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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:02:38 EDT by admin, 137041 views
Global Scholarship Programs (IIE)
History paper by Medalis, Christopher (all papers)
The U.S. Higher Education Community's Response to October 1956: the Emergency Program to Aid Hungarian Students in the U.S., 1956-1958
The October 1956 Revolution in Hungary created a wave of émigrés in the Hungarian global diaspora. Of the more than 80,000 who arrived in the U.S., approximately 2,000 were university students. The U.S. academic community was sympathetic to their plight and concerned with their welfare. University leadership, faculty, and students were anxious to assist these students not only with humanitarian aid, but to use their position within universities assist the Hungarian students to continue their education. My paper will explore this response, and elaborate on the efforts of U.S. higher education institutions, national academic organizations, and scholarship agencies to aid the Hungarian university students who found themselves at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. The paper will discuss the collection and distribution of scholarship funds, efforts to negotiate admission into U.S. universities, and the creation of support networks and counseling services for these students’ unique needs.
The long-term impact of this assistance was great, as many of these students later became active members of U.S. academia. These efforts were not solely a humanitarian matter, but also a question of preserving and advancing the intellectual knowledge and skills that the Hungarians brought with them. This is significant, as ultimately the presence of Hungarian refugee scholars and students added a cultural richness and wealth of human talent to U.S. higher education institutions. The paper will also discuss efforts to document and preserve the impact of these scholars on U.S. higher education and scholarship.
Brief Professional Bio:
Christopher Medalis is the Director of Global Scholarship Programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE) In New York. From 1998 to 2007 he was Director of IIE’s European Headquarters in Budapest. He holds a PhD from Columbia University’s Department of History (2009), where his dissertation focused on the role of the Fulbright Program in higher education transformation in Hungary. He also holds a MA in History (Columbia 1993) and a BA in International Relations (George Washington University, 1989). His research focuses on the cultural and political relationship between the United States and Hungary throughout the 20th century through the mechanisms of educational exchanges.