Fulbright Alumni: Giving Back to Their Communities
‎Fulbright‬ alumnus and violinist Khaled Saleh and his musical ensemble, Awtar Quartet, presented classical music performances for children in Egypt.

The calendar year may be ending, but we are only just beginning to see the incredible impacts from the 2015 Fulbright Alumni Community Action Grants program. From July to November 2015, 15 Fulbright Foreign Student alumni implemented community-based projects in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and the West Bank/Gaza.  These community projects included teaching underprivileged youth about computer science and robotics in Iraq, bringing awareness of climate change and promoting “green” living in Jordan, exposing Egyptian students to traditional music and instruments, and teaching conflict resolution through interactive communication in the West Bank. Funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, each alumni grantee received up to $5,000 to implement his or her project

Our Fulbright alumni never cease to amaze us. Not only did these grantees conceptualize and implement 15 unique projects, but they proved that the Fulbright Program is an impact multiplier. For these alumni, their Fulbright grants were transformative experiences that continue to benefit not only themselves, but also their communities, countries and the world.

Riman Barakat, West Bank Fulbright alumna (2010–12), brought students from different communities in East and West Jerusalem together to make beautiful candles and lasting friendships through her ACAG project.

Riman says that during the three-day workshop students learned a variety of life-long skills through candle-making; that includes patience. As Riman says, "candle-making takes time!"

Mohammed Mrini , Moroccan Fulbright alumnus (1997–2001), held a seminar using his photographs of natural sites of the Gharb Region of northern Morocco to encourage discussion of eco-friendly development practices. More than 30 representatives from local government and civil society attended, many of whom expressed a renewed commitment to preserving the region’s beauty.

“I’ve never seen the region from this beautiful angle!” said one participant.

Mohammed hopes to expand this project as a traveling photo exhibition for schools and organizations throughout the Gharb Region.

May Sayrafi, West Bank Fulbright alumna (2007–09) combined innovation and architecture to re-design two popular public spaces in the West Bank: an outdoor area at Ramallah’s Medical Complex and a busy roundabout at the entrance to the city of Al-Bireh. May, along with students from Birzeit University, rejuvenated these community areas by creatively incorporating natural materials into existing structures.

Maiss Razem, Jordanian Fulbright alumna (2003–05), implemented “Bayti-Bee'ati,” a program to educate Jordanian middle school students on the importance of sustainable living and ecologically friendly architecture. This project taught 12-14 year old students about green healthy homes by showing home models, showcasing energy saving devices, and teaching water-saving techniques.

These are just a few of the amazing 2015 Alumni Community Action Grant projects. Photos and videos from other projects, as well as information about the program, can be found here: Fulbright MENA ACAG Facebook Album.