University of Mary Washington Political Science Professors Elizabeth Freund Larus and Stephen J. Farnsworth are go-to pundits in national and international media in their respective fields. Soon they’ll take their expertise and research abroad through prestigious 2019-20 U.S. Fulbright grants.
Larus has been named a Fulbright Scholar who will conduct field research throughout Poland and parts of Eastern Europe during spring semester 2020. Farnsworth has been named a Fulbright Specialist who will spend much of the upcoming summer teaching American government at Methodist College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program. The scholarship program gives professors a unique opportunity as ambassadors of American higher education, pursuing research and teaching opportunities around the world. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars, artists, faculty and professionals abroad to lecture and/or conduct research for up to a year. The Fulbright Specialist Program provides short-term opportunities for overseas universities to collaborate with U.S.-based scholars on education projects.
Elizabeth Larus will manage research on the impact China’s Belt and Road Initiative, known as the new Silk Road, in Eastern and Central Europe will have on the European Union. She will interview government officials, business associates and academics to determine if the initiative is dividing the European Union into countries that support the initiative – such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and other Central and Eastern European countries – and the core EU countries of Germany France and UK who are critical of the initiative in Europe.
“I will seek to determine if this split will have a negative impact on European Union stability,” said Larus, who will be hosted by the Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland.
A well-respected expert on the politics of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Larus has been quoted in international media outlets, including The Financial Times, CNBC and the China Global Television Network (CGTN).
Before coming to UMW, Larus conducted field research when she lived three years in Asia and served as press secretary for former U.S. Congressman Hal Daub. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and is the author of books on Chinese economic reform, and politics and society in contemporary China. Her articles have been published in numerous professional journals. In 2015 Larus was awarded a Taiwan fellowship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct research on U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Among her other awards, she was a 2007-08 academic fellow of The Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Other honors included a dissertation fellowship, two duPont fellowships from the University of Virginia, a Lingnan Foundation Research Grant and a Pacific Cultural Foundation Grant.
Stephen Farnsworth is a sought-after commentator on topics ranging from presidential politics to the local Virginia congressional races. He has been widely featured in such media outlets as The Washington Post, Reuters, MSNBC and The Guardian.
“With the fascinating Trump presidency well underway and with the 2020 presidential election season getting started, now is a great time to be talking with Malaysian students about American government and politics,” said Farnsworth.
This grant is the second Fulbright award for Farnsworth, who is director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies. During the 2006-2007 academic year, he was a Canada-U.S. Research Chair in Public Policy at McGill University in Montreal where he collaborated on several research articles on Canadian and U.S. politics. He also began work on The Global President: International Media and the U.S. Government, one of the six books he has authored or co-authored.
A 2017 recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, he also was recognized for his service by the national political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. In addition, the University has bestowed upon him four teaching honors, including the Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, the Mary W. Pinschmidt Teaching Award, the Richard Palmieri Outstanding Professor Award and the Waple Research Professorship Award.
UMW has a continued history of Fulbright success. Currently Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti is on a Fulbright fellowship in Azerbaijan, where he is teaching Middle East history at two universities and researching centuries-old manuscripts. With the two recent Fulbright awards for Farnsworth and Larus, UMW faculty have received 12 Fulbright grants since 2007. Also earlier this month, Mary Washington was honored as a top-producer of 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Students, bringing the total to 22 students and alumni who have received scholarships since 2006.