Meet DU’s Visiting Fulbright Scholars
Every year, the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, the federal government’s flagship program of international education, brings hundreds of international scholars to the United States. These scholars, diverse in expertise and origin, elevate campus scholarship and cultural exchange for students, faculty and the Denver community.
Nadia Kaneva, a visiting scholar host from the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies (MFJS), explains, “In addition to research collaborations, Fulbright fellows enrich the intellectual life of the University by sharing their expertise with our students. They also bring different cultural perspectives to our campus, which is essential in today's globally interconnected world.” Faculty host Aaron Schneider of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies added, “DU is a more interesting place when we foster international exchange.”
This academic year, DU hosted three scholars from Ukraine, Argentina and India. The DU Newsroom spoke with the scholars to learn more about their research and relationship with the DU community.
Olena Fomenko, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Olena Fomenko is studying the representation of Ukrainian identity in the US media and public spaces, with a focus on the media’s role in shaping Ukraine’s image in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war. Fomenko aims to uncover fresh perspectives on the connections between identity and iconography, exploring how the commodification of Ukrainian symbols influences decolonization and de-Russification efforts.
She chose MFJS in part to work with Kaneva, a leading expert in public diplomacy. As scholars, their partnership has been mutually beneficial, with Fomenko's research innately connected to Kaneva's ongoing study of nation branding in the post-Soviet world. Fomenko has given several guest lectures at DU and her visit has resulted in several new ideas for joint research projects with Kaneva.
The pair is currently developing a conference paper, which has already been accepted for presentation this month at a University of Colorado-Boulder conference on media and nationalism. They have also submitted a joint panel proposal for a conference to be held at Columbia University in May.
“The DU community has been incredibly welcoming and supportive,” Fomenko says. “I am especially grateful for their solidarity with Ukraine – this means a lot to me.”
“It has been sobering and inspiring to interact with a colleague whose country is at war, yet who remains committed to the quest for knowledge and understanding,” Kaneva says. “I feel that I have gained not only a research collaborator but also a good friend.”
Claudio Rosales, National University of San Juan, Argentina
Claudio Rosales was a visiting scholar in the Fall of 2023. With guidance from Kimon P. Valavanis, a professor in the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, Rosales pursued a project to develop algorithms to optimize cargo transportation using drones. He’s in the process of publishing two articles based on the results of this research.
“I mainly chose DU because of Prof. Valavanis,” Rosales says. ”He is a well-known researcher in the area of aerial robotics, and I always wanted to be able to work with him.”
Rosales lived in a suburb of Denver with his family during his stay and enjoyed many of the things that attract students, staff and faculty to the area.
“I really liked the city, the climate, the mountains and the people. The quality of life is excellent,” Rosales says.
“Claudio’s visit was successful,” Valavanis says. “We interacted research-wise, he collaborated with our research group and his expertise on quadrotor modeling and control and load transportation resulted in mutual benefits.”
Ramu Manivannan, University of Madras, India
Ramu Manivannan, who specializes in political science and human rights, spent his time with the Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies, a part of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He participated in classroom lectures and several public presentations during his Fulbright fellowship including one at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of entitled “State, Politics and Religion in India.”
While at DU, Manivannan conducted research at Anderson Academic Commons, which he says is “a great place to study, undertake research and experience the support of friendly staff, volunteers, and colleagues,” and his work with Schneider will continue after his departure.
“Prof. Ramu Manivannan brings decades of experience and a commitment to study, international exchange and student engagement,” says Schneider.
In addition to his intellectual pursuits, Manivannan fully integrated himself into Denver life by offering yoga classes to DU staff and participating in tai chi classes at Observatory Park and with local senior citizens.
“This is one of my best interactions with the American civil society,” says Manivannan, “We shared community lunches and visited several of their homes for lunch, tea, and dinner including [an] invitation to join them for lighting the Christmas tree.”
Manivannan also explored his love for music through DU’s music programming and Red Rocks and traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park with his wife and daughter.
Visit the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for additional information. The U.S. Fulbright Scholar application cycle for DU faculty opens in February for the 2025-26 academic year. The application deadline is September 15, 2024. Interested applicants should contact the DU campus liaison Leasa Weimer at email@example.com with specific questions or to schedule a consultation.