The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Each year Vassar College supports as many as 40+ applicants for Fulbright Grants. Vassar College will forward to the Fulbright Commission all appropriately completed applications for a Fulbright award. Recipients are chosen by the National Screening Committee.
Mendel Jimenez '20, France I propose to research how selected French playwrights adapted the tragedies of Euripides, specifically along religious lines, during the Enlightenment. My research will be a part of a Master's degree program at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France. Euripides's plays have inspired questions about religion and its role in society and life since they were first performed in ancient Athens. My reception study will have implications for the intellectual roots of French secularism by tracing the flow of thought between Euripides and French playwrights during the Enlightenment. The theater's historical connection to democracy and its ability to portray and propose solutions to societal problems will inform my research and the conversations I have in Lyon, where I will volunteer in cultural institutions that foster mutual understanding and shared values. When I attend law school to become a scholar on the law of religion and state in the United States, my research will give me a unique perspective on the historical roots and development of secular ideas that have ultimately influenced the law. I will use my learning in both academic and social contexts in Lyon to better understand the complicated issues that involve religion and the state today.
Samuel O’Keefe '20, ETA Cambodia An ETA position in Cambodia would help me begin answering a question that will underpin my career in health diplomacy: how can I use my yearning to address social injustices abroad in culturally sensitive ways? As an ETA, I would fulfill a core part of Cambodia's national interest: diminishing the skills gap in the country and encouraging secondary school graduates to enter higher education to further economic development; I would contribute to the education sector in a hands-on way, and importantly promote access to the country's development and opportunities to students, while developing in them some of the tools and motivation they can use to become leaders, and potentially educators, in their own communities and society. This experience would also widen the geographic scope of a gratifying cultural exchange I began in Cambodia, allowing me to cultivate meaningful relationships that provide me important knowledge on Cambodian culture that I would bring back with me to the U.S. Sharing this knowledge in my social and professional spheres would fulfill my desire to increase awareness of the country in the U.S., where it and its culture receive scant media and political attention; my efforts could thus have implications for improving U.S.-Cambodia relations.
Sarah Rivers '20, India I propose to travel to India to do a comparative study of theatre-makers promoting social change. I intend to build on the research of sociologist Sarah Thornton, who has identified three distinct categories of Theatre for Social Change (TfSC) currently in use: Protest Performance, Participatory TfSC and Professional TfSC (2012). I plan to explore the extent to which this framework applies to current theatre work in India and compare the qualities of the different companies within each category. I plan to assess the structure of the company, their methods, aesthetics, and the content of their work. I am also interested in what the outcomes of the theatre are. India is a compelling place to study these questions because of its rich history of theatre for the masses and because the nation's religious and cultural diversity has proved fertile ground for conflict resolution through creative means. There has been research on the history of street theatre in India, as well as the effectiveness of "Theatre of the Oppressed" style workshops in rural communities. However, there has been less scholarship comparing the work of different companies or outcomes within communities. My research is intended to build that literature base.