Student will spend year in El Salvador exploring economic development programs
Chris Hallberg, a 2009 graduate from Marquette University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has received a Fulbright scholarship to study in El Salvador. The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recently announced scholarships for roughly 1,500 U.S. citizens to travel abroad during the 2009-10 academic year.
Hallberg, from Wauwatosa, Wis., will spend the year studying economic development programs in northern El Salvador, considering why some programs flourish while others fail. Ultimately, he hopes his findings will help government agencies and nonprofit organizations develop more effective development programs in the future.
“National governments, international financial institutions and nongovernmental organizations continue to pour millions of dollars into development programs in El Salvador, yet extreme poverty persists,” said Hallberg, a pre-med student who majored in sociology and Spanish for the Professions. “Current programs often ignore the voices of the very people they are meant to help, which limits program success. This project seeks a greater understanding of how community involvement affects program outcomes.”
The project emerged from Hallberg’s experience working for a Salvadoran development nongovernmental organization as a community organizer during the summer of 2008. During that experience he heard from community leaders who feel development programs often belittle participants and worry about the cultural erosion among youth and the number of individuals migrating to the United States.
“I have no doubt his project will facilitate positive cultural exchange and promote mutual understanding in El Salvador, two key goals for the Fulbright program,” said Dr. Lezlie Knox, associate professor of history and faculty advisor for Fulbright applicants. “Marquette is proud of the effort Chris put forward in applying for a Fulbright Scholarship and excited for the opportunities this experience will provide him.”
The majority of Hallberg’s time will be spent in Torola, El Salvador, one of the poorest municipalities in the country. The Salvadoran government recently chose the municipality as a target for a national antipoverty program. Hallberg will leave for El Salvador in early October.
The Fulbright program was established in 1946 and is America’s flagship international educational exchange program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program provides American and foreign students, scholars and teachers 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.
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