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Mongolia

Foreign Fulbright

Discovering the Unexpected in West Virginia

July 2, 2019
By Oyundari Ganbaatar, Foreign Fulbright Student, Mongolia

Oyundari visits a PK-8 School in Williamson, WV.

When I first received the email inviting me to attend the weeklong Fulbright-Amizade service-learning program in Williamson, West Virginia, I was excited to share the great news with my family and friends. However, their reactions were indifferent. My family in Mongolia had never heard of Williamson, and my friends in the U.S. told me that there is nothing to see or do in that part of the country. But I wasn’t discouraged. Instead, I was even more curious to learn about this unfamiliar town.

On May 11, 2019, I traveled from Houston to Charleston, West Virginia, where I met with other Fulbright-Amizade participants from 11 different countries. From there, we drove to Williamson. Our hour and a half-long drive to Williamson was filled with picturesque mountains and vibrant green forest.

During our first few days in Williamson, we learned about the town by visiting different sites, engaging in service activities and meeting with community members. One week is not enough time to learn everything about the town, but it was long enough to break the negative stereotypes we had heard before the trip. It is true that Williamson struggles with many hardships, including the opioid crisis, chronic diseases, unemployment, and depopulation. But are these not global issues that almost every city and country in the world also deal with?

The Fulbright-Amizade group on top of Death Rock Mountain.

We experienced many positive moments while in Williamson. We saw a community that has identified their problems and is doing everything they can to change things for the better. Despite the struggles caused by the decline of the coal industry and several devastating floods, Williamson is a town that works hard to solve their problems together as a community. They’ve implemented programs such as the Health and Wellness Center to provide affordable health and dental care for residents, a recovery center to deal with the county’s drug problem, sustainable tourism to attract new visitors, active living programs that encourage community members to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and in-home parenting education programs to make sure no family is left behind.

This experience was eye-opening. Through Fulbright-Amizade, I now understand the importance of working together to overcome difficulties. I witnessed the hard work and perseverance of the Williamson community. I learned about concepts that I can apply to my community when I return to Mongolia. Moreover, I believe we also impacted those we met in Williamson by not only sharing and introducing our cultures and stories, but also helping them to tell their stories to us. Ultimately, the trip was about the importance of mutual understanding and mutual benefit. I hope the community will continue its optimism and hard work towards positive change and sustainable development. I would be delighted to visit Williamson again in the future to see their progress and achievements in the years to come.

Oyundari is pursuing a master’s in public policy at the University of Houston.

U.S. Fulbright

Home on the Steppe: My Fulbright in Mongolia

February 6, 2013
Shebana-Coelho-2006-2007-Mongolia_1

Shebana Coelho, 2006-2007, Mongolia, experiencing adventures in eagle wrangling on the road to Terelj, outside of Ulaanbataar.

I know there was a time when Mongolia didn’t feel like another home, before I went there on my Fulbright grant, before 2006. But I can’t remember it. Every time I speak Mongolian, it feels like a homecoming. I spoke it last on December 21 at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, DC. I said, “Sain bain uu, bi Shebana baina,” “hello, I’m Shebana,” to the group of about seventy people who had gathered to hear my multimedia presentation about being on the move in Mongolia. It was co-organized by the Embassy of Mongolia and the Mongolian Cultural Center, based in Arlington, Virginia.

I went to Mongolia looking for nomads, I said in my presentation, but I also found the city, Ulaanbataar, Mongolia’s capital where I took intensive language lessons. My time in Mongolia ranged between learning the language in the city and living with nomadic families in the “yag hoodoo,” the countryside proper. Each season, I went to a different Mongolian province: Eastern Mongolia, during calving season in the spring; the green north, where I learned sheep herding in the summertime; the Gobi Desert, for autumn adventures in camel herding; and Western Mongolia, with Kazakh families during the winter. I recorded nomadic families at work, rest, and play, and returned with tons of audio and photos including interviews, ambient sounds, and songs.

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U.S. Fulbright

Interested in learning more about studying the power of music as a global force for promoting mutual understanding? Attend today’s Fulbright-mtvU webinar at 2:30-4:00 p.m., EST.

December 7, 2011

For the past five years, Fulbright-mtvU Fellows have studied the power of using music as a global force for promoting mutual understanding.  Now entering its sixth year, we encourage all interested applicants to join today’s informational webinar.

During the webinar, mtvU and IIE staff will discuss the fellowship’s goals and how to apply.  If available, Fulbright-mtvU alumni will be on hand to discuss their experiences and answer questions.  All interested program advisers are also welcome to attend and participate in the Q&A session.

To register, click on the following link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/794641034

All times indicated are Eastern Time Zone.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.  If you have not done so already, you will need to download the GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar client software.

System Requirements
Windows PC: Windows 2000, XP, or newer
Mac: OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or newer

Interested in what it’s like to be a Fulbright-mtvU Student?  Check out the Fulbright-mtvU blog and 2011 Fulbright-mtvU recipient Lauren Knapp’s timelapse video of Ulaanbataar, Mongolia:

Timelapse: Ulaanbaatar 4-Way from Lauren Knapp on Vimeo.

Not able to join today’s webinar but still want to learn more about Fulbright-mtvU?  Click here to see the guidance session/webinar schedule.

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, tgranza@iie.org or Walter Jackson, wjackson@iie.org.  For more information on how to apply, please visit https://us.fulbrightonline.org/applynow.html.

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.