Title

The Muskie/FREEDOM Support Act Exchange Program and Social Reforms: A Participant's Perspective

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Martha Merrell

Abstract

This paper reports on the findings of a research project which aimed to investigate if the personal goals of the Muskie/FREEDOM Support Act Graduate Fellowship Program participants match the purpose of the program and what are the factors determining this situation. Data were collected by e-mail questionnaire from 46 2001 and 2002 Muskie/FSA Program participants who currently study in U.S. universities. This study revealed that the participants apply to the Muskie/FSA Program in order to increase their future well-being and to acquire international experience. In addition to their personal goals many Fellows would like to serve their respective countries as agents of social change. The Fellows believe that they benefit personally from their study in the U.S. Yet, they view many obstacles that will hinder them at home from applying their newly acquired skills for successful leadership in their professions. The majority of the respondents agree that the program benefits their home countries. Yet, almost one third of the respondents think that the effects of the program on a national level are minimal or do not exist at all. They believe that in order to increase this effect, the U.S. and their home countries' governments should assist the alumni in the utilization of their potentials. This study suggests that educated specialists alone are not adequately sufficient in giving their countries guaranteed outcomes the Muskie Program desires. The impact of the Muskie/FSA Program can be significantly increased if the program administration supports the program alumni in their endeavors upon their return home.

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