February 2: Scholars watched the Brooklyn Nets basketball team take on the Los Angeles Clippers at Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. They were joined by native Brooklynite and basketball expert, Shayna Jeffers, who chatted with scholars about the rules of the game, its place in American culture and the Barclays Center’s role in the local community.
The game opened with a Gospel rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by the Mcdonald’s Gospel Super Choir followed by an intense neck-to-neck game.
Scholars enjoyed taking in the game’s festive atmosphere including local food, enthusiastic fans, entertainment, and audience participation. They even took part in wildly cheering on the Nets. The game ended with a winning basket in the last seconds with a 102-100 victory for the Nets.
The event also offered Scholars an opportunity to see the role of basketball in bringing Americans together. One Scholar from Turkey remarked on how impressed she was to see people of all types, men, women, children, and couples enjoying the game. Another Scholar from China spoke on how the game allowed her to understand the “American spirit of courage and collectivism,” very different from the common perception of American culture as purely individualist.
(left to right) Farida Ryskulueva from Kyrgyzstan, Zainab Riaz from Pakistan & Rebeca Adami from Sweden
(left to right) Megan Davies Wykes from the United Kingdom and Martin Loucka from the Czech Republic
Asli Ozyar Mizrahi from Turkey
December 18: Fulbright Scholars in New York enjoyed a tour and performance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where they learned about the intersections between African-American history, modern dance and social activism. Founded in 1958 by African-American choreographer, Alvin Ailey, the company was one of the first racially integrated modern dance repertory companies in the United States. Scholars toured the Alvin Ailey School where an impressive 90-100 dance classes are offered every single day.
Scholars enjoy a tour of the Alvin Ailey School
At the end of the tour scholars attended a private talk with professional dancer, Slim Mello, who originally came to New York from Brazil through Ailey’s scholarship program. He shared his personal story of how the Alvin Ailey School impacted his life, which was met by applause from Scholars.
Farida Ryskulueva from Kyrgyzstan with dancer Slim Mello.
After the tour Scholars saw performances of three dance pieces: Memoria, Odetta, and Revelations. The premiere piece, Odetta, celebrates the life of singer and civil rights activist, Odetta Holmes. Revelations, Ailey’s most famous piece has been performed more times than the Nutcracker.
A scene from Odetta.
Scholars remarked on how much they enjoyed the performance, which was enriched by understanding the Company’s history and significance. Scholars understood, through this experience, why Congress has called Alvin Ailey “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world.”
(left to right) Asli Ozyar from Turkey and Zainab Riaz and Nadhra Khan from Pakistan.
January 11: Fulbright Visiting Scholars got to experience a bit of Hollywood history at the performance of Jack Lemmon Returns, a one-man show narrating the life of classic comedic actor Jack Lemmon through the eyes of his son, Christopher. The play explored their complex father-son relationship amidst tales of the Beverly Hills circles in which Lemmon moved. It was performed at the Broad Stage, a part of Santa Monica Community College, which aims to provide a major center for the arts away from downtown Los Angeles. Following the play, Scholars ate dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant where they discussed cultural insights gained from the play. Overall the event was an exciting opportunity for Scholars to experience unique aspects of Southern California culture.
Poster for the play, “Jack Lemmon Returns.”
Fulbrighters enjoyed seeing Christopher Lemmon portray his father in Jack Lemmon Returns.
January 17 &19, 2015: Scholars and their family members in the Boston area had two exciting opportunities to understand the meaning of Martin Luther King Day.
Scholars and their family were treated to the amazing voices of the Harlem Gospel Choir at their “27th Annual Joyful Noise” Concert at the historic Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. The rousing concert honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and included exciting opportunities for audience participation.
Visiting Scholars and family also spent an afternoon volunteering at “Many Helping Hands,” a day of service for the city of Cambridge, MA held annually on Martin Luther King Day. After checking into the event, scholars went to three locations to work on different projects. Groups made Valentine’s Day cards for the elderly, stuffed care bags and made blankets and scarves from donated materials. Several participants enthusiastically responded to a request to arrive early in order to receive training in running the day’s activities. They proudly wore their Volunteer T-shirts and helped with activities throughout the day. After volunteering, the group walked to a nearby ice cream parlor and chatted about the day’s activities over frozen treats. Scholars were amazed at how many people who showed up from the community to help out, with volunteers ranging in age from 5 to over 80.
Participants gather for the beginning of MLK day volunteering.
Fulbright-made valentines for the elderly.
Fulbright Visiting Scholars celebrate a day of community service.
December 6: Fulbright Visiting Scholars and their families enjoyed watching a hockey game on a cold Boston evening. The Merrimack College Warriors took on the Boston University Terriers in an exciting game that ended with the Terriers on top, 4-2. Scholars enjoyed learning about hockey, but they were even more enthusiastic about audience participation throughout the game and dancing to the tunes of the Boston University Band.
Scholars and their families dance to the Boston University Band during a break in the game
Scholars and their families enjoy watching a college hockey game
November 3: UCLA and the Fulbright Association hosted a welcome dinner and reception for Visiting Fulbright Scholars and UCLA students and faculty. Distinguished political science professor, Dan Caldwell, gave a keynote speech about the fall U.S. elections. Scholars and students enjoyed great food, wonderful company, and are excited to welcome the new year in Los Angeles!
Fulbright Visiting Scholars meet each other for the first time
November 8: Fulbright Scholars rolled up their sleeves and got to work painting Winthrop public school with the help of Publicolor, a local nonprofit that transforms under-funded inner-city schools into vibrant engaging spaces for children. Volunteer Scholars were paired with students to make Winthrop’s halls come to life by painting the walls with a student-chosen color scheme. Students taught scholars painting techniques and scholars had the chance to be mentors and role models, if only for a brief moment. A Visiting Scholar from the U.K commented, “My student was initially very shy, and a little disengaged, but we became very good friends during the day. We spoke about going to college, work, future aspirations, gym, sports, music, school in America and U.K., and family.” After a day of hard work, scholars felt rewarded by the relationships they built with local students.
Publicolor student helps British scholar, Amakai Kefas learn to properly use the pain roller
Turkish scholar, Asli Ozyar, has a conversation with a Publicolor student while painting the hallway at Winthrop