Fulbright Enrichment Seminar



The prestigious Fulbright program sponsors a series of Enrichment Seminars to Fulbright scholars in the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. I was selected as one of the 75 participants from 44 different countries to the first of the four series of seminars at St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Area in Florida last November 5-9, 2014.

World Partnerships Incorporated administered the enrichment seminar on the topic “Climate Change and the Plight of the Oceans,” in conjunction to the inaugural “Blue Ocean’s Film Festival and Conservation Summit,” which is one of biggest environmental documentary film festivals in the world. It featured famous and respected filmmakers, artists, marine ocean scientists and conservationists, who have made significant contributions in ocean science. World Partnerships was able to provide a well-balanced set of activities of intellectual exchanges and socializations.

The seminar consisted of talks on climate change, ocean science researches and public policy at the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida. Because the Fulbright delegation were scholars who are teaching and conducting researches in various disciplines, the talks provided a venue to rich multi-disciplinary discussions after each topic was presented. It was a good opportunity to be able to share and gain knowledge of different perspectives from the minds of the scholars, on how scientists in the United States embrace researches to understand climate change.

A cruise at the Tampa Bay Port, provided an opportunity for the Fulbright delegates to gain awareness on ocean environmental issues management in the State of Florida.

At the Blue Ocean Festival, we were very privileged to watch a huge documentary film of the renowned marine scientist, Dr. Sylvia Earle, at the famous Mahaffey Theater. Dr. Earle is a member of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) and a former Curator of Phycology at the California Academy of Sciences in 1979-1986! Known for her work on “Mission Blue” which aims to establish marine protected areas around the globe, I was personally struck by her passion in scientific expeditions and achievements as a woman.

We were graciously hosted to receptions at St. Petersburg College, Eckerd College, and Canterbury School of Florida, plus planting 8,000 sea oats together with volunteers at Fort de Soto Park, followed by a beach cook-out and potluck meal. These activities personally allowed me to learn more on the culture of socialization of the American people. It was a great experience to be able to interact with American faculty, student ambassadors and their families. What I really liked from all those interactions was the atmosphere of politeness that made conversations among the scholars from different countries and the American people, a carefree experience. It also allowed us to feel explicit support from the U.S. Department of State personnel who efficiently accompanied us in all of these activities.

Finally, my attendance to the enrichment seminar was more memorable because of the fun I shared with and friendships gained, to other Fulbright scholars.

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