When President Truman and a fellow named Fulbright joined forces back in 1946, they offered proof to peace-seeking knowledge-hunters that it's a small world, after all. When Foster the People, B.o.B, J.Cole and Diplo slapped their collective seal of approval on a few more ambitious young minds today, they confirmed that this small world is just one big dance floor, after all. Introducing the 2012-2013 Fulbright-mtvU Fellows.
Like we pointed out last winter, the Fulbright-mtvU grant is a partnership between one of the most prestigious academic awards in the country and, well, one of the most dedicated names in collegiate music media (if we do say so ourselves). mtvU has always known that music can be quick to spark social change, but this fellowship helps students go out and prove it. After all, the more evidence we have, the more light these scholars shed, the more we may just sing and dance our way toward world peace.
The panel of judges — including those four industry insiders listed above — survived the challenge of teasing out four winners who will fan out across the globe to tackle highly focused, self-designed projects:
+ Albulena Shabani, a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad plans to start an open mic night for women in Kosovo, offering a supportive community for survivors deeply traumatized by their country's 1999 war. She'll make a film about the project, too, so hopefully we can all get a peek at how music might just help to heal old wounds.
+ Jeff Roy, working on his PhD in Ethnomusicology at UCLA (which, lets be honest, is a special kind of awesome already), will head to Mumbai, India to learn about how the local LGBT community uses music and dance to help navigate questions of social, political and personal identity.
+ Katherine Cloutier, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, plans to "bring awareness to the prevalence of HIV in Barbadian youth by researching how they use music." She'll partner with dance4life and head to Barbados, Rihanna's original sandy stomping grounds to get young activists talking about sexual health.
+ Sebastian Modak, a U Penn grad and part-time indie drummer, will head to Botswana to tap into the local hip-hop community — fans of a local sub-genre known as motswako — in the hopes of creating a strong collection of musicians dedicated to tackling the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic.
If just reading about their projects prompted your own inner wanderluster/researcher to rear his/her head, then you're in luck: the Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships are now open for 2012-2013 submissions. Think large, far and wide. This small world needs your big ideas.