Empowering Educators: The Read Center's Ongoing Impact Through Fulbright Alumni Engagement in Nigeria and Ukraine

For the last 17 years, the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education has been home to prestigious U.S. State Department initiatives, such as the International Leaders in Education (ILEP) and the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) programs. Sustained engagement with alumni from these programs is one of the center’s strategic pillars to strengthen educational networks between Kent State and the world. This year, the Read Center has been actively sharing its educational expertise in collaboration with former Fulbright alumni and their education communities in Ukraine and Nigeria, igniting a vibrant exchange of knowledge and learning opportunities.

In January, Olena Kovalski, a 2021 Kent State Fulbright TEA alumna and secondary school educator from Ukraine, was a part of a team awarded a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. Their mission is to provide training to school administrators and educators in the Russian-occupied city of Melitipol. The grant, aimed at aiding post-war Ukraine's recovery with support from the academic community, included virtual seminars crafted to equip educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to empower their students. Dr. Amanda Johnson, director of the Read Center, conducted several workshops for Melitipol school administrators focusing on educational leadership and its practical implementation. Additionally, she collaborated with Dr. Mandy Cenker, director of the Office of Professional Development in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, to deliver workshops for Melitipol educators on teacher leadership and the scholarship of teaching and learning. 

As a continuation of the Read Center's global outreach efforts, 2023 Nigerian Fulbright TEA scholar Kayode Adewale (pictured left) extended a special invitation for engagement to the Read Center. The initiative took place in Ogun State, Nigeria, where secondary educators gathered for a transformative four-day event called Transformation5130. This capacity-building training aimed to enhance skills in teacher leadership, educational technology integration and strategies for student success. Johnson and Cenker conducted an interactive workshop on teacher leadership and research, impacting more than 50 educators with valuable insights and empowering them with practical knowledge to drive positive change in their educational communities.

The Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education in the College of Education, Health and Human Services was created in 1987 through an endowment established by Emeritus Professor Gerald H. Read. Aligned with Kent State University's focus on global cooperation, the Read Center fosters international education through education abroad, university partnerships and support for exchange programs. By hosting more than 300 international grantees and scholars, including those from programs like Fulbright, the center promotes cross-cultural scholarship and enriches campus diversity. Through collaboration with stakeholders across the globe, the Read Center extends its influence, embodying the university's commitment to internationalization.

--Amanda Johnson, Ph.D.

POSTED: Monday, April 8, 2024 10:22 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024 09:16 AM