Report from the Fulbright Coordinator
"As of mid-November, we have 45 senior level Scholars who teach and do research, 31 graduate students, and 8 school teachers at 29 different educational institutions."
Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2003
The Visiting Fulbright Scholar Enrichment Program in Southern California has launched its fall programs with opening dinners in Los Angeles and San Diego at the UCLA and UCSD Faculty Centers. In the coordinator’s office in Bunche Hall on the UCLA campus, my temporary assistant, Khadijah Haseeba, and now my permanent Lorraine Pratt and I, spent many weeks in September and October trying to locate and obtain contact information for new scholars. They come from around the world to campuses from Fresno to the Mexican border. The names and numbers fluctuate as Scholars come for different lengths of time, varying from two months to two years. As of mid-November, we have 45 senior level Scholars who teach and do research, 31 graduate students, and 8 school teachers at 29 different educational institutions.
At our UCLA dinner on October 24, over seventy Scholars, family members, and Fulbright Advisory Board members gathered in the Faculty Center to launch the 2003-04 academic year and hear Geoffrey Garrett, vice provost and director of the UCLA International Institute, speak on "Globalization and Education." After dinner, each Scholar gave a brief introduction of his/her country of origin and current work in this country. In the San Diego area we have fewer Fulbrighters so our dinner there is always much smaller and we have more time to hear the very interesting stories of each Scholar. During these opening dinners, the Scholars have a chance to meet each other and establish social and academic contacts. Our next event will be a holiday gathering at my home on December 7 where each scholar brings a dish from his own country. By that time Lorraine and I will have tracked down most of the Scholars and be ready to begin a series of programs in the new year that bring them into the Southern California community. Our Advisory Board members help us arrange many of these programs at their respective institutions, including the RAND Corporation, the Getty, the Caltech Jet Propulsion Labs, the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
For more than forty years, UCLA has been the base for Fulbright enrichment activities in Southern California. My predecessor, Anne Bodenheimer, coordinated the program for 29 years, and former Fulbrighters still call my office to ask about her. I am one of six coordinators in metropolitan areas around the country who work to carry out the function that Senator William Fulbright envisioned when he initiated legislation in Congress after World War II to create academic and cultural exchange between America and the rest of the world. Since September 11, I have felt that responsibility more acutely than ever, and we have launched a number of programs to let more Americans hear from the Fulbright Scholars. I teach a seminar in the Fiat Lux Program called Perceptions of America Abroad, Discussions with Visiting Fulbright Scholars. Each week, a different Scholar speaks about his/her country and how America is perceived there. We also do panel discussions in the community on this and other topics to try to help Americans become better informed about the rest of the world. We have already done a panel for Las Donas, a UCLA support group that raises scholarship aid for community college transfer students. In the new year we will do a panel for Town Hall Los Angeles, the UCLA Affiliates, and several church and community groups.
In early October I traveled to the Middle East for two weeks to do a book talk at the American University in Cairo and attend the inauguration of the new "Education City" in Qatar as a member of the Advisory Board of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. I have described those adventures in two other articles on this website.