Awesome day for mtvU, as Secretary of State Clinton leaked the winners of this year's Fulbright mtvU Fellowships via twitter. Each year, mtvU asks some major artists (Wyclef Jean, Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio and Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to name a few) to help us pick 4-5 students to send abroad; they study the impact of music on foreign culture, and they report back on to their peers via mtvU. Thanks to the amazing work of Ashley Simon, as well as Jennifer McComb, Gina Esposito, Paul DeGeorges and others on the team, mtvU is the perfect place to do it.
And huge thanks to this year's judges: Vampire Weekend, Santigold, Death Cab For Cutie and Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance Here are this year's winners, announced today: Andrew Magill, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a B.A. in Cultural Studies in May 2009, will travel to Malawi to work with the UNC Malawi Project and AIDS organizations to video-record narratives of Malawian families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Andrew will collaborate with Peter Mawanga, a well-known musician and social activist, to develop a concept album whose sales will benefit AIDS social service networks. Michael Silvers, a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, will travel to Brazil to study the relationship between the culture of forró, a kind of popular dance music, and the climate of northeastern Brazil. Working with Vila Estúdio, a recording studio in Fortaleza, Ceará; accordionists from around the state; and a quadrilha square dance ensemble, he will explore the ways in which climate change and drought have impacted how and why people make music. Rod Solaimani, who graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Policy in 2008, will travel to Morocco to study and participate in the Afro-Arab-Gnawa-Western musical exchange. A skilled percussionist, he will research the impact of U.S.-Moroccan musical partnerships in three cities, use his findings in local high school music curricula and promote cross-cultural collaboration with a student concert. Tina Wadhwa, who graduated from Columbia University in 2007 with a BA in Political Science and Economics, will travel to India to create a documentary exploring the impact and influence of Bollywood music on underprivileged youth in Mumbai. She will also develop the music and drama center of the Akanksha Foundation while focusing on the role of music as a vehicle for collective expression and understanding among the children. PS Thank you HILLARY!