Yoldez Halleb is CED’s first Fulbright Scholar

yoldez-hallebYoldez Halleb is CED’s first Fulbright Scholar

By Thomas Mills

Sousse is one of the oldest cities in Tunisia. Pronounced “Sousa,” the city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 11th century BCE and later became a Roman colony in the second century. In addition to its great beaches and olive groves, the city is also host to an authentic medina, an Arab town with ramparts and markets, that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

With such a rich and vast collection of culture and inspiration, it is no surprise that University of Georgia graduate student Yoldez Halleb, who is from Sousse, Tunisia, decided to join the Master of Historic Preservation program at the College of Environment and Design.

“I started reading about the MHP programs from different universities,” said Halleb, who started classes at the CED in August. “Each university offered different courses. However, the flexibility of the CED’s MHP program allows students to explore a wide array of interests thanks to the variety of the courses offered, not to mention the CED’s impressive staff and faculty members.”

Additionally, Halleb looks to channel her passion of historical conservation to the preservation of historical sites.

“In my studies of the history of art and architecture, environmental impact, and protection of built patrimony, I developed a strong passion for historic conservation,” said Halleb. “I realised the great challenges of protecting the world’s architectural, cultural, and historical heritage in the face of the world’s development and destruction.”

Most impressively, however, is the fact that Halleb will be paying for her education with a grant from the prestigious Fulbright Program, a United States government-sponsored program designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, the Fulbright program is now active in over 160 countries and provides grants to approximately 8,000 students annually.

“The CED believes that the Fulbright Program provides an important way to engage in collaborative international scholarship and encourages student and faculty participation,” said Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the MHP program James Reap, who was a Fulbright Scholar teaching at the Jordan University of Science and Technology from 2005 to 2006 in Irbid, Jordan.

The first Fulbright Scholar the CED has ever had, Halleb is honored to represent both her country and the program.

“I feel fortunate and honoured to be a Fulbright scholar,” said Halleb. “Although I know I have a big responsibility to present the Fulbright Program and my country Tunisia the best way I can, getting an American education was a dream come true.”

Halleb feels confident that through the education she will get at the CED, and her passion for historical preservation, she can make a difference back home.

“I would like to go back to my country Tunisia and apply what I have learnt here,” said Halleb. “As an architect, I feel that it is crucial to give back to humanity and help in preserving what is left. Combined with my architectural background, I can actually play an active role in protecting the significant historic sites.”