Political reforms and influence on Arab uprising is focus for Fulbrighter Matt Lacouture

Matt Lacouture
Matt Lacouture

Support he received from the Office of Study Abroad and Global Programs was integral, says doctoral candidate Matt Lacouture, in his receiving a Fulbright Research Scholarship award for the 2018-19 academic year.

Study Abroad Director Kelli Dixon is the university’s Fulbright student liaison and with her staff assists students through every step of the application process.

“(They) put together a fantastic review panel that provided vital notes and input, allowing me to produce a polished and targeted final application,” says Lacouture.

Also critical to the success of his proposal to research reforms and their influence on the 2010-13 Arab uprisings was the institutional and collegial support here and from the University of Jordan (UJ), where he will stay.

Associate Professor Sharon Lean, Lacouture’s dissertation chair and associate dean for student services in the Graduate School, secured the UJ connection with a colleague while attending a Council of Foreign Relations Educators Conference.

The opportunity fulfills a long-held goal of experiencing day-to-day life in the Middle East, the focus of Lacouture’s studies in comparative politics.

Conducting fieldwork for his dissertation, Lacouture plans to interview officials and experts from state, business, labor and academic sectors about the implementation of reforms and their influence on the unrest. 

Immersing himself in academia and culture, Lacouture says he is ready to embrace experiences he knows will enrich his life in unimaginable ways. Studying Arabic in Oman last year on a Critical Language Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program, he and scholars from around the world had a cook-off atop a hill overlooking the city of Ibri, sharing tips on grilling cheeseburgers.

Including the language component of the scholarship, Lacouture will be abroad for nine months, beginning in August.

He is one of three students awarded Fulbright scholarship grants for the 2018-19 academic year, the university’s largest cohort in two decades. 

For questions related to the Fulbright Student Program, contact Kelli Dixon, director of Study Abroad and Global Programs, at ab6179@wayne.edu. For preliminary information, visit http://us.fulbrightonline.org/. Deadline to apply for the 2019-20 program is Oct. 9.

The Office of International Programs leads Wayne State’s global engagement by creating opportunities that foster international education and research, facilitate the exchange of individuals and ideas that promote global competencies and citizenship, and provide resources that support the expansion of the university’s global agenda. Follow us on Twitter @WayneOIP.


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