Fulbright Scholar Stories
The University of Sydney
Postgraduate Scholar, African-American History
“International educational exchange is the most significant project designed to continue the process of humanizing mankind to the point, we would hope, that men can learn to live in peace, eventually even to cooperate in constructive activities rather than compete in a mindless contest of mutual destruction."
- Senator J. William Fulbright, Remarks on the 30th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program, 1976.
Having just returned from nine months in New York on a Fulbright scholarship, I can fully attest to the truth in Senator Fulbright’s words. In every way, the Fulbright experience has challenged and enriched my perspectives on life. It has given me the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and vibrant intellectual community at Columbia University History Department. Professors Mark Mazower and Eric Foner offered me the benefit of their direct mentorship, pushing me to develop my thinking in new ways.
More broadly, the academic conversations that I was able to take part in through seminars and workshops at Columbia not only took my research in exciting directions but also prompted me to reflect in new ways upon my approach to scholarly practice and its relation to civic engagement. Already, I have applied these lessons to my writing and research – publishing both in scholarly journals and in more accessible forums - and I cannot wait to integrate what I have learnt into my teaching and community involvement in Sydney.
The Fulbright enabled me to complete a sustained period of archival research at pertinent U.S. Archives that would otherwise have been impossible. My work took me from the Schomburg Centre in Harlem to the Amistad Centre in New Orleans, from the United Nations archives in New York to the National Archives in Maryland, allowing me to travel throughout America and meet Americans from all walks of life. I have made fantastic friends who have opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about the world & I have been able to share a little bit of what it means to be an Australian.