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CONTACT: Dr. John F. Lalande II, 312-2196
April 9, 2003
OSWEGO -- Dr. John F. Lalande II, professor and chair of modern languages and literatures at SUNY Oswego, has received a Fulbright grant for study in Germany in June. The outcome of his work will be a new course at SUNY Oswego in German culture and civilization, he said.
The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board approved his proposal as one of 25 for participation in the 2003 German Studies Seminar on the changing demographics in Germany. The three-week seminar will take the group to Berlin, Rostock, Frankfurt and Mainz to meet with representatives from a variety of institutions and populations that are dealing with the challenges of migration and aging in German society.
"Germany is changing radically," Lalande said. "There's a tremendous storming of the German borders from the east and from the south."
Part of the immigration stems from the 1960s when Germany needed immigrants to fill jobs in its expanding economy and drew them from such countries as Turkey, Greece, Spain and Portugal, he said. More recently during the Balkan conflicts, he said, "people streamed toward Germany because they knew it was a country of prosperity and peace." Known for its strong higher education system, the country also attracts students from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who decide to stay.
"Germany reluctantly admits today that it is an immigration country," Lalande said. "There's a richness in that that many people forget. The Germans are slowly beginning to realize that."
Lalande will be part of "a very, very diverse group of professionals" in the seminar, he said, with Americans in law, medicine, communications, sociology and other specialties represented.
As they meet with representatives of German government, religious, research, health, financial and educational institutions as well as representatives of major immigrant groups, they will learn about the nature of the demographic changes and observe German coping strategies with an eye to "how we can apply it here," Lalande said.
The Oswego German professor plans to use the experience to develop an introductory course at Oswego on German culture and civilization that students can take to fulfill a general education requirement.
Lalande said that Germany is the only country that offers this type of Fulbright grant, for a group intensive experience, and that it does so by footing half the bill since the United States cut back on Fulbright funding in the 1980s.
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