Middlesex Community College has been awarded a 16-month, $81,588 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Cambodia. Developed in partnership with Lowell Public Schools (LPS), the grant is designed to deepen and expand connections between Cambodian arts and cultural traditions within curricula at MCC and LPS.

Titled “Cambodia’s Cultural Heritage in the Modern World,” the grant will fund a four-week travel-study seminar to Cambodia in July 2016 for six MCC faculty and six LPS teachers. The project will enable participants to gain a fuller knowledge and understanding of Cambodian classical and folk art forms, which can then be used to design culturally sensitive educational activities for students at the elementary, secondary and college levels.

“We are honored to be awarded one of 16 national Fulbright-Hays Group Study Abroad grants,” said Dona Cady, MCC’s Dean of Global Education. “By engaging Middlesex and Lowell Public School faculty in authentic, classical artistic and cultural traditions, we hope to expand curriculum and the appreciation of this heritage to our students and the greater Lowell community.”

Additionally, the grant will support strategies for preserving and disseminating these traditions to a contemporary audience, and to provide Lowell’s Cambodian youth with a strong sense of cultural legacy. According to U.S. Census figures, Lowell has the second largest Cambodian population in the United States.

“This grant affords our educators the opportunity to deepen their cultural knowledge of Cambodia,” said Dr. Phala Chea, Coordinator of the English Language Education Program at LPS. “Sharing their own first-hand experiences in class will help instructors honor and promote cultural pride – making learning more meaningful and relevant for many of our students. These experiences will help improve our connections with local Cambodian families and the greater community.”

This project will build on a strong foundation of previous work by Middlesex to foster an appreciation of Cambodian classical and folk art forms among the general community. In 2010, MCC and LPS faculty took part in another Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Cambodia.

As a result of the first grant, in 2012 MCC Art Professor Margaret Rack, with the assistance of Ceramics Instructor Yary Livan, spearheaded a project to build a traditional Cambodian ceramics kiln on the grounds of Lowell National Historical Park. Designed to help preserve the tradition of Cambodian ceramics, the kiln is now available for college and community use.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students and faculty engaged in a common endeavor.

To learn more about MCC’s Fulbright-Hays grant, contact Dona Cady at cadyd@middlesex.mass.edu or 781-280-3678. To learn more about MCC’s Cambodian Kiln Project, visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/cambodiankiln To learn more about Fulbright-Hays programs, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/index.html

Middlesex Community College meets the evolving educational, civic and workforce needs of our local and global communities. As one of the largest, most comprehensive community colleges in the state, we educate more than 13,000 students annually on our campuses in Bedford and Lowell, and online. MCC offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs, plus hundreds of noncredit courses. At Middlesex, everyone teaches, everyone learns.