SPRINGFIELD -- Brent Never, assistant professor of public administration at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received a Fulbright grant to study conflict resolution in Northern Ireland.
He will spend the 2007 fall semester, from September through December, at the University of Ulster, outside Belfast, doing research and teaching courses in public administration as a visiting faculty member.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity," he said. "Simply put, what I hope to do is study how nonprofit organizations get involved in conflict mediation at the local level," Never said, first explaining that the American term "nonprofit" is not used in Britain.
Northern Ireland is emerging from a 30-year religious conflict, culminating in the 1998 Good Friday Accords. Never seeks to determine what types of nonprofit organizations get involved in different types of conflict. "As a conflict unfolds, there are different levels of intensity and scope," he said. "Different organizations become involved to address different aspects. My theory is that while governments are commonly seen as being sent into conflict zones, it's really non-governmental organizations that do most of the work in resolving a conflict."
Never wants to bring this knowledge back to the United States, where nonprofit organizations provide many essential social services. "The idea is that here in the U.S., nonprofits also get involved in providing services at different intensities of public problems. For example, it is necessary to understand what nonprofits are providing employment training programs in Chicago as the unemployment rate changes over time. With this knowledge, the state can make more informed decisions about which organizations to fund."
Each year, CIES awards 800 traditional Fulbright Scholar grants to college/university faculty and professionals to lecture and conduct research abroad. Awards recognize the recipient's globally important teaching, research, and service; in addition, they provide an opportunity for faculty to further their areas of expertise or pursue new directions in research.The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is managed by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. For further information on the program, visit the CIES website at www.cies.org.