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Two North­eastern grad­u­ates have earned pres­ti­gious Ful­bright U.S. Stu­dent Pro­gram schol­ar­ships to con­duct research over­seas this fall. Matthew Shutzer, AS’10, will study com­mu­nity forestry and gov­er­nance in India, and Tom Jay Cinq-​​Mars, AS’10, will under­take a his­tor­ical exam­i­na­tion of the Russian police.

The Ful­bright pro­gram, which is spon­sored by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, is an inter­na­tional edu­ca­tion exchange pro­gram oper­ating in 155 nations world­wide that aims to increase mutual under­standing between Amer­i­cans and the people of other coun­tries. Shutzer and Cinq-​​Mars are two of more than 1,600 stu­dents who will travel abroad for the 2011–2012 aca­d­emic year. Lead­er­ship poten­tial and aca­d­emic and pro­fes­sional achieve­ments are key fac­tors in Ful­bright selec­tions.

In India, Shutzer will study the rela­tion­ship between agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties and local forests, par­tic­u­larly how agri­cul­tur­al­ists from the Kond tribe in the impov­er­ished area Jam­chuan, Orissa, manage forest resources in terms of social access and envi­ron­mental sus­tain­ability. Shutzer said his research is rel­e­vant to the work done by Gram Vikas, a local NGO, fol­lowing a 2006 law that for­mal­ized vil­lage admin­is­tra­tion of forest­land.

“Under­standing Kond agri­cul­ture and its rela­tion­ship to forest use is cru­cial to addressing the sys­temic ele­ments of poverty,” said Shutzer, who was inspired to pursue this Ful­bright research and return to India fol­lowing an inter­na­tional co-​​op expe­ri­ence there in 2008 working for Gram Vikas.

Mean­while, Tom Jay Cinq-​​Mars, AS’10, is in Russia for 10 months studying the Tsarist polit­ical police and their activ­i­ties in Kazan—the cap­ital city of the Republic of Tatarstan—at the turn of the 20th Cen­tury.

Cinq-​​Mars’ work includes researching the rela­tion­ship between the police and Russia’s bur­geoning stu­dent pop­u­la­tion at a time when his­to­rians note author­i­ties were con­cerned about rev­o­lu­tionary stu­dent groups. Kazan was the loca­tion where Vladimir Lenin – the Russian rev­o­lu­tionary who later founded the Soviet Com­mu­nist Party – was first arrested in 1887 as a polit­ical dis­si­dent par­tic­i­pating in a stu­dent riot.

The Ful­bright marks a return to Kazan for Cinq-​​Mars, who pre­vi­ously earned a U.S. Depart­ment of State Crit­ical Lan­guages Schol­ar­ship for study there in the summer of 2010. This year, his research will include poring over the mate­rials pre­served at local archives and libraries and working with his­tory and phi­los­ophy fac­ulty at Kazan State Uni­ver­sity.

“It would be fan­tastic to start a life­long col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Cinq-​​Mars says of working with Russian scholars.

– by Greg St. Martin

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