Wednesday, September 6. 2006
Experiencing America: Through the Eyes of Visiting Fulbright Scholars. Don, an American living in London and a regular reader of the Atlantic Review, wrote a comment suspecting that "the Ivy Leagues and the better public and private universities in the US get the lion's share of the feed, which is a shame in a way because places like Princeton, Palo Alto, and Ann Arbor aren't very typical of the US." He suggested: "Were I to design a visiting scholars program to spread knowledge about the US I'd send most of the scholars to places more typical of where the average American goes to college." Read his entire comment.
It is common criticism against correspondents of the foreign media in the US that they live in the big cities and are biased and don't understand Americans living in the "heartland." Is that true of Fulbrighters as well? I have asked some Fulbrighters if they know anything about the distribution of the Fulbright grants.
Continue reading "At which American Universities do Fulbright Grantees Study and Teach?"
Sunday, August 27. 2006
Two months ago, the burning of an American flag along with a copy Anne Frank's diary (Amazon.com, Amazon.de) has sent shockwaves across Germany. From the European Jewish Press:
More than 100 villagers had gathered on June 24 to celebrate the summer solstice in Pretzien, a village south of Magdeburg in the east German state of Saxony-Anhalt, with a dance and a bonfire. (...) According to the 'Tagesspiegel' newspaper, three local far-right extremists present in the crowd, aged 24, 27 and 28, threw both a US flag and 'Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl' onto the pyre with one man saying: "I commit Anne Frank to the fire." The scene was evocative of the infamous bonfires organised by the Nazis in 1933 in Berlin and across Germany to rid the Third Reich of "degenerate books".This book burning was a singular incident in modern Germany and should not be used for exaggerations. Though in general there are strong links between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism, argues U.S. Fulbright Alumnus Andrei S. Markovits, a political science professor at Ann Arbor and expert on German politics and European culture and soccer, in his book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser. Antiamerikanismus und Antisemitismus in Europa (Amazon.de). The book cover shows a graffiti claiming that Presidential Candidate "Kerry is a Jew too." The book was published in October 2004 and is only available in German, but Dialog International has written a review in English.
Besides, two English working papers by Prof. Markovits can be downloaded as PDF files: "Twin brothers": European Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism and European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): Ever Present Though Always Denied. I have read one of the working papers about a year ago and found his historical analysis and many arguments convincing, but some arguments about the strong ties between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism not so much. Now, after the burning of the Anne Frank Diary along with the American flag, I will need to re-read the working paper or wait for Prof. Markovits' upcoming book Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America (Amazon.com, Amazon.de), which will be available in the U.S. on December 15, 2006 and in Germany in February 2006. Prof. Markovits described his earlier book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser as the basis for the upcoming book.
Following is a snyopsis of Uncouth Nation:
Continue reading "Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism"
Friday, August 18. 2006
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Friday, August 18. 2006
The New Philadelphia Times Reporter from Ohio has long piece by Paul M. Krawzak about William R. Timken Jr., who is from Ohio and was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Germany on August 15, 2005:
Asked if he can point to any major benefits from the improved relationship, Timken is quick to respond. “Boom, look at – Iran,” he replies. Noting a united European front against the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, Timken said the United States and Germany are “working hand in glove trying to develop the strategies to convince the Iranians that this is a bad way to go.” “And I would say two years ago that would probably have been impossible,” he said.Any Anti-Americanism?
His biggest surprise in his German travels has been the hospitable welcome he’s received, leading him to doubt a recent survey showing just 37 percent of Germans with a favorable view of the United States. Despite such polls and the continuing criticism of Bush in the German press, Timken has heard no criticism, he said. I can’t find one person – and I have to admit I haven’t been talking to the communists or the far left – but I can't find one person that says that there is an anti-American feeling in this country,” he said.The poll is from the PEW survey America's Image Slips, But Allies Share U.S. Concerns Over Iran, Hamas.
In an article for The Repository in Canton, Ohio, Paul M. Krawzak writes about the praise for Ambassador Timken:
Gary Smith, executive director of the prestigious American Academy in Berlin, calls Timken “the right person in Germany at the right time.” Smith, who is a Democrat, credits Timken with projecting a positive image of the United States and reaching out to nongovernmental organizations that seek to improve German-American relations. He said Timken and his wife, Sue, who is actively involved at the embassy, are thoughtful and highly motivated.Not everybody appreciates Ambassador Timken's work: Ray D. at Medienkritik was (is?) angry about "the deafening silence" regarding some Anti-Americanism in Germany during last year's election campaign. He thinks that "Americans need to be deeply concerned about their (lack of) representation in Germany." Ray would like to see a U.S. ambassador capable of German and to be more outspoken like Dr. Jeff Gedmin, the director of the Aspen Institute Berlin. What do you think about this?
Germany's last ambassador to the U.S. wrote a relatively outspoken farewell article in the Washington Post .
The U.S. Embassy covers Ambassador Timken's travels around Germany, provides his numerous speeches and his bio and provides a great multimedia archive.
ENDNOTE: If you can read German, check out the Tagesspiegel article (HT: Marian) that describes how Ambassador Timken and Mrs. Timken meet with Berlin youth of Turkish and Arab background. The Timkens meet the youth despite the heat, talk about their problems and provide encouragement and support them. Ambassador Timken's business background impresses the Arabs and Turks. Mrs. Timken encourages some to use their graffity spraying talent to make money by designing and selling T-Shirts and promises to call the American-German Business Club and invites others to their residence. She also organizes volunteers to help girls with a Turkish background to learn better English and much more. Besides, the German-American Fulbright Commission started a Diversity Initiative to send students with a migrant background to US Summer Schools.
The embassy and the State Department in general seem to focus their public diplomacy more and more towards Muslims in Germany and around the world. According to a Foreign Affairs article "Europe's angry Muslims" are considered a risk to U.S. security.
In January, Secretary Rice announced a global repositioning of diplomatic forces away from Europe to the new critical posts of the 21st century. Is the transatlantic partnership going to suffer from this shift or is it the right and overdue shift in response to a new international environment?
Related post in the Atlantic Review: Call for revivial of cultural diplomacy to counter Anti-Americanism.
UPDATE AUGUST 18, 2006: Ray D. with Medienkritik has emailed this CLARIFICATION:
I wouldn't say I was "angry". Disappointed is a better word and mainly with regard to relations with the German media. I think that if Timken really took a look at German media it would not be very difficult for him to find the anti-Americanism he claims never to have encountered. Just look at some recent pieces by Florian Guessgen (who is currently in the USA attempting to prove the US media is gleichgeschaltet and in league with the Bush administration and unable to fulfil its democratic function). What bothers me is the "never rock the boat" approach that the Ambassador and his public diplomacy team seem to be taking. On the other hand, I cannot know all that has happened behind the scenes with the media and so do not want to pass a damning judgement. Additionally, I don't think Gedmin would make the best Ambassador and frankly I am sure Timken and his staff have started many useful outreach programs. It would obviously be helpful if the Ambassador could speak the local language and represent his nation to millions on television to counter the ugly stereotypes and make US policy more clear to the German people. The US sorely needs this sort of representation and maybe the Ambassador could appoint such a person. Maybe the US embassy ought to consider starting a blog as well?
Wednesday, August 16. 2006
Posted by Editors in Fulbright on Wednesday, August 16. 2006
Updated: September 27th, 2006
This is a list of blogs written by Fulbright Alumni and current Fulbright grantees and sorted by the geographic location of the authors.
If you are a Fulbrighter and would like to see your blog in this list or if you know a great blog run by a Fulbrighter, please leave a comment at the end of this post or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org A link to the Atlantic Review in return would be appreciated.
• Informed Comment - Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion is one of the most read and respected blogs about Iraq and authored by Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Fulbright Alumnus.
• Zaineb Alani accepted a Fulbright scholarship in 1996 to study Education at Ohio State University. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. She has forty extended family members who still reside in Iraq. She writes about her "personal life observations" in The Revelations of an Immigrant.
• US Fulbrighter Rosanna Brillantes-Meyer conducted research on the normally secretive shamanistic healers and sorcerers of Siquijor island, Philippines. In Shamans of Siquijor, she writes about her challenging journey to meet the "metaphysical hitmen," and the making of the documentary films on the two groups.
• Eric Howard was a U.S. Fulbright Grantee to Germany in environmental management in 1989. He blogs for the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology, which he has founded and runs as executive director.
• Jiří Harajda is Czech Fulbrighter, who teaches ESL and American Literature at a high school in Los Angeles, California.
• Rob Scaife is a graduate student in Orlando, Florida, and is soon starting his Fulbright in Vienna, Austria. He calls his blog Radio Free Europe.
• Mongkol is a Cambodian Fulbrighter at Boston University.
• The Atlantic Review is a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni in Seattle, Hamburg and Berlin.
North and South America
• Carolyn Tory Harper is a US Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and blogs about her Fulbright Adventures.
• Michelle in Mexico is a "A personal diary of my Fulbright experience" studying music and fine arts.
Can you recommend another blog by a Fulbrighter living in the Americas (excluding the US in this case)?
• Ethan Lindsey is a radio journalist from Los Angeles and currently a Fulbrighter in Berlin for 2006/2007.
• The Atlantic Review is a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni
• Andrew Curry is "a 2005-2006 Fulbright Journalism Fellow in Germany and a freelance writer covering culture, history and international issues a variety of publications."
• Ada Abroad chronicles the life of an American Fulbright Alumna in Muenster, Germany.
• Rocko is an American Fulbrighter, who teaches English in Germany in 2005/2006 and blogs at Schicksal Gemeinschaft.
• Alaina in Göttingen, Germany blogs about Life, the Universe, and Everything.
• Syria Comment is authored by Prof. Joshua Landis, a Fulbright Scholar in Damaskus. His frequently updated blog is one of the most read English news sources about Syrian politics and related US policy and his often quoted in the US mass media.
• Curiousity in a Kingdom is a group blog by three American Fulbrighters "sharing their experiences, ideas and tips on Jordanian life." The three also run their individual websites: Jim Korpi, Elisabeth Page and Will Raynolds.
• Tales from Qatar is run by US Fulbrighter Brendan Geary.
• body on the line is authored by Prof. Marcy Newman, a US Fulbright Scholar in Amman, Jordan.
• Mary C. Joyce, Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow 2004-2005, is still based in Rabat, Morocco, and tracks digital democracy around the world in DemoBlog.
• Katie is in Bangladesh and blogs in Jiggety Jig "proving that even small town life can be interesting."
Saturday, August 5. 2006
Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he would like to see German troops in South Lebanon, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in an interview last week that at the present time she does not support the idea of German troops being part of a peacekeeping contingent in Lebanon. In addition to the obvious historical reasons, the Bundeswehr's capacity is largely exhausted: "We are in Congo, we provide the most troops in the Balkans, and we have our largest contingent in Afghanistan."
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier considers it crucial to involve Syria in any negotiations, while Washington so far refuses to talk to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. (Shortly after the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers, Olmert asked Germany to negotiate with Hezbollah, since the German Intelligence Service suceeded in negotiating prisoner exchanges in the past.)
Germany is prepared to offer Syria economic incentives to woo the country away from Iran and seek a broader diplomatic solution to the Middle East crisis. Steinmeier said: "Syria must decide for itself if the country wants to follow Iran down its path to self-destruction."
U.S. Fulbright Scholar Joshua Landis argues in his SyriaComment blog: "Syria has a big role to play. Trying to shut it out of any agreement will only guarantee that future cease-fires are temporary and fragile."
Fulbright Scholar Raphael Cohen-Almagor is the Director of the Center for Democratic Studies in Haifa (North Israel) and provides background on the Hezbollah War and the Israeli government in his blog Israeli Politics.
Ralf Fücks, member of the executive board of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, which is affiliated with the German Green Party, wants to see Israel in NATO, because he believes "Membership in the transatlantic defensive alliance would give Israel the political and psychological assurance to agree to an historic compromise with the Palestinians by which both sides reciprocally recognize each other as sovereign states." He also hopes that this leads to a nuclear-free zone in the Near- and Middle East. Sounds all more like whishful thinking. Iran vows to produce nuclear fuel despite the recent UN vote, while NATO got even more involved in Afghanistan by taking over command of the dangerous south from the United States. NATO will have some 8,000 troops on the ground in the south - almost double the American force, but less helicopters.
Wednesday, August 2. 2006
• Michael Scott Moore is a Fulbright journalist starting in September and blogs at Radio Free Mike. His most recent post is about President Bush's unsolicited massage of Chancellor Merkel.
• Christy Leonardo blogs at Anglofritz "serving you the transcontinental Zeitgeist." Recently Christy wrote about US ads featuring Germans. USA Today has learned that "A spate of recent ads featuring Germans is putting a humorous spin on a culture not generally known for being lighthearted" and that "Humor rules in several German ads with oompah."
• Clarsonimus is an "amnesic American lost in Berlin," who writes about "the natives" in Observing Hermann. Recently he wrote about the deal hunters chasing Wal-Mart out of town.
• Scot W. Stevenson writes the only American Expat blog in German that I know of. In USA Erklaert, he explains how the USA works. Recently he explained how a law is passed, what real popcorn is, what the origin and meaning of wingnuts and moonbats is and discusses the different doorknobs in the US and Germany.
• Chirol is one of three editors of Coming Anarchy, an excellent blog about world affairs with some great graphics. Germany is not their main focus, but here are a few posts about Germany: The Magical Merkel Tour, Merkel on Iran, and Germany’s Past Military Deployments.
• The Exberliner is not a Blog, but a popular Expat magazine in Berlin.
• Besides, there is Berlin Blogs, a blog aggregator featuring additional German-language Blogs and English-language Blogs by Berliners from all over the world.
With 211,000 American expats, Germany is the fourth most popular country for Americans (excluding military personnel). There are just 13,000 more Americans in the United Kingdom than in Germany. The top two countries are the U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico. I learned this from Republicans Abroad Germany. This volunteer organisation is dedicated to
conducting non-partisan voter registration for U.S. citizens residing in Germany, including assistance with absentee ballots for U.S. federal elections; voter outreach including providing information about Republican policies and candidates; promoting the principles of the U.S. Republican Party through hosting events, fundraising and public outreach; representing U.S. citizens living in Germany in the political process in the United States; and strengthening German-American relations through intercultural exchange and dialogue, including working closely with German organizations and media outlets.• Republicans Abroad Germany has started to recommend interesting articles as many bloggers do. Therefore they are included in his list of bloggers. Their rationale is:
The articles are not selected to reflect the views of RA Germany or its members, but to add to an environment of real intellectual diversity by amplifying Conservative perspectives. In the real world policy is about difficult choices and trade-offs. Transatlantic relations would be well-served by less simplification of the challenges before us and more serious discussion of the actual dilemmas we face.The Democrats Abroad Germany do not provide much information online.
• Another interesting non-Berlin based American expat blog is J Bittner's Germany Doesn't Suck or Does It? He is organizing the Second Whiney Expat Bloggers in Germany Meet Up.
Obviously there are many more great expat bloggers. Please feel free to recommend one in the comments section, incl. your own blog, if you like.
Thursday, July 20. 2006
Posted by Editors in Fulbright on Thursday, July 20. 2006
Eric S. Howard, Executive Director of the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology has written the introduction. The foreword was written by Harriet Mayor Fulbright, the President of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, a non-profit organization which serves to advance the work of Ms. Fulbright’s late husband, Senator J. William Fulbright, and to continue her own lifework; more at her website.
The book includes the following essays: "New York - The Big Apple Seen From its Very Core" by Alessandra Seggi (Italy), "From Makerere to Stanford: The Experience of a Fulbright Scholar" by Winnie Tarinyeba (Uganda), "Five Definitions of America - My Fulbright Journey" by Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani (Pakistan), "From 'Criminal' to Fulbrighter: In the Land of Spartans" by Raymund Espinosa Narag (Philippines), "It’s Fun to Live Your Dream" by Marina Lukanina (Russia), "The Odyssey of a Fulbrighter" by Louis-Marie Ngamassi Tchouakeu (Cameroon), "Fulbright Experience of Love, Selfunderstanding and Selfemancipation" by Lynette J. Chua (Malaysia), "Get back to where you now belong" by Katja Ziehmayer (Austria) and "My Second Life" by Anouk Bachman (Netherlands).
Continue reading "Experiencing America: New Book by Fulbrighters"
Monday, July 3. 2006
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the international Fulbright Exchange Program. (The US-German program is a couple of years younger.) Let's start with a quote from its founder, Senator Fulbright:
There is a multiplier effect in international education and it carries the possibility – the only real possibility – of changing our manner of thinking about the world, and therefore of changing the world. For every university professor whose outlook has been broadened by study in another country, many thousands of students will gain some measure of intercultural perspective. For every business person who has studied in another country, many associates are likely to gain some appreciation of the essential futility of nationalistic economic policies and of the way in which an international division of labor benefits all countries. For every politician who, through study abroad, has gained some appreciation of the world as a human community, untold numbers of ordinary citizens, as well as their leaders, may be guided away from parochialism and narrow nationalism to broader, more fruitful perspectives.The quote is from J. William Fulbright's book The Price of Empire (Amazon.com). The German translation is titled Im Zeichen des Sternenbanners (Amazon.de).
Tomorrow German and American Fulbrighters based in Berlin will celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ and a game watching party: The World Cup semi-final Germany vs. Italy. Happy Fourth of July everybody!
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