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Outstanding American students to study Welsh culture and industrial heritage

27 June 2011

Eight of the USA’s brightest students are to be introduced to the culture, history, politics and landscape of Wales through a pioneering new Summer Institute.

The prestigious US-UK Fulbright Commission has appointed Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities to run the first Wales Fulbright Summer Institute. The visiting students will learn about Welsh culture, history, politics and geography and the crucial influence industry has had on the nation’s events, places and people. Over six weeks, they will travel the country, meeting people and visiting some of the key locations which have made Wales such a diverse and distinctive country.

In their first two weeks at Cardiff, the students will investigate economic and industrial change in the South Wales Valleys and the coastal ports over the past three centuries, asking questions about Welsh culture, identity and language. At Bangor they will then explore the impact of such industries as tourism, slate mining and highland agriculture, and how a small nation can maintain its identity in a global era. Finally, at Aberystwyth University they will look at Wales and its relationships with the wider world and begin to think about different ways Wales is facing up to the challenges of the future.

The eight undergraduates have been competitively selected from Universities spanning the USA, from Seattle to South Florida. They were welcomed to Wales at a special reception in the Senedd today by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.

Each section of the course will involve academic coursework, drawing on the internationally-recognised research and teaching specialisms of all three universities. The students will also attend cultural events and visit historic sites to gain an understanding of the distinctive regions of Wales.

Course Director for the Cardiff University section, Dr Bill Jones from the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, said: "It is a major coup for Wales to have secured a Summer Institute with an organisation as prestigious as the Fulbright Commission. This is a highly talented group of students and I’m sure they will provide fresh insights into the way industry has shaped the culture, history, politics and landscape of Wales. They will also gain an understanding of the distinctive regions and people who make up our fascinating country."

The Fulbright Commission has been promoting peace and cultural understanding through educational scholarships for more than 60 years. The three UK Summer Institutes are a new initiative, designed to introduce students to the United Kingdom, while also developing their academic skills and encouraging leadership. On their return to the USA they will become ambassadors for studying in the UK.


For further information and pictures, please contact:

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.