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Harvard was named a Fulbright top producing institution by the U.S. State Department for having among the highest number of accepted applications for the 2022-2023 U.S. student and scholar programs.
Twenty-nine students and recent graduates from Harvard College were selected for the student scholarship, a prestigious program allowing students to “expand perspectives through academic and professional advancement and cross cultural dialogue,” according to the Fulbright website. Seventeen of these students ultimately accepted their award.
In addition to the 29 students and recent graduates from Harvard College, seven Harvard faculty, researchers, and administrators were selected for the scholars program.
Eighteen other universities and colleges were also recognized as Fulbright dual top producing institutions alongside Harvard, making lists for both the most Fulbright students and scholars.
Among the recipients of the student scholarship was Brandon T. Chen ’22 — a recent College graduate who studied Government and is now teaching English at elementary and middle schools in Hualien County, Taiwan.
Chen, an English teaching assistant grantee, was paired with a local English instructor and teaches English to students ranging from first to ninth grade.
“It’s not like a scholarship or anything, but more like a cultural and education grant,” Chen said, in reference to his experience with the Fulbright program.
Chen wrote his government thesis on U.S.-Taiwan relations, and he characterized the Fulbright Taiwan program as a “cultural exchange” and a form of “public diplomacy between the U.S. and Taiwan.”
“A big motivation of mine is strengthening that U.S.-Taiwan relationship,” Chen said.
Chen added he was motivated to accept the teaching grant because of “increasingly aggressive and irredentist Chinese rhetoric.”
“I think striking U.S.-Taiwan relationships are more important now than ever,” Chen said.
Chen added his Taiwanese background also informed his decision to become a teaching assistant.
“I never spent much time in this country, so I wanted to experience it firsthand a little bit more,” Chen said in reference to Taiwan.
In another corner of the world, Harvard Medical School professor Anita K. Wagner is conducting global pharmaceutical policy research as the 2022-2023 U.S. Fulbright-Tampere University Scholar in Finland.
Wagner said part of what drew her to Finland was how different their pharmaceutical system is from the systems she is familiar with in the United States and other nations worldwide.
“I wanted to see how pharmaceuticals are talked about and handled in a country like Finland that has a much different definition of population welfare and population health,” she added.
Wagner said that Finland has been “number one” in the world happiness index for the past five years — another factor that drew her to the country.
“That has to do with how society is structured and how people experience it,” she added, explaining why Finland is ranked so highly.
Wagner also said she was drawn to the Fulbright program because it comported with “the big theme” of her life — “building bridges.”
“Fulbright is really an enormous opportunity for me to come back to where I started — bridge building across systems, countries, languages, cultures, disciplines, organizations,” she added.
—Staff writer Tyler J. H. Ory can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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