2009 Grantees

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU have announced the winners of the 2009-2010 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships, awarded to promote “the power of music” as a global force for mutual understanding. These four grantees will conduct research abroad for one academic year on projects of their own design, around an aspect of international musical culture. They will share their experiences during their Fulbright year via video reports, blogs and podcasts.


Fulbright-mtvU 2009-2010 Blue Ribbon Panel

Blue Ribbon Panel

Mold-breakers from across the music industry, including Vampire Weekend, Santigold, Death Cab For Cutie and Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, signed on to help us pick the Fulbright mtvU fellows below.

Tina Wadhwa

Tina Wadhwa

School: Columbia University
Major: Political Science and Economics
Country Visiting: India

Tina Wadhwa, who graduated from Columbia University in 2007 with a BA in Political Science and Economics, will travel to India to create a documentary exploring the impact and influence of Bollywood music on underprivileged youth in Mumbai. She will also develop the music and drama center of the Akanksha Foundation while focusing on the role of music as a vehicle for collective expression and understanding among the children. Exploring the paradoxes and interactions between the Indian film industry’s intentions and the perceptions of the people, she will bridge these divides by coordinating with entertainment professionals at Rohit Roy Productions and the youth of the Akansha Foundation, culminating in a Bollywood performance by the youth, as well as a documentary film, CD recording and website depicting their journey. The documentary will be screened at a fundraising gala that marks the 20th anniversary of the Akanksha Foundation’s efforts.

Michael Silvers

Michael Silvers

School: UCLA
Major: Ethnomusicology
Country Visiting: Brazil

Michael Silvers, a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, will travel to Brazil to study the relationship between the culture of forró, a kind of popular dance music, and the climate of northeastern Brazil. Working with Vila Estúdio, a recording studio in Fortaleza, Ceará; accordionists from around the state; and a quadrilha square dance ensemble, he will explore the ways in which climate change and drought have impacted how and why people make music. He will produce a doctoral dissertation and a documentary film based on his research.

Andrew Magill

Andrew Magill

School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Cultural Studies
Country Visiting: Malawi

Andrew Magill, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a B.A. in Cultural Studies in May 2009, will travel to Malawi to work with the UNC Malawi Project and AIDS organizations to video-record narratives of Malawian families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. These narratives will explore how issues such as stigma of infection, Western versus traditional medicine and other cultural factors define the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi. He will collaborate with Peter Mawanga, a well-known musician and social activist, to develop a concept album whose sales will benefit AIDS social service networks. Each song’s lyrics will capture a pre-recorded narrative by using words inspired and quoted from the narratives. He will use the narrative film footage for a documentary about the process which will also serve as a means of fundraising.

Rod Solaimani

Rod Solaimani

School: Georgetown University
Major: Foreign Policy
Country Visiting: Morocco

Rod Solaimani, who graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Policy in 2008, will travel to Morocco to study and participate in the Afro-Arab-Gnawa-Western musical exchange. A skilled percussionist, he will research the impact of U.S.-Moroccan musical partnerships in 3 cities, use his findings in local high school music curricula and promote East-West collaboration with a student concert.

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