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Professor receives scholarship to teach overseas


UNF Professor of Finance Dr. Parvez Ahmed recently awarded the Fulbright Award and will be spending four months teaching at the University of Bangladesh in Dhaka this fall.

The Fulbright program accepts 800 applicants per year and Dr. Ahmed is one of about 294,000 participants in the program’s 61-year history, according the program’s Web site.  He is also the first professor at UNF to receive such an honor, though UNF has hosted recipients in the past.

For Ahmed, the transition will be a smooth one.  He was born in neighboring India and is fluent in Bangladesh’s language, Bengali. Along with teaching in Bangladesh, he will be doing research, he said.

Ahmed said his research will focus on ways to tap into the potential of Bangladesh’s financial market. Many analysts in America focus on developed markets such as Japan’s, England’s, or our own financial market, he said.

However, Ahmed wants to learn how markets grow and develop in Bangladesh’s economy, he said.

“Reading [about other countries] from here gives some perspective,” Ahmed said, but he favors immersion he said.

Such an ideal is in line with those espoused by William Fulbright, the man for which the award was named.

The award was created to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” according to the award’s Website.   

Upon returning from Bangladesh, Ahmed hopes to use a newly-gained knowledge of developing economies to better understand our own economic history and aid developing and underdeveloped countries, he said.

Ahmed is excited about the opportunities the program will give him and his family who will be accompanying him.

“My main concern is for my children,” he said. “They are quite young and it is a new environment.”

The Fulbright Award was originally designed for educators with a doctorate, or a master’s in some fields, but it has since expanded to include graduate students and graduating seniors.

Professors, graduate students and seniors all go through different application processes, so no group is in competition with another, said Dr. Mary Borg, director of the Undergraduate Academic Enrichment program.

Student recipients may conduct research, hold a teacher’s assistant position teaching English as a second language or take classes for credit in certain countries, she said.

“If you go to the countries that are a little bit more obscure, you have a much better chance of getting in,” Borg said.

Applicants who know a foreign language have some advantage, but many countries involved in the program have many English-speaking citizens. Because of this, foreign language proficiency is not a requirement, she said.

Any students interested in the Fulbright Award should contact Borg at [email protected].  The deadline to apply is Aug. 1.

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