Category Archives: Studies abroad

From Bulgaria, Past Fulbright Chicago President Ron Harvey visits Chicago, his hometown

Dr. Ron Harvey, past president of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, at the Chicago River.

By Ron Harvey—I LIVE IN Sofia, Bulgaria.  I am a community psychologist (DePaul, 2014) who teaches psychology at American University in Bulgaria (AUBG.) I did both my Fulbrights in Bulgaria (Fulbright U.S. student, 2009-2010; Fulbright Scholar, 2016).

I like living in Bulgaria and I love my work and students; AUBG hosts over 40 nationalities from the region, and every classroom of 32 students typically have between 8 to 12 nationalities. However, there is nothing that makes me appreciate Chicago and the United States as much as my yearly visits to my hometown. What I am about to write about my most recent 3-week visit are simple pleasures, but they mean a lot to me. And in my opinion, they reflect the ideals of the Fulbright program: cultural exchange.

It starts when getting off the plane and walking to passport control. Passport control at O’Hare Airport is an enormous room holding several thousand travelers being directed my locals. Every face of every worker looks familiar, but I do not know them. But I can smile at them and they smile back. This makes me happy. Also, cutting in line is an art form in Bulgaria; this does not happen here (very much).

In the past few years, I came home to visit my family over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. This year and last I visited in mid-summer. Chicago’s summer is glorious. I had forgotten how beautiful and vibrant this city is during summer. A walk from Millennium Park to Oak Street on the Magnificent Mile yielded at least 20 musical performances on sidewalks, makeshift stages, and of course the Pritzker Pavilion. Every musician was good! And everyone smiled at me who caught my eye! Who knew that Chicago was such a friendly city?

LOOK AT THAT SKYLINE! LOOK AT THAT RIVER! OMG, THAT LAKE! I walked and walked along the lake during the day when you can have the lakefront almost to yourself. It is gorgeous and peaceful most of the time, but sometime behaves like the Black Sea.

The Chicago skyline. Source Wikipedia

And the food! These are things you cannot get in Southeastern Europe: hot dogs (Chicago and Coney-style)! Deep dish pizza! Pancakes for dinner as well as for breakfast! A steak as big as my chest! REAL Greek gyros! ICE! RE-FILLS! Bottomless cups of coffee! This is not healthy list, but imagine having nothing even close to this for the past year.

I am in Chicago for a conference of the Society for Community Research and Action, hosted at National Louis University. Throughout the conference, I kept talking to my fellow community psychology scholars and students about applying for Fulbright, saying over and over, “Fulbright changed my life.” Without Fulbright, I would not be living in Bulgaria or doing the work I do now. Being reunited with Chicago is part of that experience, bittersweet as it may be.

It is totally worth it. Let Fulbright change your life too!

Dr. Ronald Harvey was the president of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association in 2013 and 2014.

Former Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Kazakhstan returned to Chicago

Dr Maxat Kassen from Kazakhstan presenting at Columbia College Chicago

ON APRIL 4, 2019 Dr. Maxat Kassen, a Professor of Political Science at the Eurasian Humanities Institute in Astana, Kazakhstan, visited Columbia College Chicago during a Fulbright Awards workshop led by Fulbright Chicago Chapter board member Elio Leturia.

Dr. Kassen, who came on a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to the United States in the years 2011-2012, had returned to Chicago to participate as panel chairman in the American Midwest Political Science Association annual symposium that was being held in the city, April 3-7, 2019.

More than 7,000 political scientists from universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other research institutions from all over the world participated in this prestigious international scientific forum.

Leturia, who is the Fulbright faculty liaison at Columbia College Chicago seized the opportunity to invite Dr. Kassen to share his experience as an international scholar with an audience of prospective Fulbright applicants at his home institution.

Besides sharing his Fulbright experience in the United States, Dr. Kassen, who is a political analyst, presented his recently published book “Open Data Politics.”

Dr. David Comp, Dr. Marcelo Sabatés, and Pattie Mackenzie from the Office of Global Education of Columbia College Chicago with Dr. Maxat Kassen and Professor Elio Leturia.

“Thanks, Elio for inviting me personally to be part of your presentation. It was both an honour and a pleasure to meet you again after so many years since I returned to my home institution. You always remain a mentor and leader for all of us, Chicago Fulbrighters!” Dr. Kassen said. Leturia and Kassen had met previously when Leturia was President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association in the years 2011 and 2012.

“If someday you visit Astana in the future you are always welcome in my house and my institute!” Dr. Kassen said to the workshop audience, sharing his Fulbright spirit.

Fulbright alumna from Afghanistan comes back to present at Loyola University

Identities in Transition: South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference took place at Loyola University Chicago, October 28 and 29, 2016.

Identities in Transition: South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference took place at Loyola University Chicago, October 28 and 29, 2016.

By Teuta PejaAFTER ONLY A FEW months of leaving Chicago “for good,” Fulbright alumna Shughla Hellali from Afghanistan returned to give a presentation at the South Asian Womanhood and Girlhood Conference (SAWG) at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), in October.

Shughla Hellali

Shughla Hellali

In this conference that addressed the topic of identities in transition with the aim to highlight the changing context of women and girls in South Asian society, Shughla discussed the rhetoric of epistemic violence against Afghan women caused by international media coverage and the limited understanding of the cultural and native context.

Shughla came to Chicago on a Fulbright Foreign Student grant in August 2014, to pursue an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. After the completion of the program, she returned to Kabul, where she is now working as the Gender Specialist with United Nation Development Program. Recently, she became the Vice President of the Fulbright Association in Afghanistan.

This is her second visit to the US since her returned to Kabul in December 2015.

In February of this year, she traveled to Washington DC to attend several meetings on peace and security in Afghanistan. She and her colleagues at the Afghan Fulbright for Peace organized the meetings with the USIP, US State Department and the Afghanistan’s Embassy.

During her recent visit to Chicago, Shughla was experiencing different emotions because as she says “she was back to her home-away-from-home.”

She added: “I will always be grateful to Fulbright Program for giving me the life-changing experience that helped me frame my goals and develop professionally and personally. Knowing the values of the Fulbright Program, I am very excited to be part of the Fulbright Association in Afghanistan and lead the association. Through my work at the association, I am eager to contribute to the promotion of the Fulbright values and mission in the country and abroad.”

In addition to presenting her paper at SAWG Conference, in Chicago, Shughla also presented her work on “Ms. Representation: Media Portrayals of Afghan Women and the Epistemic Violence of International Intervention” to Loyola University academic staff and students.

Teuta Peja is a current Fulbright student from Kosovo.


Fulbright topics discussed during “Coffee Hour” at Purdue University Calumet

Article featured on the Purdue University Calumet Chronicle on the Fulbright activities

Article featured in the Purdue University Calumet Chronicle newspaper about Fulbright activities on campus

By April ValentineTHE RESEARCH AND GRADUATE Studies Office and the International Programs Office of Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana, co-sponsored a coffee hour on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, for faculty and staff to learn about how participation in Fulbright programs enhances research and teaching from current and alumni Fulbright faculty. Fifteen people attended this event held during the lunch hour on the campus of Purdue University Calumet.

Colette Morrow

Colette Morrow

Professor Colette Morrow, Department of English and Philosophy, is a Senior Fulbright Scholar. She participated in the Core Fulbright Grant program from 2000 to 2001 in Belarus, was presented the Fulbright Alumni Initiatives Award from 2003 to 2005 and has received three Fulbright Senior Specialist Grants (India, 2004; Bangladesh, 2006; Pakistan, 2010).

Professor Morrow co-presented the topic Building Women’s and Gender Studies Locally and Globally through the Fulbright Scholar Award Program with Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Professor Rukhsana Hasan.

Rukhsana Hasan

Rukhsana Hasan

Professor Hasan of the Department of Marketing, Human Resources, and Management is teaching, conducting research, supporting curriculum development, and giving presentations at the Ivy Tech Community College campus in East Chicago, Indiana, and at Purdue University Calumet for the 2013-2014 academic year. Hasan also presented on Dec. 3, 2013 at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.

She is a faculty member at Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Kathryn Rowberg

Kathryn Rowberg

Professor Kathryn Rowberg of the Department of Chemistry and Physics served as a Fulbright Fellow in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1992 to 1994 and in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2004.  She discussed the Fulbright application process, the challenges of serving effectively for short periods of time in another country and the lasting effects on her career and world view.

Her presentation topic was A Tale of Two Cities: A Fulbright Fellow in Addis Ababa and Reykjavik.

George Nnanna

George Nnanna

Professor and Department Head of Mechanical Engineering, George Nnanna received a Fulbright Specialist Award in 2011 to conduct research on water pollution and treatment at the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

David Saide of the Education Sector at the Consulate-General of Brazil in Chicago was also in attendance and discussed opportunities for faculty to conduct research in Brazil.

Book donation for Menoufia University in Egypt

During her year in Egypt, Dr. Ana Gil-García, who is currently teaching at American University in Cairo, has conducted workshops and delivered presentations to several institutions. Here, working with a group of fellows at Menoufia University, two hours away from Cairo.

AS PART OF OUR ONGOING Book Initiative Donation Program, Dr. Ana Gil-García is currently working in Egypt, more specifically, with Menoufia University.

Along with Dr. Osama Madany, chairperson of the Department of English Literature and Language, and a fellow Fulbrighter, we are asking you to donate a book to provide his department with needed materials in the following areas:

1. American Literature (Fiction, Drama, Poetry) from 18th C. to present day.
2. British Literature (Fiction, Drama, Poetry) from 16th C. to present day. 
3. American and British Literary Criticism to present day.
4. American and British Culture/Civilization to present day.
5. Essay Writing
6. Linguistics / Applied Linguistics
7. Grammar
8. English Language Courses (TEFL, TESOL, TOEFL)
9. Audio/Visual material related to above fields.
10. English as a Second Language
11. Educational leadership
12. Bilingual-bicultural education
13. Multicultural education

Dr. Gil-García will be in Chicago for a week, June 6 -13. If you could donate any new or used book on those areas will be greatly appreciated. Dr. Gil-García will take the books to the Department of English Literature and Language of Menoufia University in Egypt.

Please, contact us at to schedule a pick up of your donation.

Visit to Cairo, Egypt: Binational Fulbright Commission and The American University in Cairo

Left to right: Dr. Abdel Moneim, Elio Leturia, Dr. Ana Gil-García, Sahar Ramadan, Ahmed Salama and Safaa M. Abbadi at the Fulbright Commission in Cairo.

DURING A RECENT VISIT to Cairo, Egypt, Fulbright Association Chicago Chapter President Elio Leturia met with board member Dr. Ana-Gil García, who is currently teaching at The American University in Cairo. They visited the  Binational Fulbright Commission, the oldest and largest program in the Arab world, to talk about our Book Donation Initiative to Egyptian universities.

They were welcomed by Dr. Bruce Lohof, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Cairo, and then met with Safaa M. Abbadi, manager of Alumni Affairs and Special Projects.

Elio Leturia, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and board member and past president, Dr. Ana Gil-García

Part of the discussion revolved around how to optimize alumni communications. In Egypt, the alumni are organized in what they call “Circles” according to their areas of expertise. At this meeting, that took place on March 26, 2012, participated Ahmed Salama, FLTA alumnus and leader of the Teachers’ Circle for 2012; Sahar Ramadan, FLTA alumna and active member of the Teachers’ Circle and Dr. Abdel Moneim, Professor at the Department of English of Menoufia University. We also had Dr. Ossama Madany, Chairman of the English Language Department at Menoufia University, who joined the discussion, via Skype.

The book donation will be, at this time, to Menoufia University. This institution is one of the largest universities in Egypt, which has two campuses: Shibim El Kom, located 47 miles from Cairo and Sadat City, 60 miles from Cairo.

Dr. Gil-García's International and Comparative Education graduate students with Elio Leturia after a presentation at American University in Cairo

During this visit, Dr. Ana Gil-García invited Elio Leturia to present in one of the classes she teaches at the graduate program of International and Comparative Education at The American University in Cairo. In his presentation, Leturia, a native Peruvian who teaches at Columbia College Chicago, did a comparative analysis on the educational systems in Peru and the United States.

Chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board meets with the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association

Elio Leturia, Thomas Ahleman, Tom Healy, Jason Romano, Cristina Sisson, Norma Green and Heidi Rockwell (not pictured) met over dinner on March 2.

DURING A VISIT in Chicago the first week of March, Tom Healy, chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which oversees the Fulbright program worldwide, met with board members of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Appointed to the National Scholarship Board by President Obama in 2011, Healy was elected chairman.

Tom Healy with board members Cristina Sisson and Jason Romano

He took this trip to meet current Fulbright students and alumni and to visit several colleges and universities, among them University of Illinois at Chicago and the School of the Art Institute. On Friday March 2nd, he met with Fulbrighters at a breakfast organized by IIE Midwest, and had a chance to talk directly with international students and their experiences in the country.

On Saturday March 3rd, Tom Healy and his assistant, Andrew Durbin, had dinner with Chicago Chapter board members and discussed issues pertaining to the association and its members as well as how to strengthen the activities the chapter organizes as part of their outreach, mentoring and enrichment goals with the Fulbright community in the Chicago area.

Photos courtesy of Andrew Durbin

Dolores Rinke gave presentation on Fulbright programs at Purdue University Calumet

Dr. Dolores Rinke talking to students and faculty at Purdue University Calumet

AS PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL Education Week activities, on November 16th, 2011, Dr. Dolores Rinke addressed students and faculty members at Purdue University Calumet, to inform them of the various opportunities offered by the Fulbright Programs.  One of this university strategic goals  is to increase cultural diversity on the campus. Dr. Rinke also talked about her personal experience as a Fulbright Scholar in Hungary in 1994 teaching accounting consistent with the new economic goals of the country that had made the transition from a command economy to a capitalistic one.

A few years later, she returned to Hungary as a Senior Specialist to help the country prepare for entrance into the European Union.  This semester, she has another Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to work with Hacettepe University in Turkey, teaching them International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and corporate governance.

As most Fulbright alumni will agree, the Fulbright experience has been a life altering experience.  In addition to working with the Chicago Chapter, she has also served as Board member and Treasurer for the National Board for six years.

Professor Rinke teaches International and Financial Accounting at Purdue University Calumet where she has been teaching since 1987.  This summer, she plans to take students on an International Accounting Experience to London and Paris where they will learn about IFRS and how they are established and practiced.  More than 100 countries, including all the countries of the European Union, have adopted IFRS.  The U.S. is currently working on a convergence project to converge U.S. accounting principles with IFRS.

This is certainly a small, small world

Lifetime member and Columbia College Chicago journalism professor Dr. Norma Fay Green (right) with Dr. Azia Idrissi Kobaiti in Fes, Morocco, during her Fulbright-Hays Seminar this summer

While traveling on a six-week  Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad to study religious diversity in North Africa’s Maghreb (Morocco & Tunisia) in Summer 2011, an opportunity recommended by Chicago Fulbright Past President Ana Gil-García, Fulbright Association lifetime member and Columbia College Chicago Journalism Professor Dr. Norma Green met  in Fes with Dr. Azia Idrissi Kobaiti from the Department of Islamic Studies at Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University, who lectured the seminar participants on Moroccan Sufism. Dr. Kobaiti will be on a Fulbright at Loyola University Chicago this year.

In 2010, Dr. Green was recognized at the Dee Sarelas Service Award ceremony for her commitment and support to the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Funding oportunity for Fulbrighters

The Office of Alumni Affairs is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity, the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF).  AEIF offers alumni and posts the opportunity to address global issues on a local, national, regional or international level. This opportunity is available to current participants and alumni of exchange programs. U.S. missions, ECA program offices, partner organizations, and Fulbright commissions can promote this opportunity to overseas audiences with materials provided in the AEIF PR Toolkit:

The AEIF competition launches February 16, 2011, and has three phases. First round ideas must be submitted by alumni between February 16 and March 13 on the State Alumni website . Finalists will be announced by April 4 and winning projects will be announced on May 23. Alumni can submit proposals up to $35,000 USD in the following categories or combinations thereof: democracy and human rights; economic opportunity and prosperity; women’s empowerment; promoting a better environment; food security; global health; and outreach to marginalized communities. More information, including eligibility requirements, is available at: