Friday, June 8, 2012

Humphrey Fellows at VTLCI


Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute is currently hosting fifteen international Fulbright scholars who are participating in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Long Term English Training Program. Fourteen countries are represented, including Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Panama, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela. At the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute, the Fellows are working diligently to refine their academic language skills. Their curriculum includes content-based instruction on intercultural development, conflict resolution and leadership skills. In addition to their formal coursework at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute, the Fellows have participated in volunteer activities in the Blacksburg community and in classes on the Virginia Tech campus.

In the community, the Fellows recently volunteered at Micah’s Backpack, preparing meals for students and families who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. The Fellows joined other volunteers who gather every Thursday evening at St. Michael Lutheran Church to help package meals for students.  Not only did the Fellows enjoy packing meals, but they also benefited from engaging in conversation with local volunteers dedicated to running Micah’s Backpack. 

 Humphrey Fellows volunteer at Micah’s Backpack

On campus, the Fellows participated in Professor Eric Kaufman’s course on Leadership in a Global Society. The Fellows interacted with students in a discussion on the personal and professional competencies required for effective leadership in a global, diverse and, multicultural society. The Fellows also participated in Professor Elizabeth Fine’s course on Multicultural Communication. Professor Fine’s students engaged with the Fellows on topics related to communication, including the process of exchanging meaningful information across cultural boundaries in a way that preserves mutual respect. 

At the end of the training program, the Fellows will move on to host universities, including American University, Arizona State University, Cornell University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, Tulane University, and the University of Minnesota.  At these locations, they will further their own research projects in diverse areas, including agriculture and rural development, environmental policy, HIV/AIDS policy and prevention, human rights, and journalism.  The Fellows will engage in professional networking activities and non-degree graduate level study in order to obtain expertise that will be applied and adapted in their respective countries.

The Fellows will be on the Virginia Tech main campus through August 2012. Invitations to visit classes, departments, businesses and government offices are welcome and should be directed to program director Robert (Bert) Wilson at rwwilson@vt.edu or 540-231-5730.

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