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Fulbright Forward - A Diversity Podcast
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Fulbright Forward - A Diversity Podcast

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This podcast features alums of the Fulbright Program who talk about their work and research, about regional and local ramifications of global diversity-related issues, and the impact their Fulbright experience has had on their personal and professional growth. Episodes will also feature advocates and professionals from diverse communities working towards greater inclusion in higher education/educational exchange. Please note: The views expressed in this interview series are entirely those of participants, and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.
18 Episodes
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In this episode of Fulbright Forward, Jeremy Gombin-Sperling, the Fulbright Diversity and Inclusion Liaison for Western Hemisphere Programs continues the conversation on English and language teaching in the Western Hemisphere with Bilingual Educator and alumna of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in Ecuador, Meilin Chong. During the episode, Meilin shares how her experiences as a biracial Latina woman  of Peruvian and Chinese heritage have informed how she understands the world, and the changes she believes need to happen in order to create more inclusive and equitable spaces for folks of color, as well as multiracial and multilingual communities. Part of this discussion also revolves around a concept that Meilin introduces early on, the idea of "I refuse to choose." While this idea originally stems from a book by Barbara Shur of the same name on career development, our conversation takes the idea to more complex understandings. As Meilin will discuss, "refuse to choose" can also be about interrupting power such as in breaking assumptions abroad that the only people who can claim to be from the United States and/or teach English are white, or as she has done in her teaching, fostering spaces where young children of color from linguistic backgrounds others than English can celebrate and be celebrated for the many languages and cultures that make them who they are. See below for resources and references discussed in the podcast episode:Barbara Shur: Refuse to Choose Overview of Bilingual Education in the United States"Color Esperanza" by Diego TorresArticle exploring socioeconomic impacts of white families on bilingual immersion programs in U.S. Blog article on  intercultural bilingual education in Latin America (Spanish)
In this episode, Lithuanian author, historian and activist Dalia Leinarte and Susanne Hamscha, EUR Diversity Coordinator, talk about feminism and women's rights in the Soviet Union and the Post-Soviet space. Dalia experienced the former Soviet Union as an insider and and met the restoration of the Independence of Lithuania as a young woman. Dalia interviewed a large number of women and wrote the oral history book, Adopting and Remembering Soviet Reality: Life Stories of Lithuanian Women, 1945–1970 (Rodopi, 2010), which is referenced in this episode. Dalia is a current member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She held a Fulbright scholar grant in 2002-03.Please note: Dalia uses both "LGBTIQ" and "LBTIQ" in the podcast as the acronym LBTIQ is officially used in the context of CEDAW.
In this episode of Fulbright Forward, Fulbright Americas Diversity and Inclusion Liaison speaks with U.S. ETA alum to Guatemala, Jonathan Peraza Campos about the critical need to redefine and reimagine how folks from the United States conduct English teaching abroad, in particular within Latin America and the Caribbean. As Jonathan shares in the episode, this is about disrupting “perceptions that the United States is a white, wealthy, and perfect English-speaking country by exposing [students] to the multiracial, multicultural, and multilingual diversity and history of the U.S.”  Through this discussion we reflect on how Jonathan navigated his ETA-ship, how he implemented a critical English-teaching praxis with his students, and what any of us can do to move us towards a more politically conscious English teaching world where the full humanity of our students and ourselves is celebrated, and exclusionary narratives are questioned and dismantled. Jonathan Peraza Campos, a U.S. Salvadoran/Guatemalan educator, organizer, abolitionist thinker, and Central American scholar whose work focuses on organizing around racial, immigrant, and educational justice, on providing a critical and multifaceted education to Latinx youth throughout the Atlanta metro area, and to building bridges built on solidarity and connection between communities in Central America and U.S. Central Americans. To learn more about Jonathan and the work in which he is involved, check out the links below:Activist in Residence with Abolitionist Teaching NetworkLead Teacher with Ser Familia Inc. Migration News Curator with Central American NewsOrganizer with the Buford Highway People’s HubLinks to work by scholars and activists mentioned in the episode:Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching  by Dr. Suhanthie MothaWebsite of Dr. Bettina LoveDiscussion on the four part equity framework designed by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad Website of Dr. Christopher Emdin 
In this episode, Sandra Eder (Berkeley University), Daniela Jauk (University of Akron), Simone Poetscher (OSTA), and Susanne Hamscha (Regional Diversity Coordinator EUR) talk about gender equality and higher education in the US and Austria. Sandra and Daniela share how gender, class, and age factored into their career decisions, while Simone speaks from her rich experience of working with researchers and scientists. Sandra Eder and Daniela Jauk are both alums of Fulbright Austria; Simone collaborates with Fulbright in her capacity at OSTA and is also Connector in Chief at Thrycon.Useful Links and Resources mentioned in the Podcast:Elsevier Report Stride program, University of Michigan Gendered Innovations @ StanfordFaculty Activity/Workload dashboards Joya Misra on Inside Higher Ed Zippel, Kathrin. Women in Global Science: Advancing Academic Careers through International Collaboration. Stanford University Press, 2017.De Welde, Kris. 2017. "Moving the Needle on Equity and Inclusion." Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 1 (39): 192-211. Sociologists for Women in Society
CW // This podcast contains discussion of violence, gun violence The Black Lives Matter movement, while initiated in response to the state of racial relations in the United States, has reverberated in societies around the world. With the growing awareness of the global relevance of the movement, the call to address the historical roots and realities of  contemporary violence and discrimination has also been taken up around  Asia and the Pacific. This has started to facilitate difficult but necessary conversations about race and systemic forms of discrimination, and underscored the need for building solidarity between communities who have been marginalized on the basis of their identities in order to combat racism. This episode features Guled Mire, a Black Muslim activist and Fulbright Scholar from Aotearoa New Zealand. Guled is young leader and community advocate who is passionate about advancing and encouraging the social well-being and inclusion of New Zealand’s ethnic and former refugee communities. In our conversation, Guled shares his experiences of growing up Black in New Zealand and his role as an advocate for New Zealand’s Muslim community.  As an organizer of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Pacific, he reflects on the challenges and potentials of addressing racial issues in the context of the region, and how his identity has shaped not only his activism but also his experiences as a Fulbright Scholar studying in the US.You can follow Guled's work on his Twitter account. Further reading: Why I spoke up about racism after March 15th, and why others should too. Guled Mire, The Spinoff, August 31st 2020. Black Lives Matter.com: Herstory. George Floyd Death: Pacific Peoples in NZ Raise Their Voice After Black Lives Matter Protest, New Zealand Herald, June 4th 2020. Supporting Black Lives Matter In Asia. Nithin Coca, Medium.com: Asia Uncovered, August 18th, 2020.
Hera Jay Brown, a Fulbright-Schuman alum, and Susanne Hamscha, EUR Regional Diversity Coordinator, discuss the European Union's position on migration in this episode. What is the human cost of "fortress Europe," as the EU's response to migration is sometimes referred to? Why does it matter how we talk about migration and people who migrate? And which role does compassion play in this context, particularly during this pandemic? These are some of the questions Hera tackles in this episode. Hera Jay Brown was a Fulbright-Schuman grantee to Belgium, Malta, and Lithuania in 2019-20 and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 2020.
In this episode of Fulbright Forward, Fulbright alumna of the U.S. Student Program to Jamaica, Abigail Ramsay, helps us explore the power of theater and storytelling in ways that go beyond entertainment. Through a rich sharing of her experiences in Jamaica and beyond, Abigail shares how theater and storytelling can be and perhaps should be seen more as mediums for critical community building that help individuals, especially those damaged by structural marginalization and oppression, heal their trauma, realize their power, and more readily reimagine a more just future. We also learn more about Abigail, and how her experience as a Black Jamaican American woman first born in London and raised in New York City, with original expectations to go into the sciences, found herself in Jamaica and all the things she learned from that time abroad. Check out links below to Abigail's project, Downtown Girls Theatre Collective! Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/downtowngirlstheatre/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/downtowngirlstheatre/
Fulbright Bulgaria alum Chris Curran and Susanne Hamscha, EUR Regional Diversity Coordinator, talk about the discrimination of Roma communities in Europe and in Bulgaria, in particular. Chris shares about his work with the Trust for Social Achievement, which seeks to improve access to housing and education for Roma people in Bulgaria. Chris also talks about how his job as an immigrants rights lawyer has helped him contextualize his experiences in Bulgaria, and he explains why he decided to leave his job and apply for a Fulbright grant. Chris was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2018-19. He serves as the Queer History and Education Coordinator for Fulbright Prism. For more information about the Council of Europe's stategy for Roma inclusion, visit https://www.coe.int/en/web/roma-and-travellers/homeTo learn more about "Gelem, Gelem," the "Roma anthem" Chris references in this episode, read Petra Gelbart's piece "The Romani Anthem as a Microcosm of Diversity."
Traveling social worker Sojourner White and Susanne Hamscha, EUR Regional Diversity Coordinator, talk about unpacking and navigating one's social identities abroad, reflecting on discrimination and privilege, and translating experience into action. Sojourner is the founder and creator of Sojournies, a travel education platform. She was a Fulbright ETA in Spain in 2016-17.
Similarly to many countries in the Western Hemisphere, the history of feminism in Brazil has been about moving towards a politic that centers and acknowledges how systems of oppression such as racism and classism impact and intersect with the violent sexism that encompasses the struggle of feminist action and thought, and towards a politic that captures the lived experience of cis and trans women of color at the margins of  Brazilian society. How, though, has this struggle played out on an individual and interpersonal level for women in Brazil, especially those who identify with the feminist movement? In this episode of Fulbright Forward, Jeremy Gombin-Sperling, Fulbright Americas Diversity and Inclusion Liaison, speaks with Fulbright Brazil alumna, Dr. Sandra Azeredo. During the episode, Sandra shares about the importance of a critical feminist perspective, the past and current context of feminism in Brazil vis-a-vis the relationship between Black and white women, the role of academia, and as we will learn, how her own story as a multiracial Black woman has impacted her journey. Below is a list of resources referenced in the episode:  "For an Afro-Latin American Feminism" by Lélia Gonzalez: http://feministarchives.isiswomen.org/47-books/confronting-the-crisis-in-latin-america-women-organizing-for-change/828-for-an-afro-latin-american-feminism The Syllabus of Sandra's Course, "Gender and Race in Brazil": https://www.umass.edu/wgss/sites/default/files/assets/wgss/azeredo_-_wgss_694b_-_fall_2016.pdfMore on the Elections of Black Queer and Trans Candidates to City Councils in Brazil: https://www.them.us/story/marielle-francos-widow-monica-benicio-elected-city-council-rio-brazil More on the U.S. Black Writer, Nella Larsen: https://interactive.wttw.com/playlist/2020/07/17/nella-larsen
Ronda Železný-Green, a digital learning and technology policy expert, and EUR Diversity Coordinator Susanne Hamscha talk about the intersection of race and gender in (higher) education, technology as a tool for achieving  equality, and the underrepresentation of women of color in higher education in the UK. Ronda acts as a consultant to the US-UK Fulbright Commission and from 2013-14, she held a US Fulbright Student Grant to conduct research for her PhD in Kenya.
“Ni una menos, ni una muerte más.” Not one woman less, not one more death. This phrase has functioned as one of the slogans both through social media and political discourse in the movement to fight gender-based violence, and to protect the lives of trans and cisgender women across Latin America. From its start in Argentina in 2015, ni una menos capture the ongoing struggle for gender equity and to change the gendered structures of power. In this episode of Fulbright Forward, Jeremy Gombin-Sperling, Fulbright Americas Diversity and Inclusion Liaison, speaks with Fulbright Argentina alumna, Dr. Guadalupe Maradei about recent feminist movements in Argentina and Latin America, and about how literature and literary criticism have contributed to the struggle for gender justice. Throughout the episode, Dr. Maradei references several events, artists, activists, and scholars involved in feminist movements. Please find a list of resources below:Mariela Gouiric and her poem “Ley 26.485”: https://vimeo.com/110463794“La Tesis” in Santiago, Chile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB7r6hdo3W4Rita Laura Segato, “La escritura en el cuerpo de las mujeres asesinadas en Ciudad Juárez: territorio, soberanía, y crímenes de segundo estado: http://www.debatefeminista.pueg.unam.mx/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/articulos/037_05.pdf Feminist History of Literature Project in Argentina: https://www.eduvim.com.ar/blog/proyecto-historia-feminista-de-la-literatura-argentina Article on the Approved Abortion Law in Argentina: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/30/argentina-legalises-abortion-in-landmark-moment-for-womens-rights 
Barriers to education still remain across the Asia-Pacific region for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, and those from minority and marginalized communities. In this episode, we speak with Anggiasari Puji Aryati, a politician and activist working for gender equality and disability rights, and Ajeng Herliyanti, a mental health provider, yoga teacher, and gender activist.  Ajeng and Anggi share their personal experiences in pursuing their educational goals as members of minority communities in Indonesia. We get their take on how educational exchange programs can be more inclusive in the context of the region. 
In this episode, Czeslaw Walek, alumnus of the Czech Fulbright Commission, and EUR Diversity Coordinator Susanne Hamscha talk about LGBTQ equality, same-sex marriage in the Czech Republic, and  the LGBTQ rights movements in the US and in Europe. Czeslaw is the Chairman of Prague Pride and manager of Jsme Fér ("we are fair").
In this special episode, the Regional Diversity Coordinators Jeremy Gombin-Sperling (WHA), Kelli Swazey (EAP), and Susanne Hamscha (EUR) talk about their passion for diversity and inclusion work, the personal and professional experiences that led them to pursue a career in this field in the first place, and how they hope to contribute to moving Fulbright forward.
In this episode, Fulbright Germany alumnus Kenny Fries and EUR Diversity Coordinator Susanne Hamscha talk about disability and eugenic discourses during the Third Reich, when disabled people were systematically murdered in the campaign "Aktion T4." But eugenic discourses are alive and well, as Kenny explains with reference to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenny Fries is an acclaimed writer and received a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Grant in 2017 for his creative nonfiction work on disability in Germany.
In this episode, Fulbright Poland alumna Margaret Ohia-Nowak and EUR Diversity Coordinator Susanne Hamscha talk about the representation of Black Polish people in texts and images, discursive discrimination and microaggressions, as well as Black activism in Poland. Margaret Ohia-Nowak is a linguist, human rights activist, and cross-cultural training facilitator. She received a Fulbright grant to conduct research for her dissertation at UC Berkeley  (2012-2014). Her research focuses on the manifestation of racism against black people in language and discourse.
In this episode,  Fulbright Austria alumna Astrid M. Fellner and EUR Diversity Coordinator Susanne Hamscha talk about European and US borderlands,  the symbolic power of borders, and borders in times of Covid-19.Astrid M. Fellner is professor for North American Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University, Germany. She received a Fulbright grant to study at the University of Texas at Austin (1991-92). Astrid's research focuses on Border Studies and U.S. Latino/a literature.
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