A Metropolitan Community College-Longview instructor is spending part of the summer in Poland to “explore the relationship between the United States and Poland and delve into politics, national security, culture and economics.”
Geography instructor Victor Meledge-Ade was chosen to participate in the 2018 Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program. It provides short-term study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to improve their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries.
Topics and host nations vary from year to year, but the seminars, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, are always in non-Western European countries.
This year, postsecondary educators chosen for the honor are in Poland from July 8 to Aug. 5. They will meet experts in various academic fields who will share their knowledge on international relations, travel across Poland to see historical sites as well as fast-growing areas, and take part in discussions and cultural events.
The seminar abroad also allows participants to pursue their individual academic interests, develop curriculum projects they will bring back to their classroom, and share their broadened knowledge and experiences with students and colleagues in the United States.
According to the Department of Education, Poland is undergoing a dynamic transformation. Having regained independence as a nation-state in 1918, Poland is celebrating its centennial this year. The United States played a significant role in reestablishing the Polish state after World War I, leading to better diplomatic relations between the two nations. Over the past 100 years of statehood, Poland experienced significant challenges, including the terror of World War II and Soviet communist dominance imposed after the end of the war, which resulted in creation of the Polish People’s Republic.
Polish citizens rebelled a number of times during that period and eventually launched a world-scale solidarity movement that led to regaining full sovereignty. Since 1989, Poland has undergone tremendous economic, political and social change. As a result, Poland is now ranked 36th out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index because of improvements in life expectancy, education and income. As a member of NATO and the European Union, Poland has also built international ties and recognition.
Meledge-Ade was honored with the Missouri Community College Association’s Global Educator Award in 2016. Having lived on three continents growing up, the geography instructor has a direct connection to global education and the power that cultural exchange can have on an individual. Over the years, he has used this experience to enlighten and inspire countless students. He has been a leader for global education both on his campus and through his involvement with the Missouri Consortium for Global Education.