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   Date: 9/27/11 Bookmark and Share

Anthropology Prof Heads to Ethiopia on Fulbright

Elliot Fratkin, professor of anthropology, and his wife, Dr. Martha Nathan, a physician at Baystate Brightwood Health Center in Springfield, have been awarded U.S. Fulbright Scholarships to teach at Hawassa University in Ethiopia between October 2011 and June 2012. Professor Fratkin previously taught as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Asmara, Eritrea in 2003.

Elliot Fratkin, on left, with laibon (medicine man) Kanikis Leaduma, in Kenya.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 people–108,160 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 178,340 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States—with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

“I will be teaching in a new department of anthropology in a young university in southwest Ethiopia,” said Fratkin of his Fulbright assignment. “I feel that my teaching in an African university is a partial payback for all the help I received as an anthropologist studying nomadic pastoralists in Kenya.”

Fratkin, who has been a member of the Smith faculty since 1995, is the author of the forthcoming memoir of fieldwork Laibon: An Anthropologists Journey with Samburu Diviners of Kenya.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

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