“Living abroad as a part of something as codified and structured as the Fulbright program was one of the most life-altering and positive events Ive ever experienced.”
What was the focus of your Fulbright work?
I researched the political nature of traditional music and dance performance groups of the Palestinian refugee cultural arts scene in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Jerusalem and explored the influence of the refugee experience on the artistic identity.
Did your Fulbright experience meet your expectations?
I was unprepared for the amount of quiet and reflection time that I enjoyed that is simply built into that culture.
How has your Fulbright experience changed the way you teach/work?
Living for an extended period of a time where I was both a foreigner and a religious minority created what feels like almost a sixth sense for me. I am much more likely now than before to immediately consider and give equal time to opinions and experiences that are different than my own and much less likely to judge those who are different from me in any way, including ways I just don’t agree with.
What was the most significant moment in your Fulbright experience?
While in Jerusalem, I visited the National Sound Archives housed at the Hebrew University. I was granted access to a wing of collections where I stumbled on recordings made in the 1920s by a Jewish researcher named Robert Lachmann. He had a goal of uniting Palestinians and Jews by showing them the commonalities of their music and culture. These recordings are invaluable to Palestinian scholars, yet they had not been heard since just a few years after they were recorded. The magnitude of that inadvertent discovery is still being explored. It could easily be the legacy of my Fulbright award.