New scholarship focuses on international music, culture
This spring, mtvU is partnering with the prestigious Fulbright Program to offer fellowships awarded to outstanding college students from around the county.
The inaugural “Fulbright-mtvU” can award up to four students who wish to study “the power of music as a global force for mutual understanding,” according to the mtvU Web site.
“The Fulbright is an opportunity that’s been around for years,” said Stephen Friedman, director of mtvU. “I certainly remember when I was in college it was something a lot of people aspired to, so we talked with them about creating a fellowship that was specifically based on music.”
This year marks the first time since its 1946 inception the Fulbright Program has decided to hold a co-sponsored, worldwide student competition.
“Their mission is similar to ours in giving students the opportunity and also fostering a broader international dialogue,” Friedman said. “I think our missions were connected and it made a lot of sense” for the two to combine forces.
The Fulbright is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is the largest U.S. international exchange program with award opportunities on nearly every continent in the world. Its aim is to strengthen mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
The Fulbright-mtvU will present the chance for students to study abroad for one year and do research on a project of their own design.
A winning proposal must incorporate aspects of “international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression,” according to an Fulbright-mtvU press release.
“We decided to leave (the program outline) very open-ended,” Friedman said. “It’s music in any capacity as an international way to effect change in some kind of positive way.”
Preference will be awarded to creative projects that include an outreach plan to successfully inform peer groups through mtvU’s three media platforms – broadcast, online and print.
In a harmonic twist to promote this year’s music-based scholarship, the Shins’ James Mercer, singer Fiona Apple and hip-hop icon Common will form part of the acceptance committee assembled by mtvU.
“Actually, Perry Farrell (of Jane’s Addiction) just joined in the last day or so,” Friedman said. “Music is the heart and soul of this channel, and we are thrilled to bring another unique opportunity to our audience.”
These four groundbreaking musicians won’t have a final say, but will give their respective opinions on which students should receive the 2007-2008 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships.
“They’re going to help judge. They’ll sit on the panel and help us pick the students who should win one of these spots,” Friedman said. “We think they’re some of the most diverse and interesting artists out there and obviously artists that are relevant to our audience.”
The terms of eligibility are straightforward. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or be graduating this spring to be eligible for a spot. Preference goes to current graduating seniors, rather than past graduates.
During the application process, students will be asked to specify which country they wish to make their home for the next year. If accepted, that preference is not set in stone.
The Fulbright Institute has the authoritative right to go back and propose a different country or region that, in their opinion, will be benefited more significantly by the program.
Besides the obvious privileges this opportunity affords students, they will also receive round-trip transportation to the host country, living costs, book and research allowances, supplemental health and accident insurance coverage, foreign language orientation courses and media equipment.
“I would encourage anyone reading this to consider applying,” Friedman said. “I think we’re always looking to highlight great talent, and whether that’s filmmakers, musicians or entrepreneurs, there are a lot of opportunities (for students) on mtvU.com.”
The deadline for applications is March 23. For additional information and application materials, check out Fulbright’s Web site.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Quincy Moore at email@example.com.