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Enrichment Foreign Fulbright

A Quiet Place in the Mountains…Grow Local, Live Long!!!

March 30, 2016
Oyeniyi Abe (Niyi) is a Fulbright Student from Nigeria conducting his Ph.D. research at Loyola University, Chicago School of Law.

Oyeniyi Abe (Niyi) is a Fulbright Student from Nigeria conducting his Ph.D. research at Loyola University, Chicago School of Law.

As the world is dealing with the effects of climate change, a visit to Williamson, WV exposed me to a new paradigm on sustainable development and the impact of ‘ruralness’ on the health and well-being of a society. As a participant in the Fulbright Amizade service-learning enrichment activity, this trip to Appalachia showed me how old coal mines are being reclaimed for agricultural use and how community revitalization has created a pathway towards sustainable living and economic growth. Getting close to nature also offered me an opportunity for reflection. Often times we tend to neglect the very small things that matter.

I grew up on a farm in a rural community in south western Nigeria. Coming to a rural community in the United States was, for me, a rare and unique opportunity. I visited many places and met many people but the most exciting aspect of my experience was visiting the community gardens and learning the local style of growing crops. The decline of the coal business has had an effect on the people of Williamson, causing a visible decline in population as evidenced by the abandoned houses. But the general sense I got was one of hope and determination.

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Linguistics in Louisiana: Creole, Diasporan Yoruba, and Work Ethics

October 29, 2015
Olanike Lawore, 2013-2014, Fulbright FLTA from Nigeria

Olanike Lawore, 2013-2014, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Nigeria (second from left), working closely with her students at Tulane University

My name is Olanike Lawore. I am from Nigeria and was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) at Tulane University, New Orleans between 2013 and 2014. My Fulbright experience was a life-changing one, as it expanded my academic orientation in many ways and provided me with an opportunity to explore and understand the American graduate school world while thoroughly honing my teaching skills.

My Fulbright experience started with an orientation held at Syracuse University, where my Fulbright colleagues from other parts of the world and I were provided with information on what to expect in a typical U.S. university, how to adapt to our host communities and how to carry out our FLTA responsibilities successfully at our respective host campuses. The orientation was quite useful and helped us to prepare for the tasks ahead.

Arriving at my host institution, I commenced my teaching duties while also taking graduate level courses in linguistics and literature, an experience that was challenging but invaluable. Consequently, my multi-tasking skills grew by leaps and bounds.

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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

Off the Drawing Board: Implementing Ideas on Sustainable Architecture in Igbogun Village, By Samuel Babatunde Ero-Phillips, 2010-2011, Nigeria

September 30, 2011

Being a Fulbrighter has helped me to fulfill a lifelong career goal: I have always wanted to design an artistic building made from sustainable materials which would effectively address social issues like community education.  On a personal level, being a Fulbrighter has also profoundly enhanced my knowledge of Yoruba culture.  Because I have a better understanding of exactly for whom and where I am designing, I am now able and determined to create practical proposals.  Because I was pushed to learn Yoruba, I am also much more adaptable to change.  

My Fulbright experience marked the first time I took learning another language seriously.  Learning Yoruba helped me to gain career experience because it allowed me to manage a construction site by interacting closely with workers.  By speaking Yoruba on a site, I changed people’s perceptions about Americans and helped to facilitate my acceptance into the local community.  I tried my best to assimilate as much as possible.  I prostrated to greet elders, fetched my own water, ate the same foods as locals and took public transportation instead of using a private driver.

What you choose to study on your Fulbright makes a big difference in terms of gaining acceptance within your local host community.  Researching sustainable architecture provided me with an excellent opportunity to engage a wide range of people.  From the families in Igbogun, to architecture students at Olabisi Onabanjo University, my project helped me to connect with everyone I met.  Building a school in Ibogun also allowed me to leave a lasting impression on my host community by investing in their children’s education.

An added benefit to building a school in Igbogun is that it will serve as a case study for designs I will create using brick and bamboo to address affordable housing in Lagos.  It’s a tangible example of sustainable architecture techniques that protect the environment, save money and create beautiful spaces that will connect people.  This career path feels natural to me, and I am happy that it has facilitated my growth as a leader in my communities both in the United States and in Nigeria by providing something useful for children. 

I started my Ph.D. at the University of Lagos (Unilag) during my Fulbright grant and I plan to return to Nigeria next year to continue pursuing my research until the primary school is complete.  Designing, fund-raising and building a project from start to finish is a rare opportunity that few recent architecture graduates are able to experience.  Currently, the library structure is up to the roofing level.  When I return, I will build classroom spaces using bamboo. The work I accomplished as a Fulbrighter literally laid the foundation for what I plan to do next.

Here are my tips for study/research applicants:

  • Research something practical that can affect people’s lives after you leave your host country.  Find a creative but professional approach on how to achieve it.  Is your research project about an interesting topic that only academics can discuss, or is it something that you can share with your local host community and use to engage it?  The benefit of the latter is that your host community will connect with your research immediately and will therefore appreciate both you and your work that much more.  Also, ask yourself: what impact will my research have on the larger society within my host country?  Can it be replicated?  These are considerations that will help support a good project. 
  • Describe why you are the only person who can make your project happen. Write about your personal and academic history and why they fit nicely into your proposed Fulbright project and life’s work.  Talk about your proposed local host connections and how they will help you to accomplish your research.  Also, focus on how you and those you’ll interact with will both benefit from your project.
  • Learn another language so that you can discuss your research project with those with whom you’ll interact in your host country.  Some countries in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program have language requirements, so check the Fulbright Country Summaries carefully first.  Speaking the local language is a great way to make new connections and will allow more people to give you feedback and ask questions.  And, by speaking regularly, you will become more motivated to improve your language skills as well as the research you’re conducting.  Be open about this.  Resist the temptation to stay in your comfort zone.  Loosen up and experience another way of life.

To see architectural drawings and renderings of my Fulbright project, click here.

To see construction photos of my Fulbright project click here and here.

Photo: Samuel Babatunde Ero-Phillips, 2010-2011, Nigeria, addressing the council of chiefs’ meeting in the village of Igbogun on Saturday, November 20, 2010, about his intention to build a primary school.  The model on the table shows the primary school in its completion.  A library made from adobe brick occupies the middle.  Adjacent to this structure on both sides are classroom spaces made from bamboo.  The larger model in his hand shows enlarged detail of the bamboo building construction.