Doug Miller, For The Miami Student

Miami University will soon host its third annual seminar for Fulbright students from Afghanistan.

The seminar, which will be held from Sept. 25 to Sept. 28., is hosted by the Farmer School of Business’ Center for Social Entrepreneurship. It will provide visiting Afghani students the opportunity to engage with social entrepreneurs, professors and professionals who have experience in the developing world.

The Princeton Review recently ranked Miami’s entrepreneurship program education as the 12th best in the country. Miami was selected among dozens of other universities competing to host this program, according to assistant director for the Center of Social Entrepreneurship Brian Bergman.

“The Fulbright seminar was a grant from the US Department of State, and Miami was one of dozens of schools that applied to host the seminar,” Bergman said.

The seminar is sponsored by the Fulbright program, which was created in 1946 and sponsored by the US Department of State, Bergman said. Since then, more than 307,000 participants have been chosen to observe each others’ political and economic institutions and exchange ideas on the importance of general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. This coincides with the Fulbright mission statement, which hopes to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and the other countries.

The Afghan participants are in a two-year master’s degree program through Fulbright and are studying at various institutions across the US. This year, approximately 70 Afghan participants will be part of the seminar. According to Bergman, the participants will come from 39 different universities.

During the seminar, Miami students will play the role of “mentors” for the Fulbright participants, according to the FSB website. This will help students get experience providing ad hoc social enterprise consulting with the Afghan participants. The students serve as liaisons between the university and the Fulbright students.

One of the students who participated last year was senior Michelle McVickers. She is returning as a mentor for this year’s program after also being a mentor the past two years.

“As a mentor, I help the Fulbright participants feel welcome at Miami and answer any questions they might have,” McVickers said.

The seminar will start Wednesday with a trip to the CityLink Center in Cincinnati, which is where people come to break free from poverty, McVicker said. The CityLink Center offers employment services and financial resources under one roof, according to their website. The Afghan participants will be able to see what poverty looks like in an urban U.S. environment.

Thursday and Friday, faculty from Miami’s Social Entrepreneurship center will lead workshops on social enterprise, Bergman said. The Fulbright participants will then split up into social enterprise workshops to develop a product or service designed to solve social problems in Afghanistan.

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