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In 2009, the Fulbright International Summer Institute took place in the historic town of Tryavna. The eighth edition of the Institute attracted 94 participants from 13 countries: Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the USA. An impressive team of 26 lecturers taught a total of 17 courses in a wide variety of subject areas. The new group of Fulbright grantees from the U.S. also attended the summer program and studied different aspects of Bulgarian history, politics, economy, tourism, social issues, folklore, literature and the arts.
FISI 2009 was an example for successful collaboration of several institutions – the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the New Bulgarian University, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbour and the America for Bulgaria Foundation. We would like to express our gratitude to all lecturers who invited their students to join this unique event and to all prestigious institutions that supported FISI without any reservations.
Traditionally, the Summer Institute was held in August (10 – 22), but in 2009 it offered a greater range of courses in a variety of fields: business, economics, finance and management ("The Financial Crisis: What Insights Can Modern Microeconomic Theory Provide?"; "Challenging Times in Capital Markets and Strategies for Saving & Investing"; "International Career Planning in a Globalized Economy"; "Projects Writing and Projects Management"), political science ("American Foreign Policy and the International System in the Era of Globalization"), philosophy ("Logic in the Continental Tradition"; "Technology of Imagination"; "The Philosophical Issues of the XXI Century"), law ("Negotiation and Conflict Resolution", "D.A.R.E. - Debate. Argue. Reason. Examine."; "European Union Citizenship: Current Trends and Developments"), communications and media ("Public Relations: It Can Make or Break an Organization"; "Media and Globalization: a Multidisciplinary Approach"), cultural studies ( "Prospering in Tough Times: How Does a Young Person Summon Up the Compassion, the Focus, the Strength, and the Wisdom to Launch New Careers during These Difficult Times?"; "Myth, Literature and Media"; "American Novels into Film"), and Bulgarian studies.
All courses were taught by distinguished American and European professors, most of whom were Fulbright grantees and alumni. The lecturers represented prestigious universities and institutions from the U.S., Bulgaria, and the UK: Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, University of Dayton, Cleveland State University, Gettysburg College, University of North Dakota, Sofia University, New Bulgarian University, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, University of Geodesy, Architecture and Civil Engineering, National Academy of Arts, University of Hull, University of Lincoln, Phelps Dunbar LLP, Media Development Center, American Research Centre in Sofia, etc.
FISI students had a chance to enroll courses that are part of a regular M.A. program. Based on special agreements with the University of Michigan, Sofia University and New Bulgarian University, the courses “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution”, "Logic in Continental Tradition", “The Philosophical Issues of the XXI Century”, "Myth, Literature and Media" and "American Novels into Film provided their students with university credits.
FISI 2009 also offered an exciting cultural program which demonstrated the achievements of Bulgarian culture and the magic of Bulgarian nature. The highlight of the weekend was a one-day trip to Sokolski Monastery, the open-air ethnographic museum Etara and the architectural reserve Bozhentsi.
The unique mixture of students of different nationalities and with different educational backgrounds, along with the very positive atmosphere, created a stimulating environment for exchange of knowledge, productive discussions on important and interesting issues, and, of course, a great deal of fun. Once again, FISI reaffirmed the validity and potential of the Fulbright idea of building mutual understanding through exchange of knowledge and cultural values.
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