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A long-running program that brought scholars from developing nations to the Watson Institute for International Studies has officially ended this year due to a lack of funding.

As The Herald reported last year,  the Watson Institute Scholars of the Environment Program was in danger of ending as its funding ended last semester. Though efforts were made to acquire more funds, not enough was raised.

Given Brown's budget deficit and the cost of the program, the lack of funding for the program did not surprise several of the professors involved.

"It's not just here, it's everywhere," said Lynn Carlson, Geographic Information Science systems manager, of budgetary cutbacks.

Housing, living expenses and transportation were all provided for through the program, according to Associate Professor of History Nancy Jacobs, who directed a mid-career training program for the Watson Scholars last year. Scholars were also allowed to vagabond classes at Brown without paying any tuition.

"It takes a lot of hard work to find funding for a program like that," Jacobs said.  "The program had benefits for both the Brown community and the scholars, but it cost a lot of money. Right now, I don't know that Brown has the resources."  

Steven Hamburg, an adjunct associate professor of environmental studies who cofounded the program in 2001, expressed a different opinion.  "It could have easily been continued at a very modest investment," he said.  

Since its founding in 2001, the program has brought roughly 75 scholars from more than 40 countries to Brown, according to Hamburg.  In addition, in previous years, the program also supported Brown students to conduct research in the Watson Scholars' home countries.

Though the program was "one of the most successful for providing funds for students studying abroad," Brown hadn't given the program priority to get additional funding nor was it willing to invest a "small amount" to continue the program, Hamburg said.

The scholars represented an enormous opportunity to internationalize the curriculum at almost no cost to Brown, he said. "Since Brown has a commitment to internationalizing, it's silly to walk away from something that's proven to be something effective."

In November, a conference hosted by the Luce Foundation, which funded the Watson Scholars program, will be held at Brown to discuss ideas for new programs, Jacobs said.

As to reviving the Watson Scholars program, both Jacobs and Hamburg said they were not hopeful.

"Once you lose momentum and people know about it, it's harder to start back up," Hamburg said.

"The program as it stood was really great while it lasted," Jacobs said.




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