance4life partners Maisha Hutton, Leila Raphael, and Shakira Emtage-Cave (middle to right) at the 2012 World AIDS Day Event where the participatory action research project was presented by the secondary school students.

Katherine Cloutier: I came to Barbados through a series of planned accidents, I suppose. I remember walking into the office of the Fulbright Program Adviser at Michigan State University, my alma mater, and telling him, “I’m going to get that scholarship; it’s just a matter of when.” The next thing I knew, I was walking off a plane in Barbados on a humid September day in 2012, about to begin my year as a Fulbright-mtvU grantee. Two individuals from my host community partner, dance4life (a sexual health education and youth empowerment program), were waiting for me at the airport. I had never been to the Caribbean before, let alone this particular rock, but I felt so welcomed by these two. Here I am, years later, and I am back in Barbados, my second home.

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U.S. Fulbright

Stories from Berlin’s Schools, By Samson Lim, 2010-2011, Germany

July 23, 2012













“How do I tell a student who wants to be a bank manager that he’s in the wrong school and will never be able to accomplish his dream?” As a 2008 Humanity in Action Fellow, I remember shaking my head when I heard these words uttered by a teacher at the school we were visiting.

Germany has long maintained a stratified three-tier education system in which only students in the top track (Gymnasium, or university preparatory school) have a shot at attending university. In relaying this story of a young boy who aspired to be a bank manager but was not in a Gymnasium, the teacher expressed a feeling of perplexed helplessness for late-blooming students such as this boy.

That experience inspired me to spend extended time in Berlin—beyond just a four- or five-week program—to talk to and learn from young students as they progress in their own educational journey. The Fulbright Program offered me the perfect opportunity to conduct such an ethnographic research project. I visited all types of schools in Berlin and spoke with students, families and teachers about how they perceived access to education in Germany, particularly in the context of social mobility.

Through my university’s connections in Berlin, I was able to connect with the chair of American Studies at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, who subsequently became my primary affiliation for my Fulbright project.  He also connected me with another research professor at a large social sciences research institute in Berlin giving me a second affiliation for my project.

More than anything, my research project taught me that I do not want to spend my life doing research. While this may seem counterintuitive, this revelation impacted me in two ways: 1) I realized that I wanted to pursue a career devoted to public service and direct action in my community, and 2) I understood that I had much more to learn about education and policy.

As such, I’ll be heading to Teachers College, Columbia University this fall to pursue a Master of Education in Politics and Education even though I had not planned on pursuing graduate studies for another few years. My Fulbright experience sparked an even greater desire to delve deeper into two issues that I am passionate about: social justice and educational opportunity.

For anyone thinking about applying, the best advice I can offer is: simply apply.

I sought out mentors at my university, who helped me hone my ideas and critique my essays multiple times before I finally submitted my application, and spoke with several former Fulbrighters to pick their brains about their experiences. Unequivocally, their responses affirmed my decision to apply and pursue an opportunity to conduct research abroad.

More than just research or teaching, I had an opportunity to travel and see Europe, immerse myself in Germany’s fascinating culture and through it all, make friends for life. So, do yourself a favor.  Apply for the chance to become a Fulbright Student.

Photo: Samson Lim, 2010-2011, Germany, visits the Paul-Natorp-Oberschule in Berlin’s Schöneberg neighborhood to talk with students about diversity in the United States

U.S. Fulbright

Announcing a New Fulbright Opportunity for Public Policy Students and Young Professionals

November 8, 2011

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, we are pleased to announce the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship – a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and a new opportunity for public policy students and young professionals.

The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship will allow U.S. citizens to contribute to the strengthening of the public sector abroad by serving in professional placements within foreign government ministries or institutions while simultaneously carrying out an academic research/study project.  The fellowship will help advance public policy research agendas, fosters mutual understanding and builds lasting ties between the U.S. and partner countries. 

Selected Fulbright Students will work side-by-side with the citizens of other countries to tackle the toughest public policy problems of the day.  This new exchange is the vanguard of international public diplomacy, as it leverages the excellence of the Fulbright program to achieve global development objectives.

Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will serve in partner country governments, which include:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia

The U.S. Department of State and partner country governments will coordinate professional placements for candidates in public policy areas including, but not limited to, public health, education, agriculture, justice, energy, environment, public finance, economic development, housing and communications.

Candidates must be in receipt of a master’s or J.D. degree by the beginning of the Fellowship (Summer 2012) or be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program.  Applicants must apply At-Large and have at least two years of work experience in public policy-related fields.  Final selection will be made by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

More information, including complete eligibility requirements, please contact Theresa Granza, or Walter Jackson,  For more information on how to apply, please visit

Applications for the 2012-13 competition will be accepted from November 4, 2011 through February 1, 2012; Fulbright Public Policy Fellows will begin their assignments in summer/fall 2012.

U.S. Fulbright

The Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative: Empowering Disadvantaged Youth in Morocco, By Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din, 2009-2010, Morocco

July 18, 2011

As last year drew to a close, I could not help but feel a longing for what had transpired during my Fulbright grant.  I missed the kids I worked with from three orphanage centers in Morocco.  From the Darna Association, by the beautiful cliffs looking out to Spain from Tangier, to the kids at the Dar Lekbira Association, near Mehdi beach in Kenitra, to the open spaces of Bensaliman, where I worked with young Moroccan artists and the Ministry of Youth on a U.S. Embassy-sponsored event.  I missed the dirt in our hands, the kids’ enduring spirits, their old eyes, their youthful energy and contagious smiles.  Most importantly, I miss their brilliance and creativity.

In Morocco, my Fulbright project used the arts to empower disadvantaged youth on a micro level as a means towards improving the United States’ relationship with the Muslim world on a macro level.  The project became the Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative.

I had applied for a Fulbright grant three times.  On my first attempts, it was difficult to overcome the disappointment of rejection, but with each successive try, I became increasingly aware of what I wanted to actually do.  More importantly, I designed a project that I truly believed in — regardless of whether or not I received a Fulbright grant.  In my application, I designed a blueprint for an endeavor that meant more to me than simply getting the grant.  The project sought to make an impact in a Moroccan community.  From that basic premise, I was able to get local support from orphanages in Morocco. That grassroots support was vital to the project’s implementation and to winning a Fulbright grant.

Once I was awarded a Fulbright grant, I had a limited idea of what I was getting myself into but I knew why I was going to do it.  First, as a Muslim-American, I thought it was important for Muslims in the West to go to developing Muslims countries, live and work in them, learn from them, and share skills as means of fostering mutual understanding between one another’s societies.  Currently, there seem to be increasing fissures between Muslims in the West and Muslims in the developing world.  These fissures will only inhibit the greater Muslim World’s ability to silence extremists and for societies to progress spiritually and intellectually.  Secondly, I thought it essential to use the arts to bridge the East-West divide between non-Muslim-Americans and Muslims in the East.  Thirdly, I wanted to show how the arts are one of the few existing avenues to deconstruct myths held by different social classes, religions, countries, and cultures.  The arts show us that no civilization is monolithic.  They demonstrate that there is no one way to be Muslim, no one way to be human, and despite our diverse paths, the arts can unify us.  The arts remind us of the collective humanity to which we equally belong.  Lastly, I wanted to showcase how the arts can empower disadvantaged youth who otherwise have no space to address and express their grievances, dreams, and where they want to be.  I wanted to create a space for creative and critical thinking as well as innovation.  Spaces for such development are lacking for many youth in developing Muslim countries.  This fuels a toxic combination of helplessness and humiliation that exacerbates today’s cultural and geopolitical challenges.  As I have discovered, the talent, creativity, innovation and drive are there.  Yet the outlets, resources, and most importantly, the state and societal support, are somewhat weak.

Through the Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative, we were able to create a pilot youth arts education program that enabled disadvantaged children in Morocco to write, direct, film, and act in their own short stories about their hardships and dreams.  The initiative additionally led music workshops teaching kids how to read music.  I partnered with the U.S Embassy in Rabat in leading music workshops for the Ministry of Youth in Bensaliman .  My band, Zerobridge based in NYC, led a tour of workshops for Arab youth across Morocco also sponsored and organized by the U.S Embassy in Rabat.  The project left its mark in the culmination of a widely attended screening of all of the kids’ short films at the beautiful and historic Cinéma Rif Theater in Tangier.

When I left Morocco over a year later in March 2010, the last kids I saw were my group from the Dar Lekbira Orphanage.  They were the first group of kids I met and worked with, so it was only fitting to say goodbye to them last.  They changed my life, and from what they told me, the arts initiative gave them a little something to look forward to and confidence to hold on to.  The initiative instilled awareness in them that there are spaces within us that are meant to be discovered: be they spaces for creativity, spaces for innovation, or even spaces for forgiveness.  We cried together as I left.  The kids pulled lint, coins and bracelets from their torn clothes and gave them to me as mementos.  I will never forget them and the films, music and connections we created and discovered.

One of the toughest things I have ever done was to turn my back to the orphans and leave.  As I walked at night on a dirt road, I saw their faces pressed against the windows.  A train roared by to break the silence.  There was a full moon in the Kenitra sky.  The next night, I’d be looking at the moon from a plane.  And it was in this parting moment that it hit me.  Through the Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative, we moved mountains.  Despite the frustration, hunger, drugs, poverty and the broken families these orphans live every day, the creative spark and love we discovered through the arts helped us to overcome helplessness and hopelessness.  We rose above them.  Music, film, and art are avenues for true listening, understanding, and empowerment.  As a Muslim-American who worked in Muslim-Arab country, I can say that the arts, not just politics, are real diplomatic tools in which the U.S. should continue to invest.  The Fulbright Program, and its support of artistic projects, is so vital because it enables cultural and academic spaces to be created: interaction through people-to-people diplomacy, eye-to-eye, drum-to-drum, brush-to-brush, pen-to-paper, and hearts-to-minds.  Programs for educational and cultural exchange, such as the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program, continue to provide a platform from which meaningful relationships with other nations and people-to-people diplomacy can be achieved.  The street kids, social workers, artists, and Moroccan people changed my life.  Together, through my Fulbright project, we moved more than mountains.  The Fulbright Program and State Department helped us to do this.

This summer, I will continue engaging in the cultural diplomacy started during my Fulbright project and implement a similar project for youth at an orphanage in South Asia’s embattled region of Kashmir, India.  The orphanage is called CHINAR.  These workshops will work on eroding the trust deficit between America and the Muslim world through arts education, empowerment, and communication.

Here are some tips to think about when starting your Fulbright application for a study or research project:

  • First, think of a project that relates to enhancing educational exchange or cultural diplomacy between the U.S .and other nations.   It should be something you are passionate about and something that will enhance your career.
  • Identify a country that has a specific need for your project idea or research interests.
  • Your Fulbright project does not have to be strictly limited to development or academic research.  The Fulbright Program welcomes applications in all fields of study – including the arts, professional fields and sciences.
  • Research and share your idea with institutions or non-governmental organizations that are in the country you’d like to work in.  Securing a host affiliation is best done well in advance of finishing your application. Once you are awarded a Fulbright grant, plan to be flexible and patient in getting your original idea off the ground.  It took me months to get the results and access I needed. It takes time to build trust and partnership networks.  But, if your project is something you believe in, you will get there!
  • If you don’t get the Fulbright, do not be discouraged.  I applied three times!  I tweaked my idea several times and grew more passionate about implementing the right project at the right time.  Don’t give up!

Photo: Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din, 2009-2010, Morocco

Questions for Mohsin about his Fulbright experiences?  Feel free to email him at