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Gail Presbey named Fulbright Scholar

Associate Professor of Philosophy Gail Presbey

Gail Presbey, associate professor of Philosophy, is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals to be awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant for the 2004-2005 academic year. Through the grant, Presbey will travel to India, where she will research Gandhian nonviolence and cultures of peace at the World Peace Center, which is attached to the Maharashtra Institute of Technology in Pune.

“I'm very happy to receive the award so that I can delve deeper into a subject of great interest to myself, and much needed in our world today,” says Presbey who joined the University in 2000. “I was in India once before for two months in 1989, when I took a summer course on Gandhian nonviolence and development at Gandhigram Rural University in Tamil Nadu.”

Presbey, who was recognized by the University last year with the Faculty Achievement Award, teaches a UDM course on peace and social justice that focuses on Gandhi, and she often covers Gandhi in her ethics courses. “I use a cross-cultural approach in my Introduction to Philosophy courses, and often introduce students to some Hindu concepts like reincarnation and ahimsa/nonviolence,” she adds.

Through the Fulbright Scholarship, Presbey also hopes to learn more about Hinduism, ahimsa and Indian religion and culture, which she will share with her students upon her return.

This is Presbey’s second Fulbright award. She also did research in Africa through a two-year Fulbright Senior Scholar position at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where she studied, among other topics, Africa’s struggles for independence from colonialism and movements of social change. “I noticed that many embraced tactics of nonviolence but some did not think it would work,” Presbey explains, and says that her new research will have considerable bearing on her understanding of the movements in Africa.

Presbey joins six other UDM faculty members who have previously been awarded Fulbright Scholarships. They include Claire Crabtree and Greg Sumner from the College of Liberal Arts and Education, Yogendra S. Chadda from the College of Engineering and Science, Suk H. Kim and Daniel Shoemaker from the College of Business Administration and Carla Groh from the College of Health Professions.

Recipients of the Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. The program is sponsored by the U. S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 58 years of existence, thousands of U. S. faculty and professionals, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, governors and senators, ambassadors and artists, prime ministers and heads of state, have studied, taught or done research abroad through the Fulbright Program.