Winter Edition 2022

Dear Fulbright friends,

Hope this issue of our newsletter finds you in good health and spirits.

We are pleased to announce that after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, USIEF is finally welcoming U.S. Fulbrighters back to India.  Over the next three months, approximately 200 U.S. Fulbright students and scholars will arrive in India to begin their grants.

Currently, there are over 140 Indian Fulbrighters in the U.S.  These Fulbrighters include Fulbright-Nehru students and scholars and others from programs like the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program and the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program.

On February 2, 2022, USIEF announced the annual competition for the Fulbright-Nehru, Fulbright-Kalam and other Fulbright fellowships for Indian citizens for the academic year 2023-2024.  These fellowships offer students, faculty, and professionals the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research in a wide range of academic disciplines.  The application deadlines begin on May 16, 2022. We greatly appreciate your assistance in helping publicize these opportunities.  Details about the fellowships can be found at the USIEF website.

In this edition of our newsletter, we have highlighted some of the incredible accomplishments of our U.S. and Indian Fulbright alumni. We hope you enjoy learning more about their work and their journeys.

Thanks and best wishes,
USIEF Communications Team

News from our Alumni

Indian Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Develops a Safe Access to School Program for Indian Cities

Rohit Tak, 2014-15 Fulbright-Nehru Master’s fellow at the University of California - Berkeley, is currently working as a Manager of Integrated Urban Transport with the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Mumbai.

He has developed a program called “Safer Access to Schools” to initiate a discourse around the importance of school zone safety as a key measure to build better cities for children.  Aimed at empowering children as change makers, and by using tactical urbanism as a tool, a pilot of his design proposal and programmatic approach was recently implemented by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in partnership with the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety and WRI.  This pilot initiative at the Christ Church School in Byculla precinct has received accolades from the school children and their families, the local community, and municipal officials.  Recently, the Maharashtra Cabinet Minister of Tourism and Environment, Aditya Thackeray, recognized this work and has shown a keen interest to engage with the urban development minister to replicate this methodology to provide safer access to schools across the state of Maharashtra.

U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Collaborates with Indian Musicians on a Jazz Composition

David Claman was a 2018-19 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar at the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Delhi University.  He is a composer and associate professor of music at Lehman College, City University of New York.  During his grant, in addition to teaching classes on Western Music at Delhi University, he studied sarod and collaborated with Indian musicians to arrange a classic jazz composition, “Bumpin’ on Sunset” by Wes Montgomery.  After extensive practice, they recorded the composition and the track was then mixed, edited, and released on Spotify and other audio platforms.  An accompanying video was released on YouTube in March 2021.   David has continued his association and friendship with the musicians, and hosted some of them for a residency at his college in November 2019 when they toured the U.S.  During the pandemic, he is continuing to work online on new collaborations.

U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Develops a Podcast for Access to Energy Resources

Karan Takhar was a 2019-20 U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Student Researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.  His research interest is in the field of energy and development. While he was in India, he initiated conversations with clean energy influencers across the globe.  This motivated him to develop “Zenergy,” a podcast through which Karan interviewed several clean energy leaders in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. His guests have included, India’s Foreign Secretary, Harsh Shringla; Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Sandhu; President of the U.S. India Business Council, Nisha Biswal; Head of Softbank India, Manoj Kohli; and President of Tata Power, Ashish Khanna.

Though these interactions, Karan learned about India’s clean energy transition and the impact of decentralized renewable technology in pioneering a model for low-carbon inclusive growth.  Through the podcast, Karan intends to create recommendations for both U.S. and India and provide a platform for clean energy solutions in emerging markets.

Fulbright TEA Alumnus Receives an Excellence Award on World Human Rights Day

Murari Jha was a 2018 Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) fellow at George Mason University.   He is a mentor teacher with the Delhi government schools.   Recently, he received an Excellence Award by the International Human Rights Organisation in collaboration with the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’ís of India on World Human Rights Day.  The award acknowledges his role in promoting the cause of human rights through education.  In his writings, Murari has highlighted the mission of Delhi government schools in providing quality education which has helped to transform the lives of students from disadvantaged sections of society.  He believes that education is one of the best tools to ensure human rights.  He has written more than 100 articles about a variety issues related to education on his blog.

U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Publishes Book on Deaf Education in India

Madan Vasishta, associate professor at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, was a 2015 U.S Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar at the National Institute of Hearing Handicapped in Mumbai.   During his fellowship, he conducted research on schools in India for the hearing impairment.  In October 2021, he published the book, “A History of Deaf Education in India,” which fills a gap in information about education of children with hearing loss in the subcontinent.

Indian Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Contributes to a Landmark Study on Health and Retirement of Elderly in India

T.V. Sekher, 2016-17 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar at Cornell University, is currently a professor in the Department of Family and Generations at International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai.

He is one of the principal investigators of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), along with David Bloom, a 1982 U.S. Fulbright fellow to India, who is a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Jinkook Lee, a professor at the University of Southern California.  LASI, the largest national health and retirement study in the world, released its first report earlier this year.   LASI provides high-quality, scientific, and comprehensive data on the health, social and economic aspects of ageing, with a sample size of 72,000 older adults across India.  LASI is being conducted under the aegis of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and is jointly sponsored by Government of India and National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA.

Indian Fulbright Alumna Receives Global Teacher Grant

Subha Chandrashekhar was a 2019 Fulbright Distinguished Award for International Teachers (FDAI) fellow at Arizona State University.  Her project, 'Making Indian Schools Accessible to Children with Special Needs,' has been selected under the 2021 Global Teacher Grants (GTG) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by IREX.  The project will be carried out in schools in Assam, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab with local resource persons who can continue to provide support to the schools even after completion of the program.

She is a past recipient of the 2017 Americans with Disability Act (ADA) fellowship at the University of Minnesota.  In collaboration with the University of Minnesota and her own organization, ‘ANUGRAHAM,’ Subha conducts an eight-week online course in inclusive education and has reached out to teachers and special educators working in rural and district level schools.  She has organized several panel discussions on the guidelines for development of e-content for children with special needs and on universal design for learning, which is aligned to the goals outlined for secondary education in the 2020 National Education Policy.

U.S. Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus Receives 2021 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Award

Dinyar Patel was a 2019-20 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence scholar at Parzor, the UNESCO Parsi Zoroastrian Project, New Delhi.  Dinyar now teaches history at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai and earlier served as a faculty member in history at the University of South Carolina.  He received the prestigious 2021 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize for his biography of Dadabhai Naoroji.  The book, ‘Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism,’ published by Harvard University Press, chronicles the contribution of one of the most significant figures in modern Indian history who founded the Indian National Congress.  He was the first British MP of Indian origin, and inspired visionaries like Gandhi and Nehru.

Indian Fulbright-Nehru Alumnus appointed as Consultant for UNESCO- World Heritage Monuments

Suresh Sethuraman was a 2010-11 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Researcher at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C. and a 2015-16 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Scholar at the University of Mary Washington, Virginia.  He is an archaeologist, architectural historian and tourism consultant based in Chennai. 

Suresh has been appointed as a consultant for UNESCO World Heritage Monuments in India by the Union Ministry of Culture.  He is the first person to hold this prestigious position.  He was the Samuel Kress International Lecturer of the Archaeological Institute of America, Boston in 2017 and has been a guest speaker in universities and museums in the United States and Canada.  He has published over 80 research articles in international academic journals and 35 books, including school and college textbooks, exhibition catalogues, tourist guidebooks, travelogues, and historical novels.  He was awarded the 2011 INTACH-SATTE Award for his contributions to heritage tourism and the 2013 P.L. Gupta Memorial Medal of the South Indian Numismatic Society for his research on Roman coins in India. 


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