MCC awarded Fulbright-Hays Group Overseas Project in Cambodia

In partnership with Lowell Public Schools, Middlesex Community College received its fourth Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad grant to send 10 Middlesex and LPS educators to Cambodia in the summer of 2023.

According to Fellowship Director Lara Kradinova and Program Manager Kerri Gamache – both English teachers at MCC – “the heart of this project is to amplify Cambodian American voices, stories, and cultures in classrooms. of MCC and LPS to promote increased cultural awareness, inspire mutual understanding and connection, and promote empathy and shared healing in the community amid the ongoing pandemic. Our hope is to center Cambodian American stories, stories, voices and scholarship in future MCC and LPS classes.

The “Healing Connections: Art, Education and Well-being” scholarship brings together the disciplines of social sciences, health and humanities. The trip will explore how access to equitable education and culturally appropriate health services for Cambodian/Khmer communities – coupled with exposure to traditional cultural arts – can create a deeper sense of belonging for students and create the conditions necessary for success in the Greater Lowell community.

“LPS is thrilled to participate in this prestigious endeavor with MCC, making this our third Fulbright-Hays GPA together,” said Phala Chea, LPS English Language Teaching Program Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist for Fulbright Grants. 2016 and 2023. “The GPA will give educators the time and resources to engage in research, learn, share, collaborate, and be able to bring new perspectives, ideas, and lessons back to their classrooms. a key goal is to provide educators with professional and personal enrichment that will impact and advance teaching and learning and student and family engagement.

The group plans to visit non-profit education and health organizations in Cambodia with a focus on the impact of access to education, health, arts and culture within different communities in Cambodia on young people and communities. The group will meet with the US Ambassador, Minister of Education and visit secondary schools including the Royal University of Fine Arts and the American University of Phnom Penh.

“We will meet traditional dance artists, contemporary artists, talk to non-profit organizations that provide access to education for women and rural communities,” Kradinova said. “We will also go to a non-profit conservation organization, an elephant sanctuary whose employees are Aboriginal people living in the nearby village who also support the local school.”

Community grant partners include UMass Lowell, Center for Hope and Healing, Cambodian Mutual Aid Association, METTA Health Clinic, and Refuge Arts. Yary Livan, MCC ceramics professor and National Heritage Scholar, will also travel with the group.

Prior to the trip, the MCC will organize an interdisciplinary weekend dedicated to Cambodian arts and culture this spring. Events include a visit to a local temple, ceramic and dance workshops, a traditional music concert and Cambodian food.

Both Kradinova and Gamache participated in MCC’s Fulbright-Hays grant to Cambodia in 2016.

“The Fulbright has enriched our courses and our personal lives immensely,” said Kradinova. “It was a life-changing experience. We were exposed to so many new ways of thinking and doing, and we still practice them in our classes. It was amazing to see a new culture and experience it during the whole month. We hope to extend this experience this time around.

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