Category Archives: Fulbright

The human chain for Beirut. We all can help

FULBRIGHT CHICAGO WOULD LIKE to extend our heartfelt condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy in Beirut. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fulbright alumni, students, their families and friends, and the people of Lebanon.

Cyril Bassil, a Fulbright grantee (2015-2017) who pursued an MFA in Cinema Directing at Columbia College Chicago has reached out to us. “I’m currently writing to you with my bruised hands, bruised from the explosion that occurred in Beirut four days ago. I was at my office in Beirut Digital District when the explosion occurred and was catapulted a few meters further into the office. This being said, now is time to hold hands and help Beirut rise again and hopefully walk towards a new day and a new system for the country.”

Bassil, along with others have started working on the ground, cleaning houses, searching for suppliers, distributing Covid-19 preventive supplies, helping families reconnect with relatives. They have set up the Human Chain for Beirut, a GoFundMe to fundraise money and contribute to the rebuilding of the city.

Our local Fulbright Association chapter is also here for our fellow Fulbrighters of Lebanon in the Chicago community. If you are able to aid in a relief effort for the people of Beirut, and find out more information on how to help, please do so here.

Illustration with photo by Freimut Bahlo

Condensed information on the international students current status

THIS PAST JULY 20th, 2020, immigration lawyer Don Garner offered a webinar to the Fulbright community to explain the current status of international fellows  conducting studies in the United States.

Mr. Garner generously shared his presentation with us so we can learn more about the situation and share it with others who could not attend his webinar.

To see the presentation Power Point, click New Immigration Constraints for Students.

Mr. Garner is President of the LL.M. Law Group, and Past President and current Consular Corps Liaison of the Fulbright Association-Chicago Chapter.

 

Webinar: What the new immigration constraints are? How they will affect foreign students?

OVER THE LAST SEVERAL months, President Trump announced a new set of restrictions for international students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the recent lifting of the immigration ban for international students to pursue studies under the online mode delivery, the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association is hosting a webinar for any questions that may remain.

Don Garner, left, President of the LL.M. Law Group, will discuss these new restrictions, what they are and how they will impact international students. Mr. Garner is Past President and current Consular Corps Liaison of the Fulbright Association-Chicago Chapter.

This webinar, presented via Zoom, will allow for a discussion followed by Q&A.

WHAT New Immigration Constraints for Students: What They Are and How They Will Affect Foreign Students

WHEN Tuesday, July 21, 2020

TIME 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Central Standard Time

HOW Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83952764641?pwd=dDI1NURXVHhhSHBxaytxVXdUL0didz09

Password: 170963

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13126266799,,83952764641#,,,,0#,,170963#  or +16468769923,,83952764641#,,,,0#,,170963

Dial by your location:
US: +1 312 626 6799
+1 646 876 9923
+1 301 715 8592
+1 669 900 6833
+1 253 215 8782
+1 346 248 7799
+1 408 638 0968

Webinar ID: 839 5276 4641

Password: 170963

International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdO00RgEAt

This webinar is sponsored by the Fulbright Association-Chicago Chapter.

Systemic racism must come to an end

THE CHICAGO CHAPTER OF THE FULBRIGHT ASSOCIATION stands by the words of Senator Fulbright, “To criticize one’s country is to do it a service…criticism, in short, it is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism.” We, the Fulbright community of Chicago, condemn the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black Americans across the United States.

The systemic racism that has permeated our society must come to an end. Our Chicago Chapter is committed to helping build a country and a world where everyone can live with dignity, free from fear.

The call for justice through peaceful protests is a form of freedom of expression that our Fulbright community supports. We embrace the words of Senator Fulbright whose message endorses our belief that “the making of peace is a continuing process that must go on from day to day, from year to year, so long as our civilization shall last.”

Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with our Black Fulbrighters—both current grantees and alumni. As Fulbrighters, we are equipped to collectively raise our voices to support what really matters; in this case, the human rights of our Black American fellows, the improvement of their lives and the social justice they deserve.

—Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Board

 

 

Grad Happy Hour for the Class of 2020!

CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!  The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association invites you to a «Grad Happy Hour» where we will celebrate the newly graduated Fulbrighters and hear the story of returned Fulbrighters who have been supporting the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this special event we will have two guitar performances by Joan Miguel López, Fulbright Alumni from Honduras who got his MEd in Cultural and Educational Policy at Loyola University Chicago, and Walid Elshanshoury, current student from Egypt, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Let’s connect, discuss, and enjoy socializing with our fellow alumni, students, and scholars. Bring your beverage of choice and come join us for an evening of celebration. You can connect from wherever you are!

DATE June 18, 2020
TIME 6:30-8 pm US Central Time

ZOOM Join Zoom Meeting by using this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83018846572?pwd=UDlRU2xHenVTWE9JQ25MdEExaVRrZz09

Meeting ID 830 1884 6572
Password 215710


One tap mobile

+13126266799,,83018846572#,,1#,215710# US (Chicago)
+13017158592,,83018846572#,,1#,215710# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID 830 1884 6572
Password 215710

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbNojelIgq


—> Illustration by Elio Leturia/ flaticon.com

Zoom! A virtual Happy Hour keeps our community together

Virtual Fulbright Chicago Happy Hour, April, 2020

FOLLOWING THE SOCIAL distancing guidelines and our mission to serve the Fulbright community, the Chicago Chapter organized a Happy Hour that took place on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Using the current virtual technologies, Zoom came to the rescue and for 90 minutes, 30 participants, that included alumni, students, scholars and board members of the Fulbright association shared stories and talked about different topics at this time of global isolation.

Among the strongest topics in this online exchange were the current situation of the Fulbright program (after it was suspended) and state of newly returned Fulbright Scholars.

Fulbright Association Executive Director John Bader

Our special guest, John Bader, Executive Director of the Fulbright Association in Washington D.C., addressed the concerns of Fulbrighters and brought hope for the continuation of the Fulbright Program. The Chapter members had the opportunity to address their questions directly to the Director and got firsthand responses.

The discussion continued with topics ranging from mental health during isolation and medical insurance coverage to daily activities of Chapter members. The participants shared stories of their daily lives and how they have coped with the current state of the nation, and also appreciated being able to share and discuss the social aspects which are getting them through these times. The recently published COVID-19 Resource Guide that the Chicago Chapter board produced as an informational support for the local Fulbright community was a great resource which the Fulbrighters used for guidance and actionable information.

“The COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines played an integral role in providing accessible information to our Chapter, but also brought about a way to personally connect and communicate with our Chapter members,” said Dr. Edel Marie Jose, Chicago Chapter president.

There was also conversation about the survey’s results that the association put together to gather information on how to serve our community better.

The attendees are looking forward to another “social” Happy Hour to further discuss life in general among fellow Fulbrighters and enjoy live music performed by their colleagues. 

The board is currently reviewing the scheduling and programming of upcoming events to adjust them to the current situation. We hope that soon we will return to our usual “normal” one way or another, to continue fulfilling our mission, face to face. In the interim, however, we all remain connected.

Happy Hour! Get your glass and device ready!

I’TS TIME TO get social! The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association invites you to a «Happy Hour» where we can connect, discuss, and enjoy socializing with our fellow alumni, students and scholars. Bring your beverage of choice and come join us for an evening of conversation and insightful tips to cope with the COVID-19 situation.


DATE Thursday April 23, 2020
TIME 6:30-8:00pm
CONNECTION Zoom Meeting ID and password have been emailed. Check your emails! If you didn’t get it, email fulbrightchicago@gmail.com


The event will be held via Zoom Conference and we will be discussing the questions posed to the chapter from the recent survey you had all responded to. Please check your emails for the Zoom meeting ID and password. We thank all of you for the great feedback and for connecting with us through the survey. There will be a number of board members attending, and we will open the floor to the discussion of these important topics and continue into the evening with the social hour.

And not to cut the gathering short, the Zoom line will remain open for those who would like to continue socializing and enjoying their beverages throughout the evening.

If you have not had a chance to look over the COVID-19 Resources on the Chicago Chapter website, there is invaluable information for everyone on a broad range of topics from official information on the pandemic to food, education, and mental health, to name a few. I encourage you to take a look. COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines.

In the meantime, we would like to respond to some urgent questions posed in the survey:

INSURANCE Responses regarding health insurance/co-payment showed to be your primary concern in the survey.
As a Fulbright scholar you are protected by a specific insurance company ASPE (Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges). The ASPE has a deductible of $25 for each claim. Seven Corners, Inc is the program administrator of ASPE. The Chapter would like you to consider to:
Call your program advising manager in the Institute of International Education (IIE) Midwestern Regional Center-Chicago, if it is your sponsor in this country. If so, your program adviser is taking phone calls from any student who needs advise on insurance issues; or
Call Seven Corners, Inc (1-800-461-0430). This toll free number is exclusively for grantees in the United States.
Below are two links that will help you navigate the questions and or concerns related to your health insurance in the united States.
https://fulbrightonline.org/covid-19#foreign-students
https://us.fulbrightonline.org/current-fulbrighters/health-benefits-summary

FOOD RESOURCES The recent Food Resources posting in the Chicago Chapter Website has information indicating the options available in the city, as to where to go and which organizations are distributing free food. There are also university food pantries that are an option if you live near a university campus. Here is the link below. Check out this LINK. I highly suggest going through the COVID-19 Resources section on the website for invaluable information and resources.
There are also several grocery delivery apps that could be helpful. One is Instacart, which allows you to select the grocery items you would like and then have them delivered to you. Users can add their zip code and you’ll find the local stores delivering to your neighborhood.

Additionally, there are a lot of restaurants in Chicago offering delivery services. Check out this LINK with a write up about specific restaurants by neighborhood. As you may know, many restaurants are still offering take out and contact-less pick up and delivery.

We look forward to seeing you all there! Be safe and be well!

Education resources for students, instructors

IN THIS UNPRECEDENTED time, educational institutions and government agencies at all levels are providing different types of assistance and resources to help students and their families to navigate the “stay at home” order without jeopardizing their formal education development. Below you will find a list of formal and non-formal resources for you to consider.

Many educational institutions in the U.S. and worldwide have moved to online instruction, extended their spring break, shortened or adjusted their academic year, or have otherwise departed from the normal course of business, including the cancellation of graduation ceremonies. These institutions worldwide are striving to meet their students’ educational needs while working to reduce and decelerate the spread of the pandemic.

::: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Student and Exchange Visitor Program). For the most updated information, click HERE and scroll down.

::: U.S. Department of Education. For the most updated information, click HERE and scroll down.

  • COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel (both K-12 and Higher Education): See guidance here.
  • Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19): See guidance here.
  • Dear CPA Letter CPA-20-01, Site Visit Exemption During COVID-19 Outbreak: See guidance here.
  • Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies: See guidance here.
  • Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents: See guidance here.

FOR STUDENTS

::: College Student Travel Assistance, Enterprise. Special accommodations from Enterprise for college students to get home, by lowering the minimum rental age and eliminating fees for young renters. For more information, click HERE.

::: Free Storage for College Students, U-Haul. U-haul is offering free storage for college students impacted by coronavirus. For more information, click HERE.

::: Federal Student Aid Forbearance. According to the US Department of Education, “to provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.” For more information, click HERE.

::: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE,) issued guidance on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M Non-immigrant Students. To read the memo, click HERE.


FOR EDUCATORS

::: Resources for colleges and universities. To access a database of resources and information for colleges and universities in response to COVID-19, click HERE.

::: Hope Center guide. To download a guide for supporting students during COVID-19 from the Hope Center, click HERE.

::: Teacher2Teacher. This organization is a growing community where instructors can connect to share resources, learn from one another, and collaborate, especially now. For resources and reflections, click HERE.

::: The Office of Postsecondary Education, issued a COVID-19 FAQ and Guidance for interruptions of Study related to Coronavirus. To read the memo, click HERE.

::: The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in English and Spanish. For more information, click HERE.

::: The Office of Postsecondary Education, issued Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies. To read the memo from the Department of Education, click HERE.


At Home Non-Formal Education Activities

::: Department of Defense. To learn through videos about careers in STEM fields, click HERE.

::: Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The NCES Kids’ Zone provides information to help learn about schools; decide on a college; engage in several games, quizzes and skill building about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians; and to learn many interesting facts about education. To access the Kids’ Zone, click HERE.

::: Department of Energy

» For games and activities for children, click HERE.
» For games and activities for kids of all ages, click HERE.

:::  Environmental Protection Agency. For games, quizzes, and videos about the environment, click HERE.

::: The Library of Congress. For presentations and activities to help students learn about history, click HERE.

::: NASA

» For interactive lessons about space, Earth, solar system and universe, click HERE.
» For STEM-related activities for students of all ages, click HERE.

::: The Kennedy Center

» For Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, click HERE.
» For a Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon, click HERE.

::: The Smithsonian

» For free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations, click HERE.
» To Meet the Animals of the National Zoo, click HERE.
» For 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours of museums and collections, click HERE.
» For the Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour, click HERE.
» For the Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum, click HERE.
» For Distance Learning Resources, click HERE.

::: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For students to use real-time ocean data to explore today’s most pressing environmental issues, click HERE.

::: US Geological Survey. To learn from home about Physical science, Geography and Maps, click HERE.


—> Illustration by Elio Leturia

In times of distress, supporting local news sources is more important than ever

By Suzanne McBrideTHE HUNGER WE HAVE for news and information at this chaotic and confusing time demonstrates the important role the media plays in helping us navigate our ever-changing world. Now more than ever it’s imperative that each of us look for reliable information that has been confirmed by credible and authoritative sources we trust.

Where did your family member get the information he posted on Facebook? How did your friend get the information she posted on Twitter? Did the that information come from trained journalists reporting on the coronavirus? Or was your relative or friend simply sharing something they heard somewhere?


The “free” information that many of us get when we go online each day is not actually free.

This is the time when the importance of journalism, especially at the local level, is clear, and that’s why I’m asking each of you to make a commitment to support one local media outlet that’s helping you stay informed in this critical time. Whether it’s one of Chicago’s daily newspapers, a radio or television station, or an online site that covers your community, each of these outlets depends on your business to keep going and be able to provide the invaluable information you’ve come to rely on.

Well before the coronavirus crisis hit, hundreds of local newspapers over the last decade had closed, and many more now are in jeopardy. The “free” information that many of us get when we go online each day is not actually free. Journalists have to shift through a great deal of information; interview reluctant or fearful sources; confirm facts that are often complicated and convoluted; verify the veracity of video and photos submitted to them; produce coherent stories on deadline – and then do it all again later sometimes that same day.

At most media organizations, advertising, subscriptions and/or memberships used to cover the costs of reporters, photographers, editors and other journalists, but that’s not the case anymore at many places. Throughout the United States, news outlets have laid off employees, slashed their workers’ pay, furloughed staff members or had to shut down altogether. Your help is needed to prevent that from happening here in Chicago. Your support of even a few dollars a week can make all the difference.

Here are some of the many local news organizations I hope you’ll consider subscribing to or becoming a member. Please know this is not an exhaustive list:

» Block Club Chicago
» Chicago Defender
» Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
» Chicago Public Television/WTTW
» Chicago Reader
» Chicago Reporter
» Chicago Sun-Times
» Chicago Tribune
» South Side Weekly

In a time of so much uncertainty when many of our budgets are already strained, I appreciate your willingness to support media institutions that help keep us informed about our democracy. Thank you!


Suzanne McBride is Chair of the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. She is also editor and publisher of AustinTalks.org, an online news site that covers Chicago’s West Side. She had her Fulbright in Ireland.

Sheltering in place increases risk, danger for abuse victims of all ages

By Teuta PejaDURING THE COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuously told to self-isolate and stay at home because home is the safest place to be while the virus rages outside. But for victims and survivors of domestic/family violence this may not be the case. Some abusers may take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to exert further control over the victim. Self- isolation with abusers and social- distancing may increase isolation and family violence of more vulnerable groups.

If you are a victim or survivor of domestic violence, or if you are a support-group to a domestic abuse survivor and need more information how to act or help during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find more information in the links below.

» Domestic Violence service in Chicago
» Resources for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence During COVID-19 
» Tax Filing Barriers for Survivors of Domestic Violence
» Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide 
» Legal Resources for survivors of Domestic Violence during COVID-19 quarantine

Teuta Peja moved to Chicago from her hometown, Pristina, Kosovo in 2015, when she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to pursue her MA in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Currently, she is continuing her doctorate studies in Criminology at University of Illinois at Chicago. She refers to the Fulbright community as her international family.

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