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Millennial Train Project

Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

One Year Later: Fulbright-MTP Participants Reflect

May 22, 2015
The Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. Form left to right, Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alum and MTP founder.

The 2014 Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. From left to right: Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumus to India (2010-2011) and MTP founder.

The 2014 Fulbright-MTP Participants after a panel at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City at the end of the 2014 MTP journey. From left to right: Ammar Mohammed from Yemen; Alyas Widita from Indonesia; Katie Nikolaeva from Russia; Anser Shaukat from Pakistan; Silvia Tijo from Colombia; and Patrick Dowd, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumus to India (2010-2011)  and MTP founder.

For the second year, the U.S. Department of State is funding Fulbright participants to join the Millennial Trains Project (MTP) journey as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Last year, five Fulbright Foreign Students joined 20 other riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their leadership, social entrepreneurship and communication skills.

Here, the 2014 Fulbright-MTP participants update us with where they are now and their advice for this year’s six participants:

Silvia Tijo, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia studying at Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) joined the Fulbright-MTP journey to experience sustainable building technologies existing along the train route from Portland to New York. Today, Silvia has finished her second year of Ph.D. studies in Building Construction, where her main interest is conducting research in sustainable building design and development.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project Participants

May 13, 2015

The U.S. Department of State selected the following six Fulbright Foreign Students to participate in the third Millennial Trains Project (MTP) voyage across the United States — leaving from Los Angeles, California on May 21 and ending in Washington, DC on May 31— as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. The six Fulbrighters will join 19 American riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their skills in leadership, social entrepreneurship, and communication.

Meet the six Fulbright participants:

Saja AlQuzweeni is a Fulbright Forieng Student from Iraq completing a Master's in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Saja Al Quzweeni is a Fulbright Foreign Student from Iraq

Saja Al Quzweeni is a Fulbright Foreign Student from Baghdad, Iraq, currently pursuing a master’s in environmental science and policy at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Saja’s MTP project is an extension of research she completed last year at Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that works in urban agriculture as an approach to increase food security in lower income and food desert communities. Small plots of land are used for intensive growing to offer healthy, affordable food to inner city communities, while merging agriculture and wise environmental practices to revitalize urban areas.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

Action Inspired by America’s Natural and Community Beauty

October 30, 2014

Fulbright-MTP participant Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen, reflects on the overall feel of the MTP cross-country U.S. journey — highlighting Fulbright connections in Minnesota, and inspirational communities in Portland and Milwaukee.

In the words of Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright student from Yemen:

I found it really hard to write the last blog for my MTP experience as many memories and thoughts are pushing back and forth wanting to be penned. I have been reflecting on my voyage and sometimes I question if it really happened. It has been a once in a lifetime experience to the outer and inner worlds, as Millennial Trains Project (MTP) offered a 10-day journey of professional and interpersonal growth. It is a learning class on rails!

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

Fulbrigh Student from Yemen, Ammar Mohammed, left, with other Millennial Train Project participants at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, at the conclusion of their journey. August 2014.

In Portland, we met with decision-makers, including the first lady of Portland, and entrepreneurs who shared their inspiring stories with us. I interviewed an African American pioneer in entrepreneurship who gave me a great perspective on social integration through entrepreneurship. Dwayne Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of Center for Inclusive Innovation, explained some of the challenges that African American entrepreneurs face and lessons that can be replicated in the ‘marginalized’ African Yemeni context.Prior to hitting the rails to Seattle, I visited On-The-Move Community Integration. I was stunned by the great effort the volunteers and participants are doing to integrate into the society. This organization, which works with developmentally and intellectually disabled, has taken integration one step further. Instead of inviting the community to the organization, they go out to meet with the community and participate in outdoor activities.

In Seattle, another chapter of beauty and learning was unlocked. We began the morning at WeWork with mentors from Amazon Web Services and Citizen University. One of the best take-aways from Mr. Eric Liu of Citizen University is that “Rigid individualism never builds a community.” This really resonates with me, as I believe in collaboration as a crucial part of building strong, effective and diverse communities. Then I went to the Northwest African American Museum. Indeed, the visit exceeded my expectations. This relatively small but eye-opening museum exhibited how African Americans in Seattle merged with the society through sports, arts and music. I saw original sport outfits, musical instruments, and portrayals of the champions of social justice and equality; including, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy.Even though we had quite little time in Seattle compared to the rest of the MTP stops, it was a rewarding city to see and learn from.

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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project

“Every Recession Has Silver Linings”

August 6, 2014

As our Fulbright-MTP participants make their way to Portland for tomorrow’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey, 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 Katie Nikolaeva, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Russia:

Inequalities in the standard of living around the world makes people look for better places to live, thus creating immigration issues, which become more and more acute, especially for the developed countries. While governments are struggling to solve immigration problems, the cultural and religious differences contribute to the outburst of ethnic conflicts. These conflicts constitute a big challenge for the modern society, while people slowly learn not to resist, but tolerate ‘foreign’ cultures.

I study international economics at Brandeis International Business School, where students from over 50 different countries represent nearly all of the world’s major cultures and languages. Brandeis is my first experience in communicating with so many international people at the same time.

Katie_Nikolaeva

Katie Nikolaeva is current Fulbright Student from Russia.

The most striking thing is that even though all these students have various opinions and thus contribute to the development of social diversity and open-mindedness, all of them (representing their own countries) also have similar problems: ethnic conflicts, economic growth issues, international trade barriers, poverty (which is an issue in any country in the world, no matter how developed the country), religious conflicts, political instability, environmental problems, and so on and so forth.

One of the most pivotal moments of my Fulbright experience at Brandeis was when I saw a Russian girl dancing the Afghan national dance with her classmates from Afghanistan at the Global Gala (the annual concert we have at school), and nobody raised a question on the harsh relationships between these two countries, because you will always be tolerant to your friends, no matter which country, culture or religion they represent.

After my first year as a Fulbright scholar at an American university, I can say that in today’s world with plenty of wars and conflicts, people from different countries and cultures SHOULD get together in order to discuss the current problems and listen to each other’s opinions. Thus, the society would benefit from the resulting range of viewpoints and experiences.

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