Washington, D.C. (September 25) – The Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program is excited to announce its new alumni small grant projects! As part of continued engagement efforts with program alumni, the Muskie Program is providing 5 projects up to $2,000 to implement community development projects between October 2023 and May 2024.
The Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program is a professional development program funded by the U.S. Department of State since 2015 that provides emerging leaders of the Fulbright Program from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with the opportunity to gain real-world experience complementing and enriching their graduate studies in the United States. Muskie Fellows show a commitment to developing practical skills and a deeper understanding of U.S. work culture, and readiness to use this experience to implement positive changes and make a long-lasting impact in their communities.
The aim of the Small Grants Program is to expand on the Muskie Program’s overarching goal by helping alumni leverage their U.S. work experience to create positive change in their community or professional field. The funded projects also seek to showcase the impact of the Muskie Program on participants’ self-efficacy and to foster greater communication between alumni of U.S. government programs.
“Our grantees’ projects illustrate the caliber of the Muskie Program’s alumni. These busy young professionals took the time to identify needs in their communities and find innovative ways to address them.” says Dan Ewert, Cultural Vistas’ Senior Vice President for Program Research & Development. “These projects also remind us that even though we are facing complex global challenges, individuals can step up and play a meaningful role in addressing these challenges at the local level. Cultural Vistas is excited to support these alumni projects, and we will continue to support the Muskie alumni community in a variety of ways going forward.”
The following projects will be completed as part of the second iteration of the Muskie Alumni Small Grants Program:
EdTechUz: “Empowering Education through Technology for Teachers” — Albina Hartner-Yildiz, Class of 2019, Uzbekistan
This project aims to support STEM teacher trainers using educational technology (EdTech) tools to provide students with an engaging and interactive learning experience. The project will guide teacher trainers through various EdTech instruments, including virtual laboratory simulations, interactive presentations using AI, and assessment. The project is designed help teachers use EdTech tools in alignment with Uzbekistan’s National Study plan and to enhance the existing science curriculum.
Socio-economic Resilience of Ukrainian Communities — Aleksandre Khunjua, Class of 2019, Georgia
This project will support the inclusion of displaced Ukrainians residing in Georgia through increasing their access to information about local income-generating opportunities and a Georgian language course. In collaboration with Georgian private sector, the initiative will assist in matching Ukrainian job seekers’ skills with available job opportunities. Organizing a forum/meeting with the participation of the representatives of Georgian private sector to establish and facilitate an employment pipeline for Ukrainians residing in Georgia.
Bridging Planning Schools — Gala Korniyenko, Class of 2015, Ukraine
The Bridging Planning Schools project aims to foster a collaboration between planning schools in the USA, EU, and Ukraine, seeking to bridge geographical boundaries and cultural differences in planning education. Through collaboration between Cultural Vistas, Ukrainian Rebuilding Action Group of American Planning Association, The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, The Association of European Schools of Planning, Global Planning Education Association Network, and interested planning schools of Ukraine, this project will bring together the expertise of leading educational planning institutions to exchange best practices of planning programs establishment and accreditation, collaboration with professional planning organizations, and to foster bilateral sister school relationships.
Teacher-Parents-Students: Building Bridges — Astra Mickel, Class of 2017, Kyrgyz Republic
The project will focus on training and working with schoolteachers, parents, and at-risk high-school students. Teachers and parents will learn how to collaborate in accommodating at-risk students in classrooms and how to create an environment where these students will be motivated to study and collaborate with their peers to be successful.
Shadow Conversations — Katya Muromtseva, Class of 2022, Russia
This project expands on Katya’s community-based project “Shadow Conversations,” focused on interviews with representatives of various immigrant communities in New York. The interviews are structured around the question, “How did you start feeling that you actually live in history,” and a watercolor silhouette of each interviewee’s shadow will be created as well. The project will result in an exhibition of the artworks and a community discussion of the interviews.