UNH Geography Department

J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board


UNH Geography Professor Receives Fulbright Award

By Erika Mantz
UNH News Bureau

January 8, 2001

DURHAM, N.H. -- Alasdair Drysdale, professor of geography at the University of New Hampshire, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research on family planning in Oman and Jordan, the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced.

Drysdale has been at UNH since 1976, and is currently chair of the geography department. His field is the Middle East, and this award will allow him to travel to Oman and Jordan to study birth spacing, a relatively new concept geared at reducing the fertility rate by encouraging women to wait longer between having children. Oman has the second highest fertility rate in the world.

"In these countries, large families are very desirable, but the health of the mother and the child are at risk," Drysdale says. "Birth spacing is a culturally acceptable way to encourage people to have fewer children."

Drysdale says population control programs are relatively new in both countries, but already more children are surviving. His research grant will allow him to evaluate the success of the programs.

"For me, one of the most wonderful benefits of spending an extended amount of time overseas is the opportunity to bring what I learn back to the classroom," Drysdale explains. "I am enriched by the experience, and it is very much reflected in my teaching. There is no question that everyone gains."

Drysdale and his family will return to New Hampshire next fall.

Drysdale is one of approximately 2,000 Americans who will travel abroad for the 2000/2001 academic year through the Fulbright Program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, its purpose is to build mutual understanding between people of the United States and the rest of the world.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated unusual leadership potential in their fields.

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