Over the course of 15-plus years in international education, USF Sarasota-Manatee Director of Global Engagement Amela Malkic has met and interacted with many visiting Fulbright students and scholars.
What she learned about the philosophy of the highly-competitive programs and their aim to increase mutual understanding and promote the exchange of ideas among individuals around the world inspired her to pursue a Fulbright opportunity of her own.
In March, Malkic spent two weeks in India through a grant from the Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators (IEA) program, which is designed to inform participants about the country’s higher education system and to explore opportunities for future collaboration.
She joined 13 other awardees from throughout the United States in visiting a diverse cross-section of universities and colleges such as the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, the Foundation for Liberal and Management Education in Pune and the T-Hub, India’s fastest-growing startup incubator in Hyderabad.
Malkic, who has extensive experience in managing operational, fiscal and administrative aspects of programs in the U.S., was particularly interested in learning about India’s program designs and organizational structures from high-ranking administrators and public-sector officials within the institutions she visited.
“It was a professionally and personally transformative experience for me,” she said. “The most impactful aspects of the program were learning about India’s system of higher education and establishing a greater professional network, both with my U.S. colleagues participating in the program and our counterparts in India.”
Malkic’s office administers study abroad programs and international academic exchanges, and she says the experience created opportunities for follow up including faculty and student exchanges and the potential for developing collaborative agreements with partners in India.
“I’m certain that my participation in the IEA Fulbright program will help us continue to build our Global Engagement Office on campus and result in some long-term cooperative relationships,” she said.
USFSM Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook said the benefits of Malkic’s participation in the Fulbright-Nehru IEA program will extend far beyond the scope of her trip.
“Experiences of this nature are invaluable for the individual – new colleagues, new perspectives and many opportunities for inspiration – all of which can be brought back to the campus to stimulate new ideas for our students to engage in international travel and become an international citizen,” she said. “The direct knowledge of the country and its culture from first-hand experience is priceless.”
Malkic’s award contributed to the USF system’s No. 1-ranking among U.S. institutions for 2018-19 with 12 Fulbright Scholar and IEA award recipients. It’s the second time since 2016 that USF has earned that distinction.
“I cannot overstate the significance of Fulbright opportunities for our faculty, administrators and students,” Malkic said. “The program enables us to share knowledge, gain new skills, learn new teaching methods and exchange research ideas.
“I strongly believe that both the Fulbright program and international education increase our understanding of global issues and our appreciation of other cultures, ideas, values and diversity. These experiences are relevant in today’s inter-connected world, and I’m extremely proud to say the University of South Florida is 100 percent aware of the value of Fulbright programs.”
Malkic is USFSM’s first Fulbright IEA awardee, said Darlene DeMarie, PhD, USF’s Fulbright Faculty Advisor and current president of the Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association. Malkic will succeed DeMarie as chapter president in July.
“It is an honor for Amela to be the first Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators awardee from USFSM,” DeMarie said. “To be selected for this award, a person must be someone who is an administrator of international education and who wants to expand opportunities for international collaborations on their campus. Amela is dedicated to making a difference by enhancing the international dimension of USFSM and was the perfect candidate for this opportunity.”
Here is a video of Amela Malkic discussing her recent Fulbright-Nehru IEA trip to India: