Encouraging flow of ideas and information between universities and nations
Gwendolyn ‘Wendy’ Green, US Chargé d’Affaires
This year, we are proud to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Programme. Since its establishment in 1946, this renowned US government exchange programme has created opportunities for nearly 400,000 people around the world to travel, study, conduct research, and exchange ideas. We are especially proud that the 75th anniversary of the global Fulbright programme coincides with the silver jubilee of the Fulbright programme in Malta, which has sustained bilateral exchange between the United States and Malta for 25 years.
We are grateful to University of Malta rector Alfred Vella and his colleagues, Stefania Agius Fabri and Victoria Gauci, director and deputy director respectively of the university’s International Office, for their active support. The Fulbright Programme remains as successful as it is due to their dedication.
Academic exchange programmes encourage the flow of ideas and information between universities and nations. They contribute to discoveries in science and academia and create goodwill between peoples. Our exchange participants are our best diplomats, creating people-to-people ties that complement and expand upon the efforts of our governments.
Our exchange participants are our best diplomats, creating people-to-people ties that complement and expand upon the efforts of our governments
I must thank all of our past and present Fulbright alumni for their commitment to academic exchange and for being instrumental in strengthening our already excellent bilateral relationship.
I want to encourage Maltese academics to participate in the Fulbright programme, just as I encourage Americans to also take part in the exchange. Exchanges of this kind must be both reciprocal and honest. I applaud all those who seize this enormous opportunity.
Please join me in recognising 25 years of successful exchange between the United States and Malta through our bilateral Fulbright Programme and celebrating the anniversary of the Fulbright Programme worldwide.
Occupational therapy, special needs and inclusion for children
Nathalie Buhagiar, Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
My Fulbright experience took place in the summer of 2013. My detailed proposal focused on occupational therapy (OT), special needs and inclusion, with a focus on serving children in their homes, schools and community.
Since North Carolina was the only state that had an occupational therapy consultant in the school system, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) was my obvious choice. Apart from collaborating with vastly knowledgeable academics in an array of OT fields, I immersed myself in occupation therapy practice in the Wake County Public School System.
I attended the American Occupational Therapy School Specialty Conference in Minneapolis and had the pleasure to shadow and interact with professionals at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and UNC Hospital.
Over the months of the application process, my preparation – which included liaising with the faculty at UNC and practical issues such as looking for accommodation for myself and my family, who accompanied me on this adventure – was greatly facilitated by the US Embassy in Malta.
Apart from the professional growth this experience also gave my children the opportunity to appreciate the US beyond what pop culture portrays
Apart from the professional growth that led to my doctoral studies, this experience also gave my children the opportunity to appreciate the United States beyond what pop culture portrays. We got to live in the USA and we experienced the culture and way of life in the States, reconnected with family and friends, and ventured to places near and far – New York, Philadelphia, Ashville, Wilmington, and Raleigh, and landmarks like Ground Zero, the Capitol in Washington and Biltmore Estate.
We also got to experience the arts: the Broadway musical Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre and Paperhand Puppetry in Chapel Hill.
It was a sterling opportunity for my family to see extraordinary places and spend time with special people.
Creating educational pathways for refugee youth
Kyle Farmbry, Fulbright scholar in the University of Malta’s Department of Public Policy.
From September to December 2016, I had the pleasure of serving as a Fulbright research fellow in Malta. My work focused on how Malta was navigating issues around migration. At the time, Malta was exploring questions around how to manage issues related to the increasing rates of arrivals of refugees and other at-risk migrants from countries in the region.
Much of my time while in Malta was spent working with a group of young refugees who had developed an organisation known as Spark 15. This organisation focused on developing strategies for enhancing higher education opportunities for refugee youth in Malta.
After my return from Malta, I continued my work in several ways. First, I was able to recruit one of the refugee youth leaders of Spark 15 into one of our master’s degree programmes at Rutgers University-Newark. The student has since completed her master’s studies and is now completing her doctorate degree. She will likely finish her dissertation and be an assistant professor next year.
I was able to launch a network that focuses on matters of refugee higher education access
Second, I was able to launch a network that focuses on matters of refugee higher education access. Known as the University Alliance for Refugees and at-Risk Migrants (UARRM), the network engages individuals and institutions from throughout the United States and several nations (including Malta) in exploring ways that higher education institutions can create educational pathways for refugee youth.
Finally, I’ve been able to leverage my Fulbright experience to secure a role as the next president of Guilford College (as of January 2021), a higher education institution in Greensboro, North Carolina, that has engaged many of its students, faculty and staff as social change agents working on issues pertaining to global awareness and social justice (including on issues pertaining to refugee matters) for much of its history.
Fulbright English Teaching Programme
Jessica Camenzuli, Emily Andrey, Daniel Hopkins and Kalkidan Alemu, current Fulbright English teaching assistants for academic year 2021-2022.
We applied for the Fulbright English Teaching Programme because of the rich history Malta possesses and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a vibrant culture through educational and social contexts. We studied Education, Psychology, Chemistry, Art History, Russian, Political Science, History, Biology, and Public Policy in the United States.
Since September, we have been working at the National Sports School, Blata l-Bajda Middle School, Verdala Secondary School, and St Thomas More College.
The English Teaching Assistant Programme places American graduates in classrooms in Malta to assist local teachers and serve as ambassadors of American English and culture. This academic year, we are helping to teach English in state schools, while serving as citizen ambassadors for the United States.
Helping to teach English in state schools, while serving as citizen ambassadors for the US
Our favourite part about working in Malta is connecting with new individuals, as well as the numerous cultural exchange opportunities we have on a daily basis. After this programme, we hope to maintain ties with our Maltese counterparts and students, and to continue our professional pursuits in the medical field, through graduate and medical schools, and educational contexts as teachers.
Researching inclusivity, equity and diversity in physical education
Sara Flory, Current US Scholar in the University of Malta’s Institute for Physical Education and Sport for academic year 2021-2022.
My research interests centre on inclusivity, equity and diversity in physical education (PE) and physical activity settings. More specifically, my research focuses on preparing teachers for diverse school settings, and creating physical education and physical activity settings that are inclusive and relevant for all students, regardless of their cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, or religious background.
Preparing teachers for diverse school settings, and creating PE settings that are inclusive and relevant for all students
When I learned about the opportunity to study physical education in Malta through the Fulbright programme, I quickly realised that the rich history and cultural diversity within the country would provide an ideal setting to investigate diversity and inclusion in physical education and teacher preparation.
I will work with faculty from the Institute for Physical Education and Sport at the University of Malta to study the ways in which policy affects how practising PE teachers work with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. My hope is the lessons learned can help influence policy in the US.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us