IU School of Global and International Studies center hosting Fulbright Program orientation

Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies, welcomed the Fulbright students.

Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies, welcomed the Fulbright students.

As part of his welcoming remarks to 55 Fulbright students visiting Indiana University this week, Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies, noted that they will be in the United States during an interesting time in history.

Not only will they be here to see a potentially historic presidential election, but like billions of people worldwide, they are seeing how political and economic uncertainty has become a global phenomenon.

Feinstein, who served as principal director of policy planning and U.S. ambassador to Poland at the Department of State, cited the recent Brexit vote in Great Britain and the failed coup in Turkey and its aftermath as current examples.

“There’s something in the air,” he told the students from 42 countries. “People are, in the broadest sense, coping with the pace of global change. It upsets the order that people are used to.

“We’re clearly in a period of global, tectonic change and the strange thing about it is that nobody really knows where things are going,” he added. “I don’t think we’re at a cataclysmic point in history. I’m optimistic about the future, but it is a period of great uncertainty and instability … and you’ll see from a front seat what that looks like from the U.S. perspective.”

The Center for the Study of Global Change, an SGIS unit that focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration, global scholarship, outreach and innovative approaches to international education, hosted the Fulbright Gateway Orientation Program. This is the second consecutive year it is being held at IU Bloomington.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Of the 55 Fulbright students attending the orientation, 38 are women.

Of the 55 Fulbright students attending the orientation, 38 are women.

The current group of Fulbright students includes students from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. They include a Sri Lankan woman who will study public affairs, a Lebanese woman who will earn a law degree and a Costa Rican woman who will study language education.

Of the 55 Fulbright students attending the orientation, 38 are women.

The intent of the Fulbright orientation is to prepare the Fulbright students for what is expected of them in the program and introduce them to U.S. academic and societal culture. The orientation is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and it is administered and designed by the Institute of International Education.

Sessions this week include topics such as leadership, the Fulbright experience and cross-cultural understanding. Marjorie Hershey, a professor of political science, discussed the differences between the U.S. political system and democracies around the world.

Their experience isn’t all serious and limited to the IU Bloomington campus and academic interests. They enjoyed a barbecue picnic in Bloomington’s Bryan Park, where several became familiar with a popular collegiate activity involving beanbags, Cornhole. They will visit the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University. They will hike at Spring Mill State Park and see the Virgil “Gus” Grissom Memorial in nearby Mitchell, Ind.

“We are delighted to provide an array of programming that introduces the graduate students to higher education in the U.S., the Fulbright program, and the diversity of U.S. culture and Bloomington,” said Hilary Kahn, director of the Center for the Study of Global Change and assistant dean of international education and global initiatives at the IU School of Global and International Studies.

“The vast number of countries represented, literally from all over the world, will contribute to the social networking, the interdisciplinary and transnational exchange, and the overall orientation experience,” Kahn added.

While most of the Fulbright participants are heading to postings elsewhere, a few of them will staying in Bloomington based at IU.

Feinstein told the students, who are “now in the launching phase of very illustrious careers,” that being Fulbright scholars is “a great achievement.

“You should not be bashful,” he continued. “That is a title and an association that will continue with you your entire life, and we’re very fortunate to have you.”

fulbright students at orientation

This is the second consecutive year the Fulbright Gateway Orientation Program is being held at IU Bloomington.

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