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

Many Cultures, One Neighborhood: A Fulbright Adventure to Harlem

On a sunny day in early May, Visiting Fulbright Scholars and their families located in the greater New York City area trekked to a famous neighborhood in their host city. Although not publicly known for tourism, Harlem proved to be a rewarding and unique area to visit.

Tour guide, Anthony Bowman, answering the scholar’s questions after the church service

Tour guide, Anthony Bowman, answering the scholar’s questions after the church service

The group was guided by a specialist in African-American history through the vibrant streets of Harlem. Beginning at the famous Apollo Theater, Fulbrighters learned about events such as the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance. Eventually the scholars landed at their midway destination, the First Corinthians Baptist Church, where they listened to beautiful Gospel hymns and listened in to a service on the need for justice in the black community. Reverend Lekisha related this necessity to the social unrest unraveling in Baltimore.

Scholars and their families walking down 116th Street in Harlem

Scholars and their families walking down 116th Street in Harlem

After the moving experience at the church, the group toured a part of Harlem known as “Little Africa,” named for the presence of West African immigrants. In this area, scholars passed the mosque Masjid Malcom Shabazz, where they seized the opportunity to discuss Malcom X’s philosophy of unifying Muslims from all cultural backgrounds.

Anthony talking about the evolution of Jazz

Anthony talking about the evolution of Jazz

At the end of the outing, scholars were treated to discover American “soul food,” with delicious samplings such as fried chicken, candied yams, macaroni & cheese, and sweet tea. Overall, scholars were amazed at how safe and lively the streets of Harlem were, which is typically stereotyped as a poor and dangerous neighborhood of the city.

Sailing Down the Hudson

Fulbright Visiting Scholars in the Greater New York City area were fortunate enough to go on a sailing adventure on the Hudson, one of the rivers that surrounds the island of Manhattan that creeps through the state of New York.

Fulbright scholars learning how the Sloop’s crew navigates along the Hudson River

Fulbright scholars learning how the Sloop’s crew navigates along the Hudson River

To begin the day on the water, scholars and their families were taken to the old capitol of New York, Kingston. This city was once a transportation hub for railways and ships. The group then had a three-hour long sailing experience with local non-profit, Clearwater, an organization that influences environmental policy and heightens awareness about ecological issues. The Fulbright crew learned about the river’s relationship to New York City, its role in supporting local ecosystems, and the environmental issues it faces. They also had the chance to drop a fishing net into the water, man the sails, and navigate the Hudson. Beyond the beauty of the Hudson Valley, Fulbrighters also saw an American Eel!

Fulbright scholars helping to raise the sails of the Clearwater

Fulbright scholars helping to raise the sails of the Clearwater

After getting back their land-legs, the group took a stroll on the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, known as the Walkway Over the Hudson. The participants were astounded at how beautiful their ecosystem was, especially considering that the big city was only a few miles away. With a landscape that gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to preserve its wonder?

The Fulbright group on Walkway Over The Hudson

The Fulbright group on Walkway Over The Hudson

Dutch scholar Mathijs Van de Sande, Irish scholar Ailbhe Kenny and her husband Richard getting their bearings

Dutch scholar Mathijs Van de Sande, Irish scholar Ailbhe Kenny and her husband Richard getting their bearings

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