Scholars and the Seas

International House Davis held their annual Asilomar Conference this November in the beautiful Monterey Bay area. For two days, Fulbright Scholars, Families, and Volunteers were joined by Humphrey Fellows to learn about, “The Oceans: Managing Critical Issues”. They heard from guest speakers from the Hopkins Marine Station, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary, which are among the top research centers on the West Coast.

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Humphrey Fellows and Fulbright Scholars visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Left to Right: Kakhaber Bakhtadze (Georgia), Carmel Christy Kattithara (India), Tannia Mayorga (Ecuador), Harum Mukhayer (Sudan), Tomasz Koncweicz (Poland), Nirina Fenoarifara (Madagascar), Humberto Camacho (Bolivia), and Ivar Kruusenberg (Estonia)

They learned about many marine issues, such as “The Death and Life of Monterey Bay”. This bay underwent a 100 year restoration project that was once polluted to death but now has been restored to life and is a marine sanctuary. They also learned about the adaptability of marine life under extreme conditions.


Children of Fulbright Scholars strolled down the Asilomar Boardwalk

The conference was also hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest and most comprehensive aquariums in America and a leader in ocean conservation, research and education. They were able to see the tools and perspectives used by marine biologists and others in the field. On the final day of the tour, scholars presented on ocean issues from their countries, specifically: fisheries in Norway, education about ocean conservation in Norway, drilling for oil and the tar sands in Canada, and ocean acidification in Spain.


Fulbright Visiting Scholars Panel with Bernt Aarset and Jessica Marks (Norway), Philippe Le Billon (British Colombia, Canada) and Joaquim Garrabou (Spain) to discuss critical marine issues in their home countries

A main takeaway from the conference was the importance of citizen involvement in saving the oceans and promoting policies to create more marine sanctuaries, and demand restrictions which will further protect the seas.

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A group photo of Fulbright Visiting Scholars, Humphrey Fellows, Advisory Committee members and staff at the beautiful Asilomar Conference grounds

Fall Fun with Fulbright and Family!

Boston Fulbright Scholars and their families enjoyed a beautiful Fall Foliage tour To Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, Massachusetts. Scholars enjoyed a short hike to a boulder that had been deposited by an ancient glacier and a tour by the caretaker for the Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Scholars and families exploring the Audubon Society Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

The Fulbright party continued to Apple Fest. There were food and craft vendors, musical performances, and the Skyride ski lift to the observation tower at the top of the mountain. The foliage was at its peak with beautiful bright colors. Fall is a truly magnificent season to enjoy New England’s vibrant flora.


The Skyride to the summit

Art and Apples with Fulbright Scholars from the Big Apple

Autumn in the USA is a time for many traditional harvest-related activities. Our New York City Fulbright Scholars and their families were able to participate in seasonal festivities through the Enrichment Program. On a beautiful fall morning, the group drove up to Storm King Art Center, a famous 500-acre outdoor sculpture park and museum that celebrates the harmonious yet dramatic interaction between sculpture and the surrounding landscape. They were guided through the museum to learn about the art, its engineering, local history, and to appreciate the beautiful fall foliage that surrounded them. Guides encouraged the visiting team to look at each work from a variety of angles and really consider the different emotions that they evoke. After a period of solo exploration, the group came together for an outdoor lunch at Storm King’s picnic grounds.


The Fulbright group at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY

The Fulbright group departed from Storm King and drove to Pennings Orchards. They picked apples, went on a wagon ride around the beautiful grounds, and enjoyed apple cider and donuts. Children were able to meet pygmy goats, and climb haystacks; while adults appreciated the marvelous landscape and the farmers market.


Fulbright scholars on a tour at Storm King Art Center

“We had wanted to go upstate in the autumn and see the beautiful views of the trees and the hills in those colors! And it was a perfect mix of culture and nature for us, keeping it interesting both for the kids and for us. Very engaging!” -Agustina Del Campo from Argentina; Columbia University


Fulbright scholars and their families enjoying a wagon ride at Pennings Orchards



Fulbright Tour of the Historic Salem, Massachusetts

Fulbright Scholars and their families began their adventure at The House of Seven Gables where tour guides divided them into small, interactive groups. The house, a Jacobean style mansion built by the sea in 1668, is a unique piece of New England history. Scholars learned about the property, its inhabitants, and enjoyed taking pictures of the property.

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Exploring the House of Seven Gables gardens.

The groups then ventured to Pickering Wharf, a beautiful spot on the harbor filled with restaurants and small shops, where scholars ate lunch and had the option to explore the USS Friendship. This ship is a replica of the Salem East Indiaman Friendship, launched in 1797 with 15 voyages to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean, and Russia.

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View of Salem Harbor.

The journey of our Fulbright crew continued to The Peabody Essex Museum, one of the largest and most dynamic art museums in the nation. Scholars were able to experience the museum at their leisure. They then walked to the Salem Witch Museum. At this final destination on the tour, scholars learned about the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s and the different varieties of witches.


“Strandbeast” special exhibit from The Netherlands at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Fulbright Scholars Journey to Gettysburg

Fulbright scholars and their families took a road trip in October 100 miles north to Gettysburg, PA. This small town is infamous in American history. During the American Civil War in the 19th century, the Battle of Gettysburg, also known as the High Water Mark of the Rebellion, was the pivotal moment that led to Union victory. While Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted his second invasion of the North, the bloodiest battle of this war was fought in Gettysburg. It also served as the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln‘s famous Gettysburg Address.

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Fulbright Scholars and their families pose in front of one of the many famous monuments at Gettysburg

The scholars ate lunch at the visitors center and were given an educational tour from a Licensed Battlefield Guide. They retraced the steps of the battle and looked at monuments dedicated to the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg.

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A glimpse into battlefield life

After the battlefield tour, scholars and their families visited the Gettysburg Foundation museum. The artifacts held within the museum offer insight into the lives of important key figures of the Civil War, such as President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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Scholars ascending above the beautiful fall foliage

Scholars on Segways!

Who said Fulbright Scholars only engage in academia? Our DC area Scholars were given the opportunity to experience the beautiful monuments in the city on a Segway tour. A Segway is a two-wheeled motorized personal vehicle consisting of a platform for the feet mounted above an axle and an upright post surmounted by handles (check out the pictures!). On their two-hour tour, they visited and learned about famous landmarks such as the White House, the US Capitol, the Smithsonian Museums, and other attractions located in the heart of our nation’s capital!


Scholars on Segways in front of the White House

Although Segways might seem difficult to command, our scholars found that they were surprisingly easy to drive after a quick practice lap. With a bit of encouragement, they soon were zipping through the historic streets of DC. It was a wonderful way to tour the city without tiring out too quickly.


Scholars on Segways in front of the Washington Monument

After the tour, the scholars munched on a delicious Italian lunch. They were all thrilled with the Segway tour and DC’s monuments!


Fulbright Scholars eating after a great Segway tour


Play Ball! A Day in Baltimore’s Camden Yards

What’s more American than a good game of baseball? Fulbright Visiting Scholars and their families were able to experience this great American pastime in Baltimore. Before heading to Camden Yards, the home field of the Baltimore Orioles, Scholars and their guests were invited to a private tour of the Sports Legends Museum. Fun fact: the building used to serve as a passanger terminus for the country’s first commercial railroad before becoming a museum.

Full group with the Sports Legends Museum in the background

Group in front of the Sports Legends Museum

At the museum the group learned about the complicated rules of baseball through a guided tour. Children of the Fulbrighters were even able to try on some baseball gear in the hands-on section of the museum.

Mike Gibbons shows participants a catcher’s mask

Mike Gibbons shows participants a catcher’s mask

Then it was off to the field to see the Baltimore Orioles take on the New York Yankees!

Group waving from the stands

Group waving from the stands