Fulbright Scholar to discuss educational policies for refugees

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Event Date
Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Building L), Berry Auditorium
A headshot of Dr. Jehad Alayasa

Fulbright Scholar Dr. Jehad Alayasa, a visiting professor at Portland State University from Birzeit University, will visit HFC from Wednesday, May 22, through Saturday, May 25.

Alayasa, who teaches public policy, will speak about educational policies for refugees in fragile states. At PSU, Alayasa has designed and taught a course about the history of Arab countries since the Ottoman Empire, and related topics.

Alayasa, who earned his Ph.D. in public policy affairs from PSU, teaches public policy, strategic management, and sustainable development policy courses. His research interests include:

  • Public policy reform
  • Educational reform and engagement of refugees and minorities in education
  • Sustainable development policy implementation
  • Reconstruction of war-torn countries based on sustainable development approaches
  • The role of youth in influencing public policy

On May 23 from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., Alayasa will speak about social development and reconstructing the education system in Arab countries with a focus on refugee engagement. The presentation will take place in the Berry Auditorium of the ASCC (L) Building. The audience will have opportunities to ask questions following the presentation.

“During this visit to HFC, I am going to present my newly finished research about reconstructing nations on the aftermath of conflicts and war that depend on sustainable development approaches where we include a lot of refugees and fractioned communities under the assumption of leaving no one behind,” said Alayasa. “The assumption here is that including people in education is a key to rebuilding a post-war, struggling society. This is parallel to protecting the environment from the impact of wars. I believe learning from each other is a key to success.”

For the rest of his time in Michigan, Alayasa is interested in visiting an elementary school to meet educational staff and learn about interventions. He also plans to tour local cultural and historic sites.

“My students need to understand the backgrounds of local students both theoretically and practically,” said HFC Pre-Education Director Dr. Carolyn Casale. “My students meet children who have recently arrived in the United States, and they have the opportunity to talk with teachers and staff on how they meet the challenges these children face.”

In addition to education careers, Casale notes that HFC students may choose to major in public health or related disciplines that address some of the same human rights and sociopolitical factors. The HFC Public Health program, chaired by Dr. Kenetra Young, could be a pathway to public policy for those who are interested.

Fulbright Scholars at HFC

Casale is one of two Fulbright Scholars on the HFC faculty. The other is Dr. Hashim Al-Tawil, who teaches art history.

“During Dr. Alayasa’s visit, I’ll briefly discuss how my Fulbright Scholarship helped guide me on my career path and how it mirrors components of what I do at HFC in developing higher education partnerships at the elementary level,” said Casale. “These partnerships provide my students with hands-on field experiences. It is equally beneficial to the local schools because those P-5 students are provided with resources they might not normally receive.”

Meaning of Fulbright scholarship: “knowledge, reason, compassion, peace, friendship”

Considered one of the most prestigious scholarships in the U.S., the Fulbright Program was founded by Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946. Its mission is “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.”

The Fulbright Program is administered by several cooperating organizations, including the Institute of International Education. It operates in more than 160 countries. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State sponsors the Fulbright Program.

“Fulbright is a great opportunity for professors to enhance their research and teaching opportunities in a new cultural context that is full of learning,” said Alayasa. “As a visiting professor in the U.S., Fulbright provides opportunities to visit different places, including universities, research and academic centers, and policymaking institutions. Students are enjoying the discussions and we rarely finish classes on time.”