The Asian Studies Program would like to congratulate Fulbright open study/research grant recipient, Moez Hayat (MASIA ’21) who will spend the 2021-2022 academic year studying the interplay of Brunei’s religious and cultural traditions with the modern education at the University of Brunei Darussalam. Below, Moez shares his reasons for applying for the Fulbright research grant, study plan, and how this experience will support his future career goals.
Country: Brunei Darussalam
Award type: Study/Research Grant
Host institution: University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD)
Duration: 2021-22 Academic Year
Why did you apply for the Fulbright Award to Brunei?
Brunei is an overlooked and sometimes misunderstood country, yet it plays an important role in Southeast Asia. Coming from the small, oil-rich state of Louisiana, I saw many parallels between perceptions of my home state and that of Brunei. My hope is simply to learn the full story. For example, Brunei has had a remarkable track record in stopping COVID-19. There has not been a single case of local transmission in over a year. There is a lot we can learn if we take the time to study smaller polities like Brunei, Louisiana, and many others across the world. I hope to do just that with my Fulbright.
Can you share your study/research plan?
I will be a visiting researcher at the Academy of Brunei Studies (APB) at the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD). There I will study the interplay of Brunei’s religious and cultural traditions with the modern education of the UBD. Brunei is well known as a traditional Malay Muslim monarchy. Yet, today, the UBD is one of the highest-ranked universities in Southeast Asia. I hope to learn how Brunei has succeeded in building a world-class institution while also staying true to its national traditions.
What aspect(s) of your Fulbright Program are you most excited about?
I am excited to meet other students and scholars from Brunei and across Southeast Asia. The Fulbright Program is a fantastic opportunity for intercultural educational exchange. I hope to learn from Bruneians about their country and traditions, and I hope in turn to teach them about my experiences as an American. I also hear Brunei has some lovely rainforests. I have never been to a rainforest before, so that will be a new experience!
How will your Fulbright experience influence your future career?
After my Fulbright, I hope to become a scholar of international relations with a focus on Southeast Asia. Although the region is fast becoming the central arena for US-China strategic competition, it unfortunately, remains understudied. With the Fulbright, I will have a chance to develop real expertise about the nature of politics in the region and the Malay world in particular. In that vein, I hope to eventually become an academic who can expand upon the literature of international relations theory using what I have learned about politics in Southeast Asia.