Contact: Michael Padilla, 277-1816

Jan. 31, 2001

Four UNM Faculty named to Fulbright Scholar Program

Four faculty members from the University of New Mexico have been named to the Fulbright International Education Exchange Program for 2000-2001. They are Elen May Feinberg, Peter J. Smith, James L. Thorson and Samuel Jefferson Truett.

Feinberg, professor of art and art history, visited various institutions in Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt and Munich Germany as part of her exchange program. She presented “History and Memory: Jewish Past and Present in Germany.” Her Fulbright Scholar’s award was through the Deutsch-Amerikanische Fulbright-Kommission.

“My experience as a Fulbrighter was enriching and stimulating beyond measure,” said Feinberg. “It expanded my thinking and my knowledge about issues related to Jews in Germany, to history, to the resistance movement, and to the notion of memory and how memory is affected by history, in ways that I could never have otherwise experienced. It was one of the most revelatory experiences I have ever had, both intellectually and spiritually.”

Smith, professor in the Department of Art Education, Division of Educational Specialties, conducted research in art education and multiculturalism in England from an American perspective at De Montfort University.

Thorson, professor of English, is currently teaching American Literature at the University of Hall-Wittenberg in Halle, Germany. Thorson said he is enjoying his time in Germany. The first semester is just coming to an end and the second semester begins April 14. He said he is hoping to explore some of the Martin Luther sights in the nearby vicinity of Halle during the break.

Truett, assistant professor of history, is teaching in the North American Studies program at the University of Tampere, Finland. Truett said he is learning from Finnish scholars and students. “I hope to return to the United States with new conceptual tools for thinking about the North American past,” he said. “The Finns have a strong sense of the West through Hollywood and popular culture. Students are especially hungry for history from the Native American perspective, and have an image of the United States as a place of remarkable diversity, yet with a strong legacy of conquest and inequality.

“The Fulbright program offers a valuable chance to learn about other cultures,” Truett said. “In the process, I have also learned a lot about my own culture. I encourage others to seek out similar opportunities, and strongly urge them to put Finland at the top of their list of destinations.”

This year, approximately 800 United States faculty and professionals received Fulbright grants to lecture or conduct research in 140 countries around the world. A similar number of foreign visiting scholars received awards to come to the United States, primarily as researchers. The awards are highly competitive, and to date, approximately 72,000 U.S. and foreign scholars have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.

Grants are awarded to American students, teachers and scholars to study, teach, lecture and conduct research abroad and to foreign nationals to engage in similar activities in the United States. Individuals are selected on the basis of academic or professional qualifications and potential plus the ability and willingness to share ideas and experiences with people of diverse cultures.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the Congress to the United States Information Agency. Participating governments and host institutions in many countries and in the United States also contribute financially through cost-sharing, as well as by indirect support such as salary supplements, tuition waivers, university housing and other benefits.


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