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Ecological Education in the Ukraine –
Fulbright Scholar Oksana Buzhdygan Receives Mulert Award on Mutual Understanding

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY, February, 2014 - The German Fulbright Alumni Association is proud to announce this year’s Jürgen Mulert Memorial Award on Mutual Understanding is bestowed to Oksana Buzhdygan and her project “Environmental Education and Outreach for School-Age Students”. The Mulert Award is given annually to volunteers, artists, professionals and researchers across disciplines, whose work reflects and advances discourse on peace through mutual understanding.

Ms. Buzhdygan is presented with the award for her enrichment seminars with school teachers in rural areas of her home country, the Ukraine. Ms. Buzhdygan, an eco scientist and assistant professor at Chernivtsi National University, created her project as a model to raise public consciousness to the massive ecological changes and the lack of educational measures for environmental quality. “Intensive deforestation has a tangible influence on the many scattered villages of the Carpathian Mountains, but environmental education is not an integral part of school curricula yet”, explains Ms. Buzhdygan.

Together with faculty members, Ms. Buzhdygan organizes practical training courses for school teachers, focusing on areas of the Ukraine where resources for education are scarce and the impact of deforestation to the inhabitants is immediate. The purpose of the project is to connect professional ecologists with the community in order to heighten awareness of the science of ecology and local environmental issues. Seminar participants share their experience with colleagues in their schools as well as from adjacent villages and use their experiences in class to provide knowledge beyond the conventional curricula. 

“The project unites scientific knowledge and the human spirit to respond to global issues, and we wish to honor this specific contribution to the idea of ‘waging peace through mutual understanding’ ”, affirms Florian Kühnel, president of the German Fulbright Alumni Association. While her undertaking is a major challenge in the Ukraine, Ms. Buzhdygan also provides opportunities for teachers and students to access expanded sources of information and exchange through the project’s website. It is her hope that the ecological education she provides will act as a catalyst to create a new and much needed discourse on the environment.

The Jürgen Mulert Memorial Award on Mutual Understanding was established in 2010 in memory of Dr. Jürgen Mulert, scholar, poet, inventor and Deputy Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Program. Former Mulert Award recipients include Janosch Delcker and Sherief El-Helaifi. The award will be presented on February 22, 2014, at the German Fulbright Alumni Association's annual Winter Ball in Freiburg, where Ms. Buzhdygan will be a guest of honor and present her project.



Steffen Schmuck-Soldan
Coordinator Mulert Award

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