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      Fulbright Scholar

      Widener Instructor to Teach in Nicaragua as Fulbright Scholar

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      Chelsea Good Abbas

      Anthropology instructor Chelsea Good Abbas was selected to travel to Nicaragua under the prestigious Core Fulbright Scholar Program.

      Chelsea Good Abbas, an anthropology instructor at Widener University, will be heading to Nicaragua for the next two summers under the prestigious Core Fulbright Scholar Program.

      Abbas will continue her research on migration between Nicaragua and Costa Rica and teach at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua.

      "As communities all over the world are affected by dynamics of migration and internal, as well as external, barriers, I look forward to discussing these realities with students and to devoting my academic and personal pursuits to the shared reimagining of our lived realities beyond the boundaries we are too often confronted with," Abbas said.

      Since 2010, Abbas has researched two frontier communities located in the Costa Rica-Nicaragua borderlands, particularly in the conflicted region known as Isla Portillos or Isla Calero, depending on the country.

      Her work – based on 14 months of in-depth fieldwork and over 60 interviews – explored the social realities of living between an international border dispute that spurred heavy militarization and security buildup in the once-isolated and remote border zone. Using ethnographic methods in the form of a community study, she examined the social relations and interactions between the Costa Rican National Police, Nicaraguan migrant workers and Costa Rican landowners during the conflict.

      "During my dissertation research, I interacted with Nicaraguan migrants on a daily basis," Abbas said. "Without ever having set foot in Managua, Leon, or any other major cultural or tourist center of the country, I felt a connection to the country and culture based on the time I spent with this group of Nicaraguan people. They taught me how to live in the jungle, how to shed my Manhattan sense of impulse, and most importantly, how to listen. For their trust, patience and kindness, I am indebted. This is a large factor of why I am going to Nicaragua to teach, learn, share and grow."

      Abbas will use her research and teaching experience, as well as her conviction for social equality and extensive knowledge of the Nicaraguan border region and its people, to teach courses in Nicaragua during the summer of 2018 and 2019. Her teaching will be structured upon the needs of Universidad Centroamericana, but will likely include undergraduate and graduate courses on border studies, migration studies and qualitative research methods.

      As a Fulbright scholar, she will also assist the Nicaraguan university with creating a departmental research agenda on migration, write and publish a scholarly journal article on migrant education, and revise her doctoral dissertation into a publishable manuscript.

      The Fulbright program is the United States government's flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Recipients are selected on academic and professional achievement, as well as service and leadership in their respective fields.

      Abbas joined the Widener University Department of Anthropology in August of 2017 and is completing her dissertation as a doctoral candidate in applied anthropology at Columbia University.


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