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UK Fulbright Winners Bound for England, Kenya

Contact: George Lewis

 

UK’s newest Fulbright fellows are:

  • Eric Silver, a graduate student in the UK Department of Anthropology who will use his Fulbright in Kenya to do field work for his dissertation on the understanding of ethnic conflict and cooperation.
  • James “Jay” J. Varellas III of Lexington, a 2002 UK graduate who will seek a master’s degree in the United Kingdom.

 

April 25, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- A recent University of Kentucky graduate and a current UK graduate student have received government-funded Fulbright grants for graduate study and research abroad for the 2003-2004 academic year.

The Fulbright Fellowship Program is a national grant competition for U.S. citizens or permanent residents to work and/or study abroad during the course of their studies or after graduation. The grants cover travel and living costs for the academic year and necessary tuition at overseas universities.

UK’s newest Fulbright fellows are:

  • Eric Silver, a graduate student in the UK Department of Anthropology who will use his Fulbright in Kenya to do field work for his dissertation on the understanding of ethnic conflict and cooperation.
  • James “Jay” J. Varellas III of Lexington, a 2002 UK graduate who will seek a master’s degree in the United Kingdom.

Varellas, who works for the Federal Government Office of Radionavigation and Positioning Policy in Washington, D.C., plans to study at either the University of Cambridge Department of Social Anthropology or the University of Sussex Department of International Relations and Politics.

The U.S.-United Kingdom award is the most difficult Fulbright to obtain, according to the Fulbright Commission. Out of some 600 applications, only 20 awards are given, and it is the only Fulbright that requires an interview for finalists.

Varellas is the son of James and Sandra Varellas of Lexington, both graduates of the UK College of Law. His father also obtained his bachelor’s degree in history at UK and his mother received her master’s in mathematics at the university. While at UK, Varellas was an honors student, Gaines Fellow and recipient of a $30,000 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Silver, the son of missionaries, is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary in Asbury, Ky., where he received his Master of Divinity degree. His undergraduate degree came from Roberts Weslyan College in Rochester, N.Y. He and his wife, Kari, have two daughters, Nina, 3, and Macie, 2. His wife and daughters will accompany him to Kenya, where he will be affiliated with the Pastoral Risk Management in East Africa Project. Peter Little, his advisor and chairman of the UK Department of Anthropology, serves as a co-principal investigator on that project.

“Eric has worked hard to understand a very complicated set of social issues and is committed to returning to East Africa, where he spent much of his childhood,” Little said.

In his multi-ethnic study, Silver will examine ethnic cooperation among pastoralist groups in northern Kenya.

“Ethnic conflict and cooperation can be understood as two sides of the same coin. Ethnic cooperation implies conflict that goes right,” Silver said. “This study is important in the sense that we need to understand a lot more so that we can avoid getting in the way of cooperation that arises, and possibly help it to happen.”

The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange. Sen. J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. The U.S. student program awards approximately 900 grants annually and currently operates in over 140 countries worldwide.


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