a full-circle Periclean story

Hi all!

Natalie Lampert, ’11 here. Earlier this month, our director, Dr. Arcaro, forwarded me an email from Sarah Naiman, ’12, who had seen a picture of someone wearing a Periclean shirt on the State Department’s Fulbright Scholars homepage. That person was me — maybe my enthusiastic airborne jump gave me away, Tom? — while in Kathmandu, Nepal last December. I was there for a week attending the annual Fulbright ETA Regional Enrichment seminar for all Fulbright English Teaching Assistants at the time working in South Asia. A few months before the conference, I had arrived in Sri Lanka as a Fulbright Fellow, ready to spend the next nine months teaching English literature to first and second year students at a university outside Colombo.

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I think this is a fun and poignant story for a number of reasons. First, as Sarah rightly said in her email, it shows “just how much influence the program has beyond what we may be aware of.” I’m so glad I wore my Periclean shirt on that afternoon hike in Kathmandu — it was appropriate for a number of reasons, the most significant one being that I wouldn’t have been at that conference in Nepal, or working as a Fulbrighter in Sri Lanka, had it not been for the Periclean Scholars program at Elon.

The country of focus for my class, 2011, was Sri Lanka, and I spent three years alongside my fellow Pericleans working to understand that tear-drop shaped island and create valuable partnerships within the country. Our focus was on environmental education, and when a group of us traveled to Sri Lanka during Winter Term of our senior year, we spent three weeks meeting and continuing work with local partners and schools. We formed relationships with individuals who would, two years later, constitute my Sri Lankan family when I returned as a Fulbrighter. Our class’s strong partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and Rainforest Rescue International enabled us to hold a large-scale environmental conference — DSC_0043L.E.A.F. — at the University of Colombo in 2011, an incredible culmination of some of our environmental partnership work on the island. (And financial support from the American Center in Colombo as well as the Periclean program made it possible for me and another PS ’11, Jesse Lee, to return in the fall of 2011 for three months to continue working on Periclean initiatives.) It was while in Sri Lanka that second time that I realized just how invested I was in this country, thanks to Periclean — and so, while sitting at the kitchen table of Dr. Crista Arangala’s (our 2011 Class Mentor, more commonly referred to as “Mom”) mother-in-law’s house in Homagama, Sri Lanka in October 2011, I pressed “submit” on my Fulbright application, with hopes that the following fall, I’d return again.

And I did. And I attribute my excitement in that photo to the logo on the back of my shirt. On a personal level, being involved with the Periclean Scholars program at Elon has opened many doors for me, making it possible for me to have spent a total of thirteen months working, living, and teaching in Sri Lanka. I’m not alone in returning to the country of my cohort’s focus — many other Periclean Scholars have gone back to live and work in their Periclean countries, demonstrating the significance this program can have on the individual level. Once you truly invest in a place, you can never really leave it.

I love that a fellow Periclean who is interested in the Fulbright program (as I think many Pericleans should be, thanks to the very similar program values!) saw that photo and reached out to comment on the far-reaching influence of the Periclean Scholars program. These kinds of full-circle Periclean stories happen often, and thanks to Pericleans reaching out to share those connections (thanks, Sarah!) we can all get a glimpse of them every once in a while.

Periclean love,

Natalie, ’11


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