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2010-2011 FELLOWSHIP

Elias Aba Milki, Amherst College
The Application of Hip Hop in Holistic Healing
South Africa, Brazil, Uganda
I worked with artists and activists that push the boundaries of hip-hop by using it to heal their communities. These projects range from empowering youth to leave gangs to drug-rehab programs. I worked with the members of these organizations to make films where they exercised complete creative control. These documentaries all touch on the question of how hip-hop can help.

Clinton Agresti, University of Puget Sound
Beneath the Sounds: Exploring and Preserving the Music of Community
Mongolia, Ukraine, Ghana, Bolivia
As globalization advances, many of the world's diverse soundscapes are changing and fading, as are the unique cultural contexts that inspire them. Clinton traversed four continents while exploring a selection of vibrant musical cultures of diverse ethnic extraction: Zakchin, Hutsul, Ashanti, and Aymara. He conducted interviews and played music, attempting to understand how musical traditions anchor identities and enrich lives.

Roxanna Azari, Wheaton College
Voices Behind the Veil
France, Morocco, Turkey, India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates
Roxy examined the vast interpretations and symbolizations of veiling/unveiling for Muslim Women. She explored how the controversy surrounding veiling often serves as a tool to veil our eyes from seeing women's activism and political involvement. Roxy combined her passions for poetry, performance, and film by running spoken word workshops and engaging in activism with young women around the world.

Carina Baskett, Rice University
Natural Connections: Fostering Relationships with the Environment
Ecuador, Chile, Panama, Spain
Developing a personal relationship with nature encourages people to love, respect, and ultimately protect the environment. Carina worked with scientists, indigenous Amazonians, activists, farmers, and children to better understand people's diverse interactions with nature, and she gained practical experience with various environmental outreach methods, e.g., podcasting about natural history and sustainability, creating educational posters, and leading guided tours.

Seth Bergeson, Whitman College
Kids at Play: An Exploration of Children's Games and Childhood Experiences
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Rwanda, Uganda, Jordan, Cambodia, China, India
Seth played games with children to learn what these games revealed about childhoods and cultures in different communities. He explored how games around the world are similar and unique, and how kids improvise games using objects from wood to sandals. While learning about these games, Seth also taught games from different countries to children, creating a global play exchange.

Robert Best, Harvey Mudd College
Visions of Green: Eco-Cities and Sustainability Across Cultures
China, United Arab Emirates, India, United Kingdom, Germany
With world supplies of natural resources dwindling and climate change effects looming, there is an imperative to shift our mode of urban living to a more sustainable pathway. During his year, Rob explored the models of "eco-cities" and ecological buildings advocated worldwide, and learned from residents and professionals alike about the unique challenges of sustainable placemaking in diverse nations.

Andrey Bilko, Ursinus College
Rebirth of Judaism in the Post-Soviet World
Germany, Czech Republic, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Andrey examined the ongoing revival of Judaism in the post-Soviet world, while also comparing it to Western European Jewish life. Spending time with older and younger generations of Jews and hearing about their experiences allowed to better understand the persistence of Jewish cultural and religious identity in the face of oppression enforced by past communist regimes.

Simone Biow, Bryn Mawr College
Creative Destruction: How Developing Nations Weather Climate Changes
Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Mozambique
Major global climate changes are profoundly impacting lives throughout the developing world. People in already struggling nations have had to creatively adapt to more severe weather. In order to discover how people not only survive, but even manage to thrive, in adverse weather conditions, Simone travelled to regions affected by recent natural disasters or climate changes to document their resilience.

Maia Brown, Oberlin College
Sumud with Tzedek: Can Ireland and South Africa Inform Palestine-Israel?
Ireland, South Africa
Through grassroots oral history, storytelling, and art practices, as well as radical approaches to education and literacy, Maia explored the contested territory of memory and 'reconciliation' after political violence. What are the implications of the often unacknowledged entanglements and persistent injustices of 'transitional societies' be for Palestine/Israel? How do activists think about Palestine from their own histories of struggle?

Charles Cavness, Middlebury College
Exploring Definitions Of Value In Geothermal Energy Entrepreneurship
Iceland, China, Spain, Argentina, Chile
The future of renewable energy will demand new solutions, new leaders, and new definitions of value. Cully explored these aspects of clean power developers, entrepreneurs, technologists, financiers, and their customers. He spent one year working with the leaders of clean energy companies, and focused principally on geothermal energy, wind, and waste heat recovery.

Jeanette Charles, Scripps College
Afro-American Voices through a History of People's Literature
Venezuela, Guatemala
This project explored the roots of African diasporic history imbedded in popular literary expressions in the Americas deconstructing "mestizo" identity as the cultural, historical and social standard. Through poetry, short stories, oral histories, lyrics and musicality of drumming and chanting this project engaged in the traumas of the diaspora and beauty of African spirit in Garifuna, Haitian and Afro-Venezuelan communities.

Lisa Chung, Oberlin College
The Medium and the Message: Mapping Electronic Art Around the Globe
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Spain
Both idealism and skepticism have long surrounded popular views of technology, but it is important to remember the human aspect: technology inherently contains the idiosyncrasies of the people who created it. Lisa spent the year collaborating with people at the intersection of art and technology, gaining insight as to how various projects reflect the cultures they are created in.

Nadim Damluji, Whitman College
Following Tintin’s Footsteps: Reconciling the Charm of Hergé’s Racism
Belgium, France, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, China
Nadim traced the racist elements of the universally beloved The Adventures of Tintin by following the titular hero's footsteps through the former colonies he once travelled. Nadim plunged into alternative comic book cultures to understand how artists have historically resisted Hergé's Orientalist depictions and how contemporary comics creators have managed to create vibrant political communities using the same medium.

Sarah Ebel, Bowdoin College
In Motion with the Ocean: Community Organizing in Coastal Communities
Chile, New Zealand, Indonesia, Tanzania, Scotland
Oceans connect every region of the world as a living, breathing organism. As fisheries around the world collapse and community economies decline, it is now vital that we value coastal communities dependent on natural resources. Sarah spent the year exploring education and policy efforts implemented by community-based organizations that are working to combat environmental and economic degradation.

Blakeslee Evitt, Davidson College
Making the Jump: Exploring the Evolving Role of Parkour in a Global Context
United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, Norway
Going beyond the high-flying moves of parkour, Blake explored the philosophy that unites practitioners around the globe despite cultural and geographic obstacles. While searching for the emerging identity of parkour, he investigated the sport's natural appeal to people, and how to best use the philosophy and training at the heart of parkour as an agent for social change.

Frederick Franke, Union College
Out of the Kitchen and Into the Fire: Exploring Open-Fire Cooking Methods
India, Jamaica, Turkey, Vietnam, Argentina
People don't generally like to eat alone; food is a necessity, but it also serves to bring us together, reinforcing and creating social bonds. Rahde explored the ways that people cook with fire in different food cultures, learning how these methods bring people together and how those involved self-identify in the global society of food.

Shae Frydenlund, Colgate University
The Yarsagumba Effect: Documenting the Ecology of Medicinal Plant Markets
China, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, Albania
Medicinal plants are a valuable commodity worldwide, but industry trade flow does not always positively impact people and the environment. Corporate interest in traditional medicine has caused problems with respect to intellectual property rights and resource conservation. Shae spent the year living with indigenous peoples and filming a documentary about the complex relationship between medicinal plants, economy and the environment.

Taliesin Gilkes-Bower, Bard College
Beats, Bits and Space: Digital Mediation of Youth Voices
Jamaica, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina
Around the globe, marginalized young people utilize inexpensive computers to communicate through electronic music. Whereas once the guitar was a common instrument the world over, its role is being supplanted by the personal computer. As a Watson Fellow, I joined the communities creating this music to study their work and to share my own. I collaborated on studio work, live performances and through consulting on artist management. In addition, I explored the urban spaces and social networks that form the context of this music.

Nathan Hall, Berea College
Inspiring Vision for a New World: Rural Economies as Sustainable Pioneers
United Kingdom, Romania, India, Austria, Thailand, Germany
A native of coal country in Central Appalachia, Nathan set out to find communities that paralleled his own while also looking for sustainable solutions that apply to such regions. He traveled to remote, hilly locales and places currently or formerly economically dependent on mining. He also found and worked with projects based on renewable energy, organic farming, and land remediation.

Alison Harrington, Wellesley College
Rewriting the Rules: Muslim Women in Policing and Peacekeeping
Turkey, United Kingdom, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Indonesia, Bangladesh
This year Alison has traveled between Europe, the Middle East and Asia to investigate the responsibilities of Muslim police women. While originally focused on Muslim counties, this project expanded to include issues of policing and Islamophobia in the UK. Overall she has experienced great successes and failures in gaining access to the sensitive world of policing.

Maya Higgins, Scripps College
Islands in Paradise or Islands in Peril? Ecotourism in Fragile Environments
New Zealand, Madagascar, Yap, Ecuador, New Zealand
Ecotourism is marketed as a method of conserving unique species and cultures. However, in extremely vulnerable areas, such as islands, which are filled with endemic species unable to easily adapt to change, increased foot traffic from tourism can threaten ecological health. Maya explored whether ecotourism could serve as a conservation strategy on islands or whether it merely accelerates environmental degradation.

Jonathon Jenner, Earlham College
Worker and Producer Cooperatives: Their Communities and Contexts
Argentina, Spain, Italy, India
Though worker and producer cooperatives have a long and diverse history the world over, and present a compelling alternative to the tried antagonism between capital and labor, they've been largely ignored by the world's movers and shakers. Against this, Jonathan sought to answer: what challenges do cooperatives face today, and what - if any - promise do they still hold?

Jody Joyner, Colorado College
On the Land: A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Nature and the Environment in Art
United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe, Canada
How do artists convey visually their perceptions of and connections to the natural world? Can art cultivate a sense of place? Jody spent her year immersed in unique landscapes investigating pre-historic, traditional and contemporary artistic traditions that incorporate nature. She examined how artists respond to the lands they inhabit and how their response reflects both their community and culture.

Madeline Kreider Carlson, Haverford College
To Craft a Community: Women's Craft Organizations and Sustainability
Guatemala, Egypt, Indonesia, Uganda, Mongolia
Madeline studied the art and socio-economic importance of crafts, exploring women's craft organizations and the ways they create economic vitality and affect community value systems by providing equitable livelihood and sustaining cultural artisan traditions. By learning crafts, Madeline grew as an artist, inheriting craft traditions from women across the world, and discovered new ways of crafting community.

Skye Lawrence, Bowdoin College
Public Health Projects: Searching for Sustainability
Guatemala, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand, Morocco
Through interview, participation and observation Skye spent her year grappling with the question: What works best in development? Against this backdrop she investigated the role culture plays in successful interventions and uncovered parallels in different development projects that transcend cultural difference.

Benjamin Lownik, Hendrix College
(**deferral from 2009-2010 Class)
A Revolutionary Vehicle:
How Bicycles Transform Lives Throughout the World

Germany, Austria, Denmark, Holland, France, Spain, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Ghana, China, Cambodia, Vietnam
Transportation not only provides access to our vital needs but facilitates the exploration and transformation of who we are and the world we live in. The bicycle's simplicity allows it to be easily transformed to meet these needs, and because people's needs vary tremendously, the ways bicycles are used differ radically. Ben Lownik explored how bicycles are adapted to address the needs of people in the substantially different socio-economic conditions of Europe, Africa, and Asia to study how bicycles transform people's lives throughout the world.

Jose Martinez, Williams College
Alienation or Liberation? Migration, Politics, and the Printed Press in Middle Eastern Communities
Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Morocco, Netherlands
The political emotions undergone during migration are an often-ignored element of the difficulties intrinsic to this complex experience. To better comprehend the wide-array of policies and consequences migration engenders, I closely examined politics and the printed press in a variety of Middle Eastern immigrant communities, while seeking to understand my own ancestors' journey along with the lives of those whom I met.

James Morton, Union College
Large Format Cargo: Photographing the Shipping Industry
South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany
With 4x5" color film and a large format view camera, Burleigh documented the global merchant shipping industry. A seemingly infinite combination of interests and nationalities compose this complex network responsible for hauling over 90% of the world's cargo. During the year Burleigh focused his camera on many varied aspects of the industry, from individual laborers in a world that undervalues physical work, to ships 1,200 feet in length, as well as a great deal in between.

Lauren Nutter, College of the Atlantic
Voices for the Future: Youth, Passion, and Sustainable Change
Turkey, Belgium, India, Peru, Netherlands, Argentina
Today's decisions, especially irreversible decisions concerning resources and the environment, are vital to the future livelihood of young people. Since it is their future, and since nearly one in five people are between the ages of 15 and 24, youth must be included and empowered in the decision-making process. By focusing on varying cultural contexts, challenges, and examples of success, Lauren gained an understanding of different catalysts, sustained models, and successful approaches for youth participation in protecting the environment.

Frances O'Connell, University of the South
Girls Who Boof
Costa Rica, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Swizerland, France
Following seasons of snowmelt and rainfall across mountainous regions of the globe, Allie explored a unique sense of place and community through creek boating, a type of whitewater kayaking specialized for navigating technical headwater creeks. She focused on the experiences of women in the dominantly male sport, communities' connection with the environment, and compared these experiences of interacting closely with nature to life in an urban setting.

Timothy Richards, Haverford College
Holistic Environmentalism: Community Approaches to Sustainability
Argentina, Australia, India, New Zealand, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, Thailand
The ecovillage, Permaculture, and Transition Town movements are three international grassroots attempts at manifesting ecologically, economically, socially, and spiritually sustainable lifeways. Tim participated in these movements to study the theory and practice of sustainability in intentional and conventional communities across cultures. He experienced how human life can become more holistically sustainable with respect to environment, economy, community, culture, and self.

Kevin Rowe, Hamilton College
Farm to Table: World Cities and the Changing Landscapes of Cuisine
Cyprus, India, China, Nicaragua, Chile
How does a metropolis feed millions every day? Seeking a window into the life of cities through their recipes, Kevin traversed the geography of the food system, planting and harvesting with farmers and urban gardeners, cooking in the kitchens of grandmothers and restaurants, and exploring the issues of food, environment, and justice with local activists.

Jennifer Rusciano, Colgate University
Bittersweet: Exploring the Light and Dark Sides of Cocoa Production
United Kingdom, France, Madagascar, Ghana, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica. The Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa
The world's chocolate begins with the lives and lands that produce the cacao bean. Jen investigated chocolate production and its intimate connection to cacao agriculture, from the factory to the fields of farming communities. By living and working alongside individuals across the supply chain, Jen explored the reach of this bittersweet treat and the human face of commodity production.

Anson Stewart, Swarthmore College
School Bus Migrations: Recycling Transit in the Global South
Belize, Nicaragua, Panama, Tanzania, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Brazil
A southward flow of used buses from the Global North has historically supplied the mass transportation fleets of many developing countries. The emerging bus rapid transit model, pioneered in South America, is replacing many such older vehicles and their related informal operating systems. From bus factories to scrapyards, Anson investigated these trends through the perspectives of passengers, operators, and policymakers.

Andrew Terwilliger, Carleton College
Silk and Bamboo: Chinese Music in Diaspora
Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, France
I continued my lifelong passion for playing in musical ensembles by joining musicians of the Chinese tradition in East Asia. By playing with these groups, as I learned to play in each tradition, I discovered firsthand the differences between each. To fully understand the musical environment of each location, I learned from both nonprofessional Silk and Bamboo ensembles and professional musicians and contrasted the repertoire, musical styles, and group dynamics of each country.

Nathan Thomas, Hendrix College
Educational Prosperity: Cultural Education in Four Metropolitan Schools
India, South Africa, Australia, Finland
Educational institutions can create students who are prosperous not only in academics but also in character. Nathan has spent his year exploring how schools and communities, renowned for capitalizing on its educational culture, establish an education philosophy that broadens academic focus. He gained first-hand knowledge by teaching, observing, and attending education conferences around the world.

Filippos Rodger Tsakiris, Grinnell College
No Island is an Island: An Alternative Approach to Global Sustainability
United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden, Tonga, New Zealand
Island communities worldwide are threatened by global financial competition, rising sea-levels and environmental disasters, while remain restrained by their limited physical resources, small populations and need to import staples. In an attempt to ensure the sustainability of his own Mediterranean island community, Filippos visited islands that present innovative solutions in ecotourism, local organic food production and local renewable energy utilization.

Max Wall, Hamilton College
Preserving Cultures: Exploring Fermented Foodways
United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Ireland, Ghana, India, Thailand
Throughout history humans have used fermentation to preserve and transform their food. By participating in various fermentation practices around the world, Max explored the historical significance of fermentation practices, their role in shaping cultural identities, and their potential to contribute to the creation of a more adequate, equitable, and environmentally sustainable food system.

Corey Watts, Williams College
No One to the Rescue: The Experience of Emergencies
Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, South Africa, Ethiopia, Turkey
Emergencies strike whether we are prepared or not. This former firefighter and EMT explored developing countries through the firsthand experiences of everyday rescuers and victims. From volunteer firefighters in the Andes to night-shift ambulance crews in Johannesburg, the men and women on the front lines are caught between daily danger and perpetual neglect.

Alex Winter, Lawrence University
Video Game Culture Studies in East Asia
Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand
When successful, CHWs can be a vital component of health provision systems. However, their success varies across program models. Interested in community engagement and participatory action, Liana explored how CHW programs were implemented in collaboration with their patient population. She also looked at how programs address cultural understandings of illness in their trainings, curriculum and ultimately their day-to-day outreach.

Liana Woskie, Wesleyan University
Bringing Primary Healthcare Home: The Community Health Worker
Tanzania, Rwanda, Turkey, Bangladesh, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, India
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are able to act as bridge between patients and biomedical care. When successful, they can be an effective and vital part of health provision systems; they have the unique ability to reach populations that have been deemed medically unreachable. However, their success varies across cultures and program models. During my Wanderjahr, I would like to gain an understanding of what resources and structures are necessary to make a CHW both be and feel successful in reaching their patients comprehensively and effectively.

*Travel to this country is permitted only if the U. S. State Department lifts its travel warning.

© Copyright 2014 The Thomas J. Watson Foundation