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The Fulbright International Summer Institute (FISI) is an academic and cultural program created by the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission in 2002. In 2010, the ninth edition of the Institute took place in the historic town of Bansko. Between August 09 and 21, FISI attracted 96 participants from 15 countries: Bulgaria, the U.S., Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, and Sweden.
All participants, including the new group of Fulbright grantees from the U.S., were offered a wide variety of courses, workshops, and guest lectures. During the first FISI week, students attended courses on "American Foreign Policy and the International System in the Era of Globalization", "Peace and Conflict Resolution in the 21st Century", "Projects Writing and Projects Management", "Seeing Films Philosophically", "Logic in the Continental Tradition", " The Philosophical Issues of the XXI Century", "Words and Worlds of Thinking and Art", "North America and Europe in the Indochina Conflict", "Canadian Studies: Culture, Literature and Identity", as well as an introductory course to Bulgarian Culture, featuring lectures about recent archaeological discoveries, Bulgarian history, economy, current political situation, the role of the country on the International scene, and information about social and ethnic communities. The second week also offered a rich variety of courses: "Negotiation and Conflict Resolution", "Debate. Argue. Reason. Examine.", "International Investing: Opportunities and Risks", "Perspectives on Public Diplomacy and Foreign Policy", "Development Struggles in a Globalized World: The Political Economy of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East", and a course on Court Annexed Mediation, created jointly with Sofia Regional Court. The "Introduction to Bulgarian Culture" classes continued with lectures on tourism, art, music, folklore and traditions/rites. In 2010, FISI proved once again its potential to work jointly with various establishments and to offer students courses that are part of a regular M.A. program (based on agreements with Sofia University and the New Bulgarian University), or a program especially dedicated to young professionals (based on agreement with Sofia Regional Court).
All courses were taught by distinguished professors, most of whom were Fulbright grantees and alumni. The lecturers represented prestigious universities and institutions from the US, UK and Bulgaria: Harvard University, the University of Michigan, University of Edinburgh, Texas Tech University, State University of New York, Michigan State University, Cleveland State University, Sofia University, the American University in Bulgaria, University of National and World Economy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, New Bulgarian University, National Academy of Arts, American Research Centre in Sofia, Communications and Human Resources Development Center, Phelps Dunbar LLP, etc. We would like to express our gratitude to all lecturers for their excellent work, to the US Embassy in Bulgaria for their contributed to the FISI Program, and to the America for Bulgaria Foundation for their kind support.
Along with the rich variety of courses, FISI 2010 offered an exciting cultural program which demonstrated the achievements of Bulgarian culture and the magic of Bulgarian nature. The highlights of the weekend were a one-day trip to Blagoevgrad with a guided tour of the American University in Bulgaria, a performance of traditional folk songs and rites at the village of Dobarsko, and a walk to two of the most beautiful lakes in Pirin mountain – Okoto and Ribnoto Ezero. Participants also had the unique pleasure to attend many jazz concerts and jam-sessions, because the first FISI week coincided with the International Jazz Festival in Bansko.
FISI participants represented various educational backgrounds: business, political studies and international relations, area studies, journalism and communications, law, history, philosophy, art, mathematics, civil engineering, computer engineering, dentistry, etc. This unique mixture, 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.
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