Exploration to an American Indian Village

Visiting Fulbright Scholars in the New York area escaped urban life to learn about the daily life of the Lenape tribe prior to the arrival of the European settlers through a visit to Winakung at Waterloo. Winakung means “place of sassafrass” and recreates what life in a historic Lenape village was like.

Scholars learn about Lenape cooking.

Scholars learn about Lenape cooking.

During a tour of Winakung, participants visited 12 interactive stations about aspects of Lenape life, ranging from cooking, fishing and hunting to medicine, courtship rituals and religious beliefs. Scholars also took part in hands on activities that allowed them to experience how the Lenape lived.

Scholar Khaled Taktek from Canada tries Lenape-style target practice.

Scholar Khaled Taktek from Canada tries Lenape-style target practice.

Scholars were impressed by Lenape culture, learning that it was a matrilineal society where women had considerable rights including property and divorce. Lenape had a deep respect for the environment that influenced how they ate, made clothes, hunted and fished. They knew how to preserve meat and used all parts of the animals.

Scholars, Bin Jin from China La Lashvili from Georgia touch a deer pelt.

Scholars, Bin Jin from China La Lashvili from Georgia touch a deer pelt.

The day at Winakung was extremely valuable and exposed a part of American history and culture rarely seen by visitors.

Fulbright Scholars and their families at Winakung at Waterloo.

Fulbright Scholars and their families at Winakung at Waterloo.

Traveling Back in Time to Sturbridge Village

Boston area Fulbright Visiting Scholars traveled back in time to 1830’s rural New England at Sturbridge Village, a living history museum in Sturbridge, Massachussetts. Costumed actors, historic buildings and activities such as pottery making, smithery, weaving, and cooking, brought Massachussetts history to life in this small village.

A local schoolchild in period clothing.

A local schoolchild in period clothing.

Scholars spent the day enjoying aspects of 1830s life. They took horse-drawn rides in stagecoaches and hay wagons. Some watched the making of butter in a wooden churn and tasted the final product. Others learned about the history and crafts of the period through books in the General Store and Bookshop. Still others enjoyed taking hiking trails around the millpond and through wooded fields.

Visiting Scholars enjoy a hay ride.

Visiting Scholars enjoy a hay ride.

One highlight of the day was the annual springtime Family Farm Fest,  which featured newborn farm animals and activities for school children. Everyone enjoyed playing with lambs and bunnies, while staff in period costume explained the historical context of farm activities.

Barbara Harrison of WorldBoston with a young Fulbrighter.

Barbara Harrison of WorldBoston with a young Fulbrighter.

The day was packed with learning about Massacussetts history and culture. Several Scholars commented that although they spent the day at the village, they could spend many more enjoying the many things to see and do!

 

A Meaningful Stroll Along the Los Angeles River

Los Angeles area Fulbright Visiting Scholars enjoyed a relaxing tour and picnic along the Los Angeles River where they learned about the river’s history and current restoration efforts.

The Los Angeles River runs through downtown Los Angeles near several local landmarks and has been featured in a number of classic American films including Chinatown and Grease. Today, the river is undergoing a $1.2 billion restoration and revitalization project  to make it an attractive and central part of the city.

Scholars in the Courtyard of the LA Music Center.

Scholars in the courtyard of the LA Music Center.

Throughout the river walk, scholars enjoyed a variety of sites including the Los Angeles Music Center, bridges with beautiful 1920’s style architectecture and a quiet rural park. Enjoying their picnic lunch in a park, scholars remarked at the contrast between urban and rural areas they were able to see along the river.

Scholars pose in front of one of several bridges built in the 1920s

Scholars pose in front of one of several bridges built in the 1920s

Scholars were able to witness how a community has come together to restore a little known part of Los Angeles.

Scholars enjoy a picnic lunch in a riverside park.

Scholars enjoy a picnic lunch in a riverside park.

Day at the United Nations in New York

For Fulbright Scholars, international work and cooperation is a given, and earlier this month they explored these ideas at the United Nations (UN) Building in New York.

The Fulbright group in front of Arnaldo Pomodoro’s famous globe sculpture entitled “Sphere within a Sphere”

The Fulbright group in front of Arnaldo Pomodoro’s famous globe sculpture entitled “Sphere within a Sphere”

Scholars were treated to two private briefings, the first of which was on sexual violence in conflict, led by La Niece Collins. Sexual violence as a weapon of war has been used in recent conflicts in the Congo, Somalia, and former Yugoslavia, and there is rarely justice for the survivors. In fact, the perpetrators may even be in positions of authority, and the UN is working to rectify these situations. It was fascinating for scholars to hear about negotiating international law and traditional customs when mediating these types of issues.

The second briefing covered working with the UN in matters other than policy. Former Fulbright grantee Anton Botha, currently an industrial psychologist for the General Secretariat, discussed various ways of working with the UN such as volunteering or interning, and the UN employment strategy which includes support staff in a variety of fields.

“The two briefings helped me understand the challenges of working in the organization and how it requires a lot of motivation and commitment to work in extreme and dangerous environments around the world,” said Ussama Yaqub, Fulbright Student from Pakistan. “I was impressed by the conviction and dedication with which La Neice spoke about her cause and Anton’s talk motivated me to think about volunteering for the UN.”

Fulbright scholar Daan Bauwens from Belgium and Dren Pozhegu from Kosovo inside the General Assembly Hall

Fulbright Scholars Daan Bauwens from Belgium and Dren Pozhegu from Kosovo inside the General Assembly Hall

Following the briefings, the group toured the rest of the UN building. They were able to see important rooms such as the Security Council and General Assembly rooms, as well as view artwork from many different countries that had been donated to the building. It was a truly valuable experience for scholars and students alike to be able to take an inside look at this notable organization!

The tour guide discuses UN peace keeping operations

The tour guide discuses UN peace keeping operations

On Open Waters with Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating

What better to do on a warm spring day than go sailing! This month Fulbright Scholars in the DC-Maryland area had the chance to meet with Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), an organization that provides accessible sailing opportunities to those with physical or developmental disabilities.

Lance Hinrichs, VP of CRAB’s Board of Directors, speaks with the group about adaptive sailing

Lance Hinrichs, VP of CRAB’s Board of Directors, speaks with the group about adaptive sailing

The day began at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland, where Lance Hinrichs, the Vice President of CRAB’s board of directors introduced the organization’s mission. He spoke about the spinal injury that led to his own disability, and how sailing can be made into an adaptive sport for fun and active recreation for all.

Scholars from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Armenia, and Turkey come back from a successful trip on the water

Scholars from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Armenia, and Turkey come back from a successful trip on the water

Scholars then got into sailboats with CRAB participants and volunteers and set out on the Chesapeake Bay! For many scholars, this was their first experience sailing, and the event was particularly special in honoring the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This hands-on learning about adaptive recreation was a wonderful way for scholars to engage with the community while trying a new sport.

Entire group with David Levin posing on the Marina, in front of CRAB’s sail boats

Entire group with David Levin posing on the Marina, in front of CRAB’s sail boats

Fulbright Scholars Give Back at the Westside Food Bank

Scholars in California recently took the time to give back to their community and help the homeless. They began the day with a visit at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization that researches topics relevant to public policy. For this program, they provided insight based on their research on homelessness and homeless populations in the United States, a relevant topic to the work of several scholars.

A scholar responds to the RAND speakers

A scholar responds to the RAND speakers

Following this thoughtful briefing, scholars went to a Santa Monica homeless shelter to hear about their work at the shelter and with low income housing placements. The discussion was inspiring for scholars, who responded in turn with diligent efforts at their next location, the Westside Food Bank. Here, scholars assisted in boxing oranges for distribution, and left the event feeling that their actions had made a difference.

Sorting oranges at the Food Bank!

Sorting oranges at the Food Bank!

Human Rights and Democracy

Alabama played a pivotal role in the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Through a 4 day seminar in Huntsville, Alabama hosted by the International Services Council of Alabama, scholars learned about this history as well as current efforts to empower marginalized groups and create change in a democratic society.

The seminar began at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which houses artifacts from the U.S. Space Program. Representatives from the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program warmly welcomed Scholars. They then enjoyed a tour of the space center, followed by a reception, dinner, and address from journalist, David Person, entitled, “Why Come to Alabama to Study Democracy and Human Rights.”

David Person addresses Visiting Scholars

David Person addresses Visiting Scholars

The evening ended with swing dance lessons from the group I Charleston Huntsville, a group that developed out of a global challenge for communities to make videos of themselves dancing the Charleston in front of famous places.

Scholars dance the Charleston

Scholars dance the Charleston

The next day, scholars traveled to Birmingham,  the city that was at the heart of the Civil Rights movement to learn about its history and importance today. At Samford University, Dr. Brannon Denning, Dean at the School of Law, spoke about the relationship between human rights and civil rights. A panel of historians, attorneys and judges gave scholars a background on the Civil Rights Movement.

A wheelchair basketball game at the Lakeshore Foundation.

A wheelchair basketball game at the Lakeshore Foundation.

In the afternoon speakers addressed issues of civil rights today. Scholars then toured the Lakeshore Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to improve the fitness of people with disabilities. Scholars learned about the organization’s work providing athletic opportunities in rugby, basketball and swimming to individuals with disabilities, as well as its role as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site. In the last part of the trip, scholars visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where they learned about the events, struggles and voices of the Civil Rights Movement through a tour and exhibits.

The Birmingham Institute for Civil Rights.

Exhibit at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

The next day, Alabama Senator Arthur Orr, addressed scholars on “Transparency in a Democratic Government.” Following this scholars had the chance to attend several breakout sessions on topics including immigration, youth leadership, economic empowerment and minority participation in governments.

Senator Arthur Orr chats with Scholars.

Senator Arthur Orr chats with scholars.

The seminar ended with a discussion on what scholars learned. Scholars appreciated the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of passionate speakers and gain a more in-depth understanding of human rights and democracy in American society.

Greetings from Huntsville, Alabama!

Greetings from Huntsville, Alabama!