On January 28th, the New Leaders Group of the Institute of International Education held a reception at IIE’s New York headquarters to honor Dr. Colleen O’Neal with the New Leaders Group Award for Mutual Understanding, for the work she did to assist refugee children while she was a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia.
The IIE New Leaders Group Award, given out biannually since 2005, recognizes the outstanding work of a Fulbright Fellow or Scholar who actively promotes mutual understanding between the United States and another country through the innovative ideas and valuable knowledge gained during their Fulbright fellowship. The award provides a $5,000 grant to help further the goals of a project conducted by the Fulbright Fellow or Scholar. The New Leaders Group serves as an idea generation engine for IIE and helps enable the Institute to increase its responsiveness to urgent global needs. The group created this award to encourage young leaders to actively advance global cooperation and help ensure that their work will have a lasting and meaningful impact.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government’s flagship international exchange program, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program provides participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. IIE administers the program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.
At the event, Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs, spoke about the importance of innovative ideas and projects in helping international education and exchanges address pressing global issues. Patrick McCloskey, President of the IIE New Leaders Group and a Partner at StormHarbour Partners, presented the award to Dr. O’Neal.
Dr. O’Neal was honored for her project, “The Refugee Child Health and School Success Program.” Working with UNHCR and a local Malaysian NGO, she developed a program to implement in-school, urban mental health screening and treatment in Malaysian refugee classrooms in order to increase the children’s success in school. The New Leaders Group Award has enabled her project to have longer term impact by not only reaching more refugee children and teachers, but also creating a local network of understanding and services among the refugee schools, universities, and the Malaysian government. Her project integrated U.S.-based classroom management knowledge with successful management practices of the Malaysian refugee teachers.
Dr. O’Neal was chosen for the award because her creative solution embodies the vision of the New Leaders Group—bridging gaps in systems and services and across nations to help us understand and care for one another more effectively and efficiently. Dr. O’Neal spoke about her Fulbright fellowship and the unique access and perspective she gained by enrolling her three young children in school in Malaysia and observing their interactions with their teachers and peers. Dr. O’Neal is currently a professor at the University of Maryland.
Current and recently returned Fulbright Students and Scholars can apply for the 2013 NLG Award this spring.