Fulbright program goes to CityLink

October 2013

This year's participants in the Fulbright Social Entrepreneurship Program are getting a new look at the city of Cincinnati and the United States by visiting the CityLink Center, the access point for a city-wide initiative that offers integrated services (such as employment services, access to publicly available resources, and financial services) to those living in poverty.

On Wednesday, September 25, the program participants set out for downtown Cincinnati to spend the day doing the kickoff workshop, discussion, and program introduction at the CityLink Center. The visit to CityLink not only gave participants a series of tangible examples of social entrepreneurship in the Cincinnati context (through the visit and a panel discussion), but it also exposed them to the broader issue and challenges of urban poverty in the United States.

"After hosting many of these international student programs, it is always interesting to see the reaction of many students when learning that we have poverty—let alone the scale of it—here in the United States," said Brian Bergman, Assistant Director for the Center for Social Entrepreneurship. "The fact that we share many of the same socio-economic issues—access to quality education, access to basic health care, et cetera—is simply not part of the narrative. CityLink afforded us the opportunity to not only expose the participants to that shared challenge of addressing these large social issues, but also provided them with a tangible, innovative model that is working to resolve those problems."

And the students enjoyed the experience of seeing people helping others using this innovative model. "CityLink prepares people for job interviews and helps them be prepared for situations in their own lives," said participant Muzhgan, who is studying Education. "It teaches people how to cook healthy meals, and things like that. That's really good." Muzhgan was hopeful that CityLink's model could be applicable in Afghanistan.