U.S. Department of State and mtvU Announce Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship Winners

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 8, 2009

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced today the four 2009 winners of the Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships, established in 2007 to promote “the power of music” as a global force for mutual understanding. The Fellowships were awarded to Andrew Magill of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Michael Silvers of the University of California – Los Angeles, Rod Solaimani of Georgetown University and Tina Wadhwa of Columbia University. Recipients were chosen through a multi-tiered, merit-based selection process beginning with field and discipline reviews by U.S. and foreign academic leaders and area experts. mtvU and musical icons Death Cab for Cutie, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, Santigold and Vampire Weekend then reviewed and nominated the top qualified candidates. Final selection was made by the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
The four Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship winners will conduct research abroad in Malawi, Brazil, Morocco, and India, respectively, for one academic year on projects of their own design, around an aspect of international musical culture. Winners will share their experiences with their peers during their Fulbright year via video reports, blogs and podcasts that will be showcased on mtvU and mtvU.com, and on http://www.fulbright.mtvU.com. Through the creation of this fellowship, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU are promoting the role of music in mutual understanding, invigorating interest in international education among U.S. college and university students, and furthering the positive impact of public-private partnerships.
The Fulbright program and mtvU also announced today the launch of their search for the next Fulbright-mtvU Fellows. Applications will be accepted through October 19, 2009. For more information visit: http://www.us.fulbrightonline.org or http://www.fulbright.mtvU.com.

Fulbright-mtvU Fellows

Andrew Magill, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a B.A. in Cultural Studies in May 2009, will travel to Malawi to work with the UNC Malawi Project and AIDS organizations to video-record narratives of Malawian families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Andrew will collaborate with Peter Mawanga, a well-known musician and social activist, to develop a concept album whose sales will benefit AIDS social service networks.

Michael Silvers, a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, will travel to Brazil to study the relationship between the culture of forró, a kind of popular dance music, and the climate of northeastern Brazil. Working with Vila Estúdio, a recording studio in Fortaleza, Ceará; accordionists from around the state; and a quadrilha square dance ensemble, he will explore the ways in which climate change and drought have impacted how and why people make music.

Rod Solaimani, who graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Policy in 2008, will travel to Morocco to study and participate in the Afro-Arab-Gnawa-Western musical exchange. A skilled percussionist, he will research the impact of U.S.-Moroccan musical partnerships in three cities, use his findings in local high school music curricula and promote cross-cultural collaboration with a student concert.

Tina Wadhwa, who graduated from Columbia University in 2007 with a BA in Political Science and Economics, will travel to India to create a documentary exploring the impact and influence of Bollywood music on underprivileged youth in Mumbai. She will also develop the music and drama center of the Akanksha Foundation while focusing on the role of music as a vehicle for collective expression and understanding among the children.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. Since 1946, it has provided more than 294,000 participants from over 155 countries with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. For more information visit: http://fulbright.state.gov.

Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses, mtvU reaches upwards of 9 million U.S. college students, making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can’t be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. For more information, visit www.mtvU.com.

Press Contact: Darlene Kirk, ECA, 202-203-7616 or kirkdx@state.gov

PRN: 2009/693