Record Number of Boston University Professors Serve as Fulbright Scholars

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

(Boston, Mass.) — Boston University has 10 professors serving as Fulbright Scholars this 2003-2004 academic year, its most ever. As participants in the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange, they’ve been sent as academic ambassadors to the corners of the world — Ireland, Russia, Austria, Mexico, Germany, Uganda, Senegal, Kuwait, and two to China.

For some, it has been a once-in-a-career chance to delve into primary source research material. For others, it is an eye-opening personal journey of cultural understanding. All have joined the more than 98,000 academics who have benefited from the “Fulbright experience” since the program was launched in 1946 as a post-World War II effort by Senator J. William Fulbright to promote “mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries of the world.”

“Cultural empathy is particularly constructive in these post 9/11 times, and the Fulbright scholar program embodies the hopeful concept that one person can make a difference,” said Boston University President ad interim Aram Chobanian.

This year, some 800 U.S. faculty and professionals received Fulbright grants to lecture and conduct research from two months to a full year abroad in more than 140 countries. The number from Boston University was topped only by the 15 at Penn State. In addition, BU is hosting Fulbright international scholars from Spain, Vietnam, Israel, and Thailand, and has sent graduate students to Zambia, Romania, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands under a Fulbright fellowship program.

“We are pleased to have so many Boston University faculty winning these prestigious awards, and to be selected for visits by distinguished scholars from abroad for work that contributes importantly to international cooperation and understanding,” said University Provost Dennis D, Berkey, who noted that professors apply for Fulbrights independently.

BU Philosophy Department Professor Juliet Floyd, for example, spent the winter in Vienna immersed in documentation about the Vienna Circle, the philosophical group that helped shape 20th Century Anglo-American philosophy. “I am now writing a book on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Kurt Goedel, two of the most powerful critics and inspirers of the Circle,” she said, “and it was especially important to gain local knowledge of the social and political background within which they worked.”

Associate Professor Janice M. Barrett of the Department of Mass Communication, Public Relations, and Advertising, said it’s been a “life-transforming experience” spending this year at Ireland’s Dublin City University examining media coverage of the Northern Ireland conflict and peace process, and forms of political communication used by policy makers involved. Using this as a case study, she hopes to help find lessons for understanding and resolving regional, ethnic, and religious conflicts elsewhere. “To gain significant insights into the political communication process, I have been afforded extraordinary access to interview prominent Irish leaders, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, prominent journalists, and other academics,” she said. “I also have found most enriching the valuable insights of my Irish colleagues and their willingness to share their understanding of their country.”

Long-time BU Journalism Department Professor Nancy L. Day used her stint in Moscow last summer giving Russian students a sense of American-style press freedoms. “The deans wanted me to teach ‘watchdog journalism’ and investigative journalism, but Russia’s government system is still one of central power and connections rather than the strong checks and balances of U.S. democracy. I explained our concepts and practices in the hope that, when these students are leaders of the next generation of journalists, they can advocate for such measures as our Freedom of Information Act,” said Day, who was recently named head of the Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago.

BU Law Professor Daniel Gordon Partan spent the fall and winter lecturing to “highly motivated Chinese graduate students” at Tsinghua University in Beijing on comparative foreign trade regulation and integration of international law into domestic law. His personal high point, however, was joining his wife to climb the sacred mountain of Tai Shan to witness sunrise on October 1st, China’s National Day. “The scene at the summit was one of joyful camaraderie,” he said, “especially among the large numbers of young people who had spent the night huddled in greatcoats awaiting sunrise. We have rarely experienced such outpourings of friendly enthusiasm.”

Other 2003-2004 Fulbright scholars from Boston University include:
•Associate Professor Anne Donohue, Journalism Department, is lecturing this semester at East China Normal University in Shanghai on broadcast and electronic media journalism.
•College of Arts and Sciences Lecturer Katherine Johnson is spending the year researching culture and migration at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
•Eric C. Jones, resident coordinator of the BU International Honors Program gave seminars last summer for the U.S.-Germany International Education Administrators Program at the German Fulbright Commission in Berlin.
•Department of Film and Television Associate Professor Sam H. Kauffmann is lecturing this semester on video production and producing a documentary on AIDS orphans, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
•Research Fellow Jeanne Ellen Koopman of BU’s African Studies Center spent the fall and winter at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, lecturing on environmental economics and participating in smallholder irrigation projects.
•College of Fine Arts Assistant Professor Lisa A. Urkevich is spending the year at Kuwait University researching the musical culture of the Arabian Peninsula.

International Fulbright scholars spending all or part of this academic year at BU include:
•Bianca Deusdad Ayala, a post-doctoral researcher from the University of Barcelona, researching political charisma in Western democracies.
•Giao Ngoc Hoang, senior lecturer and vice director of the Center for Legal Research and Services at Vietnam National University in Hanoi, researching state sovereignty in contemporary public international law.
•Dr. Diego Holstein, an instructor in the Department of History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, researching Toledo in the Mozarab Era of the 12th and 13th Centuries.
•Jiarach Srijunnagam, a lecturer in the Department of Biology at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, researching “Effect of crude extract from Mucuna Marocarpa on gonadal structure and function of the Nile Tilapia Oreochromis Niloticus.”

Boston University graduate students participating in Fulbright fellowships abroad this year include Christopher M. Annear, studying anthropology in Zambia; Corneliu N. Marian, studing economics in Romania; Maureen M. Minder, teaching English as a foreign language in Germany; Natasha T. Seaman, studying art and architectural history in the Netherlands; and Christal K. Whelan, studying anthropology in Japan.

Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges. The University offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering, and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.