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Freeman Foundation Funds Internships in Asia

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A $96,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vt., has been awarded to Furman University to enable 16 Furman students to experience internships in East and Southeast Asia during the summer of 2017.

The award from the Freeman Foundation is based on a proposal spearheaded by Furman history professor Dr. Lane Harris titled: “The Furman Advantage: The Freeman Foundation International Internship Program in East and Southeast Asia.”

Including $48,000 supplied by the Furman Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships, the 2017 budget for the initiative amounts to more than $144,000.

Students who are accepted into the Freeman Foundation International Internship program each receive $8,000 in scholarships to enable them to live and work in East or Southeast Asia for at least six weeks.

The award comes on the heels of Furman’s October 2016 announcement of its strategic vision, The Furman Advantage. Furman President Elizabeth Davis outlined the university’s commitment, which guarantees every student the opportunity for an engaged learning experience—student-faculty collaborative research, an extended internship, or a service-learning project—designed to help each student create a personalized four-year educational pathway preparing them to have successful careers, impact their communities, and lead lives with meaning and purpose.

Said Harris, “The Freeman Foundation grant helps us stand behind The Furman Advantage promise. By providing intensive work experiences in Asia, we can help develop reflective students, leaders and global citizens.”

In addition to providing 16 students a chance to combine educational goals with immersive internship experiences in East and Southeast Asia, the Freeman Foundation International Internship Program serves to teach the students to reflect on and testify to the value of their Asian work experiences through written work or oral presentation at Furman Engaged, a campus-wide academic conference of student research and internship experiences.

The program is also designed to build upon and enlarge Furman’s network of relationships, particularly among alumni, in East and Southeast Asia who can provide internship opportunities. Finally, the program aims to recruit a core community of scholar-teachers at Furman, who will lead study away courses in East or Southeast Asia in future years, after which students will remain in Asia to complete their internships.

For more information, contact Dr. Lane Harris, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies; Director of the South Carolina Center for Teaching About Asia (SCCTA), at 864-294-2798, Or contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

About the Freeman Foundation
The Freeman Foundation was established in 1994 through the bequest and in memory of businessman and benefactor Mansfield Freeman, a co-founder of the international insurance and financial conglomerate American International Group, Inc., better known as AIG. This private and philanthropic foundation based in Vermont is dedicated to augmenting international understanding between the United States and the nations of East Asia. It accomplishes this principally through the distribution of grants in the educational sector.

The foundation, which grants about $50 million every year to various organizations and institutions, is committed to increasing, strengthening, and popularizing the teaching of Asia in university classrooms. It has created the Undergraduate Asian Studies Funding Initiative to provide grants to numerous American colleges to strengthen and expand their Asian studies programs. The dual aims of the initiative are to increase access to Asian studies courses and to increase the number of students in the United States studying about Asia.


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