Fulbright Dialogues

International Perspectives and Current Discussions

The Fulbright Dialogues are roundtable discussions on timely topics selected in collaboration with local institutions and organizations. The discussions last up to 75 minutes and include a brief expert introduction to the theme followed by Q&A and an open dialogue between participants. In addition to American Fulbright grantees and alumni currently in Finland, the presenters also include other visiting experts from the United States.

If your organization is interested in promoting international dialogue on current themes, please contact the Fulbright Finland to take advantage of the Fulbright Dialogues.

Further Information

Mirka McIntire
Manager, Teacher Exchange and Education Programs
Tel: +358 44 5535 269

21st Century Leadership in Schools - A round-table discussion to share views from Finland and U.S. on the future needs and prospects of school leadership
Speaker: Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General, National Agency for Education, Finland
Time: March 8, 2019

Mr. Heinonen is the Director General at the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Before his current position he worked as a State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of Finland. He was also responsible as a State Secretary of the portfolios of Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development.

Before that he acted as a State Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office and was responsible for organising and leading the Prime Minister’s Office. Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office in March 2012, Mr. Heinonen worked for 10 years as a Director in the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Mr. Heinonen has been Minister of Transport and Communications (1999-2002) and Minister of Education (1994-1999). Mr Heinonen has also been a Member of the Parliament of Finland (1995-2002). Mr. Heinonen has had a number of positions of trust serving the society in a wide scale. Mr. Heinonen holds a Master’s degree in Laws. He is married and has three children.

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact Fulbright Finland Foundation.


Current Trends in Comprehensive Internationalization and Strategic Partnership Development in U.S. Higher Education
Speaker: Paulo Zagalo-Melo, Ph.D., Associate Provost, Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Western Michigan University
Time: April 16, 2018

Paulo Zagalo-Melo is Associate Provost for Global Education at Western Michigan University, overseeing the Haenicke Institute for Global Education and additional comprehensive Internationalization efforts across campus.

Zagalo-Melo was Associate Provost for Global Education, Director of the Global Engagement Office, and Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Montana (2013-2017). Prior to that, he was Director for Science, Technology and Innovation at the Luso-American Foundation (2006-2013). Zagalo-Melo started his professional career as Senior Accountant at Ernst & Young Portugal. After that, he was with the Fulbright Portugal for over twelve years, as Administrative Officer (1993-1996), Acting Executive Director (1996), and Executive Director (1997-2006).

Zagalo-Melo has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Catholic University of Portugal (2012), and a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University (2004). 

View the presentation slides here.

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Future Needs and Prospects for Finnish-U.S. Teacher and Administrator Exchanges
Speaker: Jennifer Gibson, Chief of the Teacher Exchange Branch in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Time: December 11, 2017

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Mechanisms of Radicalization and Sense of Inclusion

Speaker: Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Professor, University of Delaware
Time: October 17, 2017

In this session of the Fulbright Dialogue series, Professor Muqtedar Khan (see brief bio below) from the University of Delaware will share his expertise on the mechanisms of radicalization and the sense of belonging vs. non-belonging to the society. His introduction to the theme is followed by a discussion with invited expert participants. The dialogue is facilitated by Hanna-Miina Sihvonen, Ph.D., Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Interior; 2017 Fulbright Finland Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars program alumna.

Muqtedar Khan, PhD (Georgetown University, 2000) joined the Department of Political Science and International Relations in 2005. His areas of interest are Politics of the Middle East and South Asia, Political Islam, Islamic Political Thought and American Foreign Policy in the Muslim World. Professor Khan teaches courses on Arab and Middle Eastern Politics, Politics of Development, Globalization, and Islam in World Affairs. His recent publications include: "What is Enlightenment?: An Islamic Perspective", Journal of Religion and Society, Fall 2014; "Islam, Democracy and Islamism after the Counterrevolution in Egypt", Middle East Policy, Spring 2014; "What is Political Islam?" E-International Relations, March 2014; "Political Authority in Islam" in Kabir Hassan (Ed.) Handbook on Islam and Economic Life (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015).

The event is by invitation only.

Using case studies to promote interdisciplinary approaches to environmental education
Speakers: Nathaniel Woodruff and Stephen Howard
Time: March 7, 2017

In this session of the Fulbright Dialogue series, U.S. Fulbright Teachers Nathaniel Woodruff and Stephen Howard will share their experiences in using case studies to promote interdisciplinary approaches to environmental education. Their introduction to the theme is followed by a discussion with invited expert participants.

Abstract: Case studies bring relevancy and authenticity to the learning of environmental concepts.  Environmental problems are interdisciplinary in nature and should be taught across disciplines to reflect this reality.  However, the teaching of environmental topics is typically only taught within the science classroom by science teachers working alone.  This dialogue aims to develop strategies for professionals from different disciplines both in and outside of schools to collaborate on using case studies in environmental education.

Nathaniel Woodruff is a department head, science teacher, and Nordic ski coach
at Amherst Regional High School in Amherst, Massachusetts. Nat graduated from Tufts University
with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Civil Engineering. After working as an engineer, Nat
made a career shift to teaching, and in 2004 he received the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education. From January to July 2017, Nat will travel to Finland as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. Nat will examine how the Finnish use interdisciplinary courses and projects to teach in a real-world context. Nat will also investigate how Finnish teachers collaborate with universities to develop authentic research projects for their students.

Stephen Howard lives in Seattle, Washington. He teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Meadowdale Middle School, in the city of Lynnwood. Stephen has been teaching for about 20 years. He will travel to Finland from January to April 2017, where he will be learning about sustainability education and developing a curriculum to be taught at his home school. Stephen is thrilled for this opportunity to learn about one of the best educational systems in the world.

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Transatlantic Dialogue on 21st Century Education
Speaker: William Doyle
Time: November 19, 2015

In this session of the Fulbright Dialogue series, Fulbright Scholar William Doyle will discuss his research project titled “The Schools of Tomorrow: Global Visions of the Future of Education”, followed by a discussion by invited expert participants.

William Doyle is a 2015-2016 Fulbright Scholar based in Finland, focusing on global education best practices and the schools of tomorrow. He is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling writer and TV producer whose credits include projects for HBO, A&E and PBS. He co-authored the 2014 book “Navy Seals: Their Untold Story” and co-authored the companion hit PBS documentary; authored the just-released book “PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy”; and co-authored with his wife the new book “Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Children”, an examination of Japanese healthy longevity. Born and raised in New York City, he is the father of an 8-year-old boy who attends Finnish public school.

During his Fulbright, Doyle has worked with students and faculty at three Finnish institutions (the University of East Finland, the University of Turku and the University of Lapland) to identify and promote child-centered, evidence-based global best practices to improve the well-being and learning of children in K-8 education.

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact the Fulbright Center.

Factors attracting U.S. graduate students to education and research in Finland
Speaker: Katsiaryna Mikalayeva
Time: May 13, 2015 

Which factors are most significant for U.S. graduate students when they decide to choose Finland and Finnish higher education institutions as the destination for their Fulbright year? Upcoming research on this topic will be presented by Katsiaryna Mikalayeva, followed by a discussion by invited expert participants on how the results of this research could be utilized for the benefit of Finnish higher education.

Katsiaryna Mikalayeva is completing her Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MaRIHE). The topic of her Master’s thesis isFactors Influencing U.S. Student Program Grantees to Choose Finland as Their Fulbright Destination”. The thesis investigates why recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant choose Finland as the destination for their Fulbright year. It looks at grantees to Finland from the years 2000 to 2015 and through surveys and in-depth interviews aims to discover the key factors that determine the students’ choice. Supported by the theory drawn from literature on international students’ decision making, this research also looks at the interaction among various factors of influence and explores decision-making patterns behind the U.S. Student Program grantees’ choice.

U.S graduate students come to Finland on Fulbright to study or conduct graduate research for a minimum period of one academic year. They represent all academic fields except clinical medicine. A study of their motivation and factors influencing their decision making sheds light not only on Fulbright grantees specifically but also on U.S. graduate students in general. Some of the results could thus be used by Finnish higher education institutions to develop their marketing focused on potential students from the North American market as well as improving services and course offering for students already enrolled in Finland.

This is an invitation-only event. For further information, please contact the Fulbright Center.  

You find Katsia's presentation here and her Master's Thesis here.

Transatlantic Cooperation in Teacher Exchange and Education
Speaker: Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State
Time: October 27, 2014