UMaine researcher awarded Fulbright scholar grant to study in Botswana

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted April 23, 2011, at 1:22 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Jonathan Rubin, a faculty member in the University of Maine School of Economics and member of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, has been awarded a Fulbright scholar grant.

Rubin, 49, of Bangor will work at the Center of Study in Renewable and Sustainable Energy at the University of Botswana, Gaborone, during the 2011-12 academic year.

“This is a perfect match for my current research,” he said Friday. “My own research is in the biofuels area.”

Rubin will assist with the development, research and education capacity of the center, and will help plan and implement an interdisciplinary graduate degree program in clean energy technologies, according to the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

“Developing nations care about the environment just as we do and they have pressing needs for alternative fuels,” said Rubin, who will spend a sabbatical leave in Botswana.

Botswana is a landlocked nation in southern Africa with a population of about 2 million people, according to the state department website. It is bordered by Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the northeast, and South Africa to the south and southeast, and meets Zambia at a single point in the north.

Seventy percent of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert. The capital Gaborone [pronounced HA-bo-ro-neh], where Rubin and his family will live, is located in the southeast on the border with South Africa.

Botswana is dependent on its southern neighbor for most of its electricity, Rubin said.

“They have no hydropower,” he said. “They have coal and methane and a huge solar power potential that they haven’t tapped yet.”

Rubin is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty or professionals who will travel and work in more than 155 countries through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2011-12. The program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Primary funding for the program comes from Congress, through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The program was establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program has enabled some 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists opportunities to study, teach, research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have a record of achievement and distinction in multiple disciplines. Forty-three Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer prizes.

Additional information about the Fulbright program is available at http://fulbright.state.gov.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/04/23/news/bangor/umaine-researcher-awarded-fulbright-scholar-grant-to-study-in-botswana/ printed on July 26, 2014