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AUM receives $70K from Education Department for Fulbright-Hays project in Belize

by Frank Miles | Nov 04, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a grant of $70,000 to Auburn Montgomery under the Fulbright-Hays International Education program Group Projects Abroad Short-Term Projects. As reported in News and Headlines on Sept. 30, the grant will fund a four-week curriculum development seminar on the cultural history and welfare of women in Belize.

Auburn Montgomery was one of just 16 institutions in 11 states, and the only institution in Alabama, to receive this type of grant.

According to Fariba Deravi, Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, one of the objectives of the Group Projects Abroad (GPA) is to enable faculty and administrators in institutions of higher education to spend time in a foreign country acquiring resource materials for curriculum development in area studies. The GPA encourages education and cultural exchanges that foster greater cross-cultural understanding and new-world views.

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 Dr. Denise Davis-Maye, left, and Dr. Annice Yarber

The overall intent of the Auburn Montgomery project, being led by Drs. Denise Davis-Maye and Annice Yarber from the Department of Sociology, is to operate a curriculum development seminar centered on the cultural history, status and experiences of women in the Americas, specifically Belize. Project participants will explore and compare patterns of gender roles, family structures and processes, faith practices, physical and mental health, and economic and political structures in contemporary Belize and their impact on the welfare of women in leadership.

"Ultimately, the project seeks to promote respect for diversity and ethical interactions between cultures, as well as to increase awareness of issues faced by women in countries with emerging economies," Deravi said.

Yarber and Davis-Maye’s “Summer Institute on the Welfare of Women in Belize” will support 15 post-secondary and K-12 educators in the development of comprehensive curricula and units on the cultural history and current status of women in Belize. The participants will come from the academic areas of social sciences, music, art, English, social studies, science, and social work.

The application process has begun and is available online at http://geomaps.aum.edu/Brochure2013.pdf.

The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Short-Term Projects assist U.S. institutions of higher education, state departments of education, and private nonprofit educational organizations with the promotion, improvement and development of area studies and modern foreign languages. The funds support short-term overseas projects in training, research and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for groups of teachers, students and faculty.

"In an interconnected, competitive global economy, the only way to secure our common future is through education," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release announcing the grants. "These grants will ensure a steady supply of graduates with expertise in world languages and global issues, helping to build stronger and more productive ties with our neighbors and fostering international collaboration."

The Fulbright-Hays Program dates to 1961 when the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright sponsored legislation for several programs that aim to increase mutual understanding between America and the rest of the world. More than $1.14 million was awarded for this year’s Group Projects Abroad Short-Term Projects. Annual competitions are held for these grants, for which institutions of higher education, state departments of education, and private, nonprofit educational organizations are eligible to apply.
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