The seventh Fulbright International Summer Institute took place in the historic town of Tryavna on August 11-23, 2008. This year, FISI attracted 46 participants from the U.S., Bulgaria, Albania, Azerbaijan, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Lebanon, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
The participants were offered ten courses in a wide variety of areas: "Negotiation and Conflict Resolution", "Starting a Small Business", " Debate. Argue. Reason. Examine.", "American Foreign Policy and the International System in the Age of Globalization", "Decision-Making and Foreign Policy: Southeast Europe in the Trans-Atlantic Relations", "Public Relations: It Can Make or Break an Organization", "The West and the Others: Western Views of Other Cultures and Civilizations, from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era", "Logic in Continental Tradition", “The Philosophical Issues of the XXI Century” and "Introduction to Bulgarian Culture".
The new group of Fulbright grantees from the U.S. also attended the summer program and studied different aspects of Bulgarian history, politics, economy, tourism, social issues, folklore, literature and the arts.
All courses were taught in English by distinguished American and European professors, most of whom were Fulbright grantees and alumni. The lecturers represented prestigious universities and institutions from the U.S. and Bulgaria: Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, Graceland University, Sofia University, the American University in Bulgaria, University of National and World Economy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, New Bulgarian University, Phelps Dunbar LLP, etc.
For the first time, FISI students had a chance to enroll courses that are part of a regular M.A. program. Based on special agreements with Sofia University and New Bulgarian University, the courses "Logic in Continental Tradition" and “The Philosophical Issues of the XXI Century” provided their students with university credits.
FISI 2008 also offered an exciting cultural program which demonstrated the achievements of Bulgarian culture and the magic of Bulgarian nature. The highlight of the weekend was a one-day trip to Sokolski Monastery, the open-air ethnographic museum Etara and the architectural reserve Bozhentsi.
FISI participants represented 15 countries and their background varied from natural sciences and medicine through law, business and political science, to philosophy. This unique mixture, along with the very positive atmosphere, created a stimulating environment for exchange of knowledge, productive discussions on important and interesting issues, and, of course, a great deal of fun. FISI 2008 reaffirmed the validity and potential of the Fulbright idea of building mutual understanding through exchange of knowledge and cultural values. It obliterated cultural differences providing a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to demonstrate and share their knowledge, professional expertise, teaching and learning skills, enthusiasm and good will.