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Fulbright Scholars undeterred by COVID-19 pandemic

Fulbright Scholars undeterred by COVID-19 pandemic

FIU's 2020-2021 Fulbright Scholars are Lukas Danner, Kenneth Lipartito and Susanne Zwingel.

February 9, 2021 at 9:00am

Three FIU faculty members have been chosen for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program this year. 

Lukas Danner, Kenneth Lipartito and Susanne Zwingel make up FIU's 2020-2021 Fulbright cohort. Coincidentally, all are from the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs.

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly derailed global mobility and engagement. Four of the university's five faculty members and one student were forced to return home early from their 2019-2020 Fulbright assignment abroad.

For this year's Fulbright scholars, prospects to travel abroad remained uncertain. Fulbright fellows are expected to teach, research and engage with the host community to advance relations between the host country and the United States through people-to-people diplomacy. Physical distancing to stop COVID-19 from spreading makes this assignment difficult. FIU’s Fulbrighters, though, are undeterred and focused on completing their mission—this year or next.

Kenneth Lipartito, professor of history, will be spending the Fall 2021 semester at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto as a Fulbright Scholar. He will be collaborating with faculty on a multi-year research project on distribution sensitive innovation. Their goal is to develop programs and policies that encourage innovators in industry and government to develop new products, processes and services that are of benefit to all and help to reduce economic and social inequality.

Lipartito will focus on information technologies and the problems and biases of surveillance, which has become a growing issue of concern in the world.  

Susanne Zwingel, associate professor of politics and international relations, has deferred her Fulbright Scholar award to the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) in Trinidad and Tobago to Fall 2021. Zwingel will conduct research and teach international women’s rights norms and transnational feminism in the Caribbean, in collaboration with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS).

Zwingel brings to this research ample knowledge about gender norm development within global governance institutions; she is interested in the contribution of Caribbean feminists to global development as well as in the interplay of global norms and regional and domestic feminist activism. She will interact with graduate and undergraduate students and collaborate with IGDS, which is uniquely involved in research, public policy development and civil society activism.  

Lukas K. Danner, an instructor in the Department of Politics and International Relations and research associate at the Miami-Florida Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland, in early January 2021. Since public health conditions on this Nordic island are deemed safe, Danner is being hosted as Fulbright-NSF Arctic Research Scholar at the Centre for Arctic Studies of the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland until June of this year.

Danner's research project is titled “Iceland's Second Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2019-2021): A Study in Small States Leadership.” Contrary to the misconception that only great powers exert leadership internationally, he analyzes topical priorities set by the Icelandic Arctic Council chairmanship, the influence exercised in agenda-setting, and diplomatic efforts undertaken in bringing together interests of larger and smaller Arctic Council members and observers, as well as indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations. Danner is also teaching a graduate course on international political economy.

“Here I am in front of Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik's main landmark, and the statue of Leif Erikson that the U.S. government gave to Iceland on the occasion of the millennial celebration of the establishment of Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, in 1930. (Insofar, a long-standing connection between the Icelandic and American people symbolized here with that statue, not just on the basis of parliamentary/democracy but also the fact that Leif Erikson, an Icelander, is credited with having been the first European to have stepped foot on the North American continent—roughly 500 years before Columbus.)”—Lukas K. Danner.


The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. FIU currently counts 42 Fulbright Program alumni amongst its faculty. 

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide. This year, the Fulbright Program celebrates its 75th anniversary.

To learn more about Fulbright exchange opportunities, visit and contact FIU’s Fulbright Program campus liaisons Assefa Melesse at or Gitta Montoto at