In the spring of 2018, Matthew Aruch, a doctoral candidate in the UMD College of Education’s international education policy program, received the 2018-19 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct his dissertation research in Brazil.
Aruch’s research focuses on the Pinkaiti Partnership, which involves the Kayapó—an indigenous people of Brazil—nongovernmental organizations, Brazilian governmental organizations, and university researchers and students in the U.S., Canada and Brazil, working to support Kayapó culture and sustainable development in the Amazon. He will investigate the Pinkaiti Partnership as a model for how education and research may facilitate cross-cultural and international partnerships with indigenous communities.
“I feel fortunate to be a part of such an important initiative. The Kayapó territories exist at the front lines in the battle against deforestation,” said Aruch, who is in his 6th year in the doctorate program. “Over more than 25 years, the Pinkaiti Partnership has brought together a remarkably diverse set of actors, each with a different set of resources, motivations and goals for participation. This fellowship will allow me to explore some of the distinct and overlapping challenges and opportunities between and among actors. I am interested to see if the Pinkaiti Partnership may help serve as a model for diverse stakeholder groups involved in education or research-based international partnerships at different stages of development.”
COE Professor Jing Lin, also in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education, serves as Aruch’s academic advisor.
“Matt's research helps to provide great insights on how global partnership in environmental sustainability involves environment and politics, local and global interests, and researchers, faculty and students acting both as learners as well as change agents,” said Dr. Lin. “His study informs us that constructive partnership takes vision and resilience to succeed and respect for local voices is essential. Matt's research will contribute to scholarship on understanding how groups learn to work together and maximize each other’s benefits and strengths.”
Aruch, who has served as Assistant Director of College Park Scholars’ Science, Technology, and Society program, has significant experience working in South America. Since 2014, he has co-instructed a UMD field course, Conservation and Indigenous Peoples to Brazil, in collaboration with Dr. Janet Chernela and Emily Colon from UMD’s Anthropology Department and taught a winter study abroad course called Technology, Education and Society: Ecuador in Context. More recently, in his role with the College Park Scholars program and the Global Classrooms Initiative, he partnered with the University of Cuenca, where students from Ecuador paired with UMD students in the Scholars’ STS program to consider the social and economic consequences of science and technology and to make cross-cultural comparisons.