Top Return to IEW Home Page
Photo for Fulbright Panel for International Education

Fulbright Panel for International Education Week: Discussion with Fulbright Scholars on their experiences with Fulbright

Monday, November 15, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This event is organized by The International Education Week Event.


Fulbright Panel for International Education Week:

Perspectives from Current Fulbright Scholars and Alumni


Monday, November 15, 2021

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM




In this panel discussion, current Fulbright scholars and alumni – with a diversity of academic backgrounds ranging from international and internal conflicts, migration, climate change and science and technology – will discuss their experiences as Fulbright awardees and how it has shaped them. They will also share the process of applying for the program in each of their home countries, and their work with an advisor or faculty associate in the United States. We anticipate this to be a candid discussion where panelists will discuss how they settled into a new city, the associations they’ve made through the exchange program, their areas of research in the United States and how they are adjusting to life in Los Angeles. Some of the extraordinary achievements of Fulbright Scholar alumni will be discussed.  The panel will end with a short Q&A session so that viewers can ask any questions they have about the Fulbright Program.

The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program began in 1946, soon after World War II when Senator William Fulbright initiated legislation in the US Senate to foster cross-cultural understanding through education exchange. More than 380,000 alumni have benefited from the Fulbright program to date. Our discussion will reflect the fact that the Fulbright Program currently operates in the context of a rapidly changing global order with huge inequalities in education world-wide. 




Ellen Van Damme
Fulbright Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles

Ellen Van Damme is a Fulbright post-doctoral researcher at the Center for the Study of International Migration (CSIM), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she studies female migration from the Honduran countryside to the U.S. Her research is qualitative in nature, and focuses on multicausal factors of migration, with a particular focus on climate change as a push factor. Dr. Van Damme has a BA and MA in Criminology (KU Leuven, Belgium), an MA in Conflict & Development (Ghent University), and a PhD in Criminology (KU Leuven, Belgium). Between 2013 and 2015 she conducted research on gangs and youth at risk in Central America and South Africa. Dr. Van Damme was a 2016-2020 PhD fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) at the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC), KU Leuven, Belgium. Her PhD research concerned the role of women in and around gangs in Honduras, Central America.


Robert Sukiasyan
Fulbright Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles

Robert Sukiasyan (Ph.D., National Academy of Sciences Armenian Genocide Institute-Museum, 

2019; currently on leave from The UNESCO Chair for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Atrocities at Yerevan State University) is a current Fulbright student at UCLA. In collaboration with Profs. Peter Cowe, Sebouh Aslanian, and others at UCLA and in the region, Dr. Sukiasyan’s research project, titled “Mapping the Deportation of Armenians of Sivas/Sepastia Province during the Armenian Genocide,” involves an in-depth examination of the deportations of the Armenian population of Sivas/Sepastia province in the Ottoman Empire, with the goal of producing a digital map showing all deportation stations and discuss the experiences of each caravan coming from Sepastia.


Jalal Awan
Assistant Policy Researcher, Fulbright Alum USC (2014-2015)
RAND Corporation

Jalal Awan (he/him) is a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. Prior to joining RAND, he worked as an electrical projects and maintenance engineer in Pakistan. At RAND, he is currently involved in projects under the Social and Economic Well-being division including developing performance measures for public health emergency handling, estimating lifecycle benefits of autonomous vehicles, evaluating transboundary environmental impacts on India-Pakistan relations and using low-cost sensors for air quality monitoring. During the pandemic, Jalal co-founded an ‘edtech’ startup with the aim of connecting primary school students in Pakistan with counterparts in the LA Unified School District through a third-party virtual platform ( Jalal holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan and an MPhil in Policy Analysis. As a Fulbright Exchange scholar, he completed his M.S. in green technologies from the University of Southern California in December 2015.

Jose V. Silas
ASTHROS Mission Project Manager & Technical Lead, RF Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Siles has more than 15 years of experience in the physics-based modeling of semiconductor devices employing numerical methods and in the design and test of frequency multipliers and mixers for terahertz applications. He has participated in several programs to develop terahertz technology for the French space agency (CNES), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission and NASA/JPL. He is an experienced terahertz component and circuit designer, having designed and tested 200, 700, 1900 and 2700 GHz frequency multiplier circuit designs, and 340, 600 and 1200 GHz frequency mixer circuits, all them exhibiting world-record performances. He is currently the project manager & technical lead of ASTHROS, an Astrophysics NASA mission to be launched in 2023. He is also Principal Investigator of a number of NASA funded programs to develop the next generation of high-spectral resolution far infrared array receivers for future NASA missions. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Postdoctoral Research Award at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the period 2010-2012.



Ann Kerr, Fulbright Coordinator
International Institute - University of California, Los Angeles

Zwicker Kerr, a native of Southern California, has spent more than fifteen years living, studying and teaching in the Middle East. She was educated at Occidental College, the American University of Beirut and the American University of Cairo and taught at the latter two institutions for a number of years. She is currently at the University of California in Los Angeles where she coordinates the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment Program for southern California. Ann is an active emerita member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, the American University of Kuwait, the President’s Advisory Council of EARTH University in Costa Rica and a current member of the Advisory Board of the Rand Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations. She helped to form the Leadership Council for Churches for Middle East Peace, a Washington based group representing main line churches which support a balanced view for Arab-Israeli peace. She is the author of two books on the region, Come with Me from Lebanon and Painting the Middle East. Her late husband, Malcolm Kerr, was the president of the American University of Beirut and was assassinated in office in 1984. She is the mother of four adult children and grandmother of eight. In December, 2008, she married Kenneth Adams in Pacific Palisades, California.



More events can be found on the International Education Week 2021 website:

Image for RSVP ButtonImage for Calendar ButtonImage for Calendar Button
image for International Institute Logo