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Middle Eastern Studies’ Samer M. Ali Receives Fulbright Award

Samer M. Ali, associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant in the amount of $46,120 to do research in Egypt and Kuwait during the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Ali will conduct research in archives for a book project titled “The Medieval Arabic Islamic Public Sphere” exploring the ways that individuals and groups in the Middle East used literature from about the tenth to the fifteenth century to participate in a sphere of common social and political concerns. The project uses case studies to illustrate that the Middle East has within its native past, traditions which fostered the seeds of democracy and participation.

Ali is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 286,500 people – 108,160 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 178,340 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States – with the opportunity to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Among the thousands of prominent Fulbright alumni are: Muhammad Yunus, managing director and founder, Grameen Bank, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006; Javier Solana, foreign policy chief, European Union; Ruth Simmons, president, Brown University; Craig Barrett, chairman of the board, Intel Corporation; Shamshad Akhtar, the first woman to hold the position of governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Alejandro Jara, deputy director-general, World Trade Organization; Justice Raoul Cantero, Florida Supreme Court; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, writer; Daniel Libeskind, architect; Aneesh Raman, CNN Middle East correspondent; and Sibusiso Sibisi, president and CEO, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.