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Wayne Wright
Wayne Wright

UTSA professor selected as Fulbright Scholar

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(July 31, 2008)--Wayne Wright, UTSA associate professor of bicultural-bilingual studies (effective fall 2008), recently was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to Cambodia for spring 2009. He will go to Cambodia through the Fulbright Intercountry Lecturing Program, which provides U.S. scholars with opportunities to enrich their professional and cultural experience outside the United States.

For more than 60 years, the federally sponsored Fulbright program has provided opportunities to study, conduct research and teach in more than 140 countries. The program awards approximately 1,450 grants annually.

"Congratulations are in order for Dr. Wayne Wright," said Charles Crane, UTSA director of international programs. "His selection as a Fulbright Scholar to Cambodia brings great credit to him, the College of Education and Human Development and UTSA."

Wright received a Fulbright lecture award in educational leadership and administration at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. He will teach courses in the university's new master of education program, which addresses the critical need for training education professionals in Cambodian government and nonprofit organizations. The country continues to rebuild its education system, which was devastated by genocide and civil war during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

In addition to teaching graduate courses, Wright will work to enhance the research capabilities of graduate students and faculty, provide assistance in revising the educational technology curriculum and provide assistance in the development of distance education with the university's English Support Unit.

"Cambodia has made a great deal of progress rebuilding its education system, but much work remains to be done," said Wright. "I am greatly honored by the opportunity this Fulbright award has given me to return to Cambodia to contribute toward efforts to continue developing the education sector through the training of current and future educational leaders at the Royal University of Phnom Penh."

"This award is also very meaningful to my family on a personal level," Wright added. "My wife, Phal, is a native of Cambodia, and we are the parents of three Cambodian American children, Jeffrey, Michael and Catherine. We are thrilled with the opportunity for our children to live in Cambodia where they can develop relationships with their family members there, improve their very limited Khmer language skills, and make deeper connections to their Cambodian heritage and culture."

Proficient in the Khmer (Cambodian) language, Wright has worked with Cambodian refugees in the United States since 1986. He lived and worked in Cambodia from 1993 to 1994 as a volunteer with the Cambodian American National Development Organization (CANDO), a USAID-funded project modeled after the Peace Corps. Additionally, he worked in the human rights and education sectors with local indigenous non-governmental organizations and at the Institute of Economics.

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About Wayne Wright

Wayne E. Wright earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University. At UTSA, he is an associate professor (effective fall 2008) of bilingual studies in the College of Education and Human Development. He is chair of the Graduate Studies Committee and is the graduate adviser of record for the M.A.-Teaching English as a Second Language (MA-TESL) program.

His teaching and research focus on language and education policies, programs and instruction for language minority students. His research has been published in leading academic journals including Education Policy, Language Policy, Educational Policy Analysis Archives, the Bilingual Research Journal, the Heritage Languages Journal and the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, in addition to professional journals including Educational Leadership.

Wright is the founding editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement and is the book review editor for the International Multilingual Research Journal. He also serves as co-director of the Language Policy Research Unit of the Southwest Center for Educational Equity and Language Diversity and as vice president for publications of the National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans. Previously, he was a bilingual elementary school teacher and helped establish one of the first Khmer bilingual education programs in California.

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About the Fulbright program

The late Sen. J. William Fulbright founded the Fulbright Program of International Education and Cultural Exchange in 1948. Fulbright was an advocate of mutual understanding between cultures and détente long before they were in vogue. He believed that international education would provide a base for the basic understanding and contact necessary for a peaceful world.

Fulbright was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and president of the University of Arkansas at age 34. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives at age 35, and at 39 became a U.S. senator. For 16 of his 30 years in the Senate, he chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. Politically, he fought hard for peace initiatives and non-military solutions.

Approximately 6,000 new grants are awarded to individuals annually through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Grants are given to American students, teachers and scholars to study, teach, lecture and conduct research in more than 140 countries in the world, and to foreign nationals to engage in similar activities in the United States. Individuals are selected on the basis of academic or professional qualifications, potential, and ability and willingness to share ideas and experiences with people of diverse cultures.

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