Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fulbright Association Conference, Oxford excursion

BFSA Annual Lecture, Sir John Holmes: "When Can Intervention be Justified?"

lunch at Kellogg College

afternoon tea at Pembroke College

after tea we listened to the choir rehearse for evensong service. extraordinary
Radcliffe Camera

a movie being filmed ... necessitates a detour to the pub

at the 600-year-old Turf Tavern

Fulbright Association Conference, Moldova panels

another paper about Moldova! presented by a professor from the Academia de Studii Economice din Moldova (ASEM)

The theme of the Fulbright Association conference was "Fulbrighters Minding the Gaps (and Bridging Them)." In addition to the plenary panel sessions, keynote luncheon speakers, and other conference events (such as a reception at the US Embassy), there were a number of breakout sessions and paper presentations.

Much to my pleasant surprise, mine was not the only paper about Moldova!  And my paper was not included on a panel about Moldova, but one titled "Creating East/West Understanding of Human Rights Issues through Classroom Linking via Technology."

My paper, "Moldovan-US Educational Bridge: Providing Collaborative Research Opportunities or US and Moldovan Students," detailed the collaborative teaching and research experiment in long-distance civic engagement among my students at USF St. Petersburg and my colleague Dr. Svetlana Suveica's students at the American Studies Center at Moldova State University on the issue of human trafficking. We developed a project plan to promote engagement not only among students of different cultures, countries and languages but also with global community partners such as NGO's, Peace Corps Volunteers, local law enforcement, student organizations, and governmental agencies both in Moldova and in the US. Throughout the 10-week period of research collaboration, students met using technology and social networking tools to engage effectively.  We discussed the logistics of designing a course to create a global classroom that fosters an understanding of a complex social issue leading to students' engagement.

I appreciated the turnout for our presentation. Lots of engaging, interesting questions
At the closing banquet with new friends from/working on a project with the Roma population in Cluj, Romania

Fulbright Association Conference, "Live from London!"

One of my fellow panelists from the Fulbright conference invited me to participate in a roundtable discussion that she was organizing on the eve of the conference: "Live from London" -- a videoconference event for her university about the Fulbright program.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in another panel, maximizing my time spent at this international conference. 

Our panel included Lucas who was part of the teacher exchange program in Hungary, Anne-Marie who was a graduate research student in Russia, Judith (the organizer) a distinguished professor who had two traditional Fulbright scholar awards (Egypt and Turkey), and me (a traditional Fulbright scholar award) on the panel in London -- and then the point person on the ground in St Louis participated in a Fulbright-Hayes program in Brazil.

our panel gets organized in the conference hotel in London

the audience assembles in St. Louis

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fulbright Association Conference, London!

the queue of Royal Fusiliers waiting in line to view the debate in the House of Commons
The first thing I did after I landed was to head to Parliament. I have traveled to London several times, but I never had the opportunity to observe the House of Commons or the House of Lords from the galleries. This, I was determined to do on this trip.

Much to my dismay, I arrived at Westminster to find a massive demonstration of Royal Fusiliers protesting cuts to the regiment. These photos are of the queue of soldiers waiting to get in to the gallery.

I loved to see "democracy in action" and citizens coming to voice protest in the Parliament on the day I arrived....but my heart sank when I saw this long line. (This was the one opportunity I would have to visit Parliament during the conference.) I was told to come back again in the afternoon.

I decided to go see the London Eye and to have lunch while I waited for an opportunity to visit Parliament.

I was thrilled that when I returned, I was given a pass to see the House of Lords. I think you can see I am just beaming in this picture, with my Visitor credential, despite how exhausted I was from the overnight travel to London.

I was so excited to be climbing the narrow staircase as I was heading up to the "strangers" gallery. I wanted to stop and look at all of the pictures on the walls, but I was eager to get into the gallery and listen to the debate.

In the House of Lords, the debate centered around education policy. Many of the same concepts and ideas that are discussed at home surfaced in this debate (class size, IB programs, etc.).  One thing I was not expecting was to recognize any of the Lords.  In fact, my eyes scanned the chamber, I saw that Andrew Lloyd Weber was participating in the debate!  I inquired in the cloakroom whether he comes often. I was told that I was very lucky to have seen him but that he does try to attend whenever anything related to the arts in education may be discussed.

I didn't stay too long, for I was anxious to have the opportunity to visit the House of Commons as well.  As it turned out, the debate about the Fusiliers was still raging. This provided an opportunity to visit the House of Commons gift shop (yes! refrigerator magnets for my collection) and to have tea and scones (with clotted cream) as I waited. In the cafe it was possible to watch the debates on closed circuit TVs  My patience and persistence finally paid off, and I was able to get to the House of Commons gallery before I had to leave for the conference.

I was glad I had the opportunity to visit each chamber in person. So much different from when I watch the Prime Minister's Question Time on C-Span. And the chambers provide quite a stark contrast. The House of Commons seems barren and plain compared with the Lords.  Also, there is a great glass wall that divides the House of Commons gallery -- so that those in the gallery cannot throw things at their MPs. (There was no such barrier in the Lords)  It was off-putting, to say the least. (And we all had gone through airport-type security screening prior to entering the complex and then had to leave all bags, packages, coats in the cloakroom. I don't know what could possibly be left to throw at an MP?)

By the time I arrived, the debate had moved on to the use of wiretap evidence by the courts. And I was horrified that the U.S. was used as an example of why this evidence should be used without restrictions (in the context of fighting the War on Terror)....without reference to the 4th Amendment or any of our caselaw about domestic use of wiretapping. Good thing they had that glass wall so that I would not be tempted to throw down a pocket copy of the US Constitution and engage him in a discussion about unreasonable searches and seizures.

You can learn more about the debates here:

Debate in House of Commons about 2nd battalion of fusiliers

Debate in the House of Lords about education

Harrod's Food Hall!

tea and crumpets

Study Abroad, Moldova, Spring Break: Secretary Clinton explains why it's a great opportunity!

Published on Nov 13, 2012 by
"At the Department of State, we've always recognized the power of studying abroad to build bridges of understanding."

Secretary Clinton sends her well-wishes to those who are currently on a study abroad program, and encourages those who are not yet to "stretch your boundaries, imaginations and set off on your own adventure."

The U.S. Department of State offers many study abroad programs for both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens to explore and expand their world.

"This year nearly 300,000 Americans will study somewhere outside our borders and nearly 1 million students will come to the United States for a world class education. These numbers tell us an exciting story. Even in an age when we can takes a virtual trip to far flung places just by clicking a mouse we still want to see the world for ourselves and discover our common bonds first hand. At the Department of State we've always recognized the power of studying abroad to build bridges of understanding. That's why we created the Fulbright program in 1946. Today it is stronger than ever with thousands of scholars travelling to and from over 150 counties. For those of you already pursuing an education abroad I'm very grateful and wish you well. The ties of friendship and understanding your building are the most effective forms of diplomacy; they truly will help shape our common future. And to those students who have yet to study abroad, I urge you to stretch your boundaries and your imaginations and set off on your own adventures. Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding and enlightening experiences of your life and I hope that you will take advantage of every opportunity available. Thank you and safe travels!"

Secretary Clinton's Remarks on International Education: Study Abroad!

Monday, November 12, 2012

USF World Fulbright Breakfast, International Week 2012

USF President Judy Genshaft, Carnegie Fellow Larisa Patlis, former USF President and current Fulbright Board Member Betty Castor, and me

This year I was delighted to bring Carnegie Fellow Larisa Patlis with me to the Fulbright Breakfast at USF Tampa.  Hosted by USF World during International Month, this event recognizes Fulbrighters from and hosted by USF.

We were able to connect with a colleague from USF Tampa's political science department/Russian and Eurasian Studies Program (who had been a Fulbrighter to Russia) and discuss with him Larisa's research project.  I was able to connect with the central Florida Fulbright Association president (who is from USF Tampa). And I was able to introduce Larisa to USF President Judy Genshaft and to former president and Fulbright Board Member Betty Castor.

After the breakfast we made our way to Tampa International Airport, where we picked up the delegation of Australian political leaders I was hosting in conjunction with the State Department and the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
For more about  USF World click here
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Monday, November 5, 2012

EXPLORE MOLDOVA presentation: November 14 at USFSP

Please join us at USFSP on Wednesday, November 14 from 12 to 1 pm for an encore presentation of "Explore Moldova!"

Larisa Patlis, Carnegie Fellow at USFSP and professor at ULIM in Chisinau, will deliver a presentation about Moldova's history, politics, and culture. 

I will share information about the Spring Break 2013 course.