South and Central Asia

< Regional Highlights




Julie West, 2014-15 U.S. Scholar filming her subjects


South and Central Asia is a dynamic, rich, and diverse region balancing a respect for traditions with increasing engagement in an interconnected world. This region ranges from the vast steppes and rugged mountains of Central Asia to the deserts and tropics of South Asia. It is attractive for U.S. faculty and professionals because of its historic, religious, cultural and geographic variety. Bountiful opportunities exist across South Asia for teaching and research. Motivated scholars have an opportunity to make a significant impact in this region and are likely to be welcomed as the first or only Fulbright U.S. Scholars stationed at certain universities.


Quotes from Scholars



Zhang He, 2014-15 U.S. Scholar to India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with a painter in Bukhara

Bhutan (Teaching, 2014-15)
"My earlier work felt as a visitor, an outsider-come-to-assist. My life in Bhutan afforded me by Fulbright shifted my “outside looking in” status to one of true participant observer. Decisions I contributed to–whether at the Royal Thimphu College where I lived and taught, at the JDWNR Hospital where I worked from the periphery to support counselors-in-residence, the in- and out-patient psychiatry department physician and staff, or in my daily immersion in the lives of my colleagues, of my students and sometimes their families, of the bus and taxi drivers, of the monks and lopens from Bhutan’s Buddhist monastic community where I studied and designed ongoing research–truly each decision seemed to draw from the collective sum of my scholarship and as Heidegger coined, my being-in-the-world. Bhutan had a synthesizing effect both personally and professionally. I struggle to express fully, even adequately, the depth and breadth of my Fulbright experience in Bhutan. I have had a few cherished Bhutan dreams since my return home–where I dream I am there. When I awaken I’m smiling. What a gift I’ve received."

India (Research, 2014-15)
"I think the experience was also personally valuable because it helped me develop confidence as an independent researcher and collaborator. As a postdoc, I am used to being in the shadow of my advisor, but this experience helped me to learn how to fend for myself and take risks when I’m not sure what the outcomes will be. I am in a phase of transition in my life, and the experience helped me develop confidence as well as patience with myself."

Kazakhstan (Research, Nepal, 2014-15)
"Before coming to Nepal I felt that I understood the needs of low and middle income countries like Nepal and knew exactly how my work would proceed. However I was very wrong. My time showed me that most of my assumptions, and the assumptions of my colleagues about healthcare for very ill patients were wrong. Of course my Nepali colleagues knew the truth all along and only needed to show me. I wish that I could have been more useful to NSI and the other hospitals and NGOs that I came in contact with, but they made an incredible impact on me and on my work. My time as a Fulbright Scholar was invaluable. I never could have had the understanding about my field as I do now. I hope to elevate the work being done in Nepal to an international spotlight."

Nepal (Research, 2012-13)
"I made hundreds of friends who influenced how I perceive the world. In learning from them and teaching them about America, I changed on a personal level. It was also transformative to have my husband and daughter, neither of whom had visited former Soviet Union countries previously, travel with me. My husband now better understands my scholarly work (I have been working on former Soviet countries since 1992) and my daughter now speaks Russian. I deeply appreciate the fact that the Fulbright supports fellows' dependents."

Kazakhstan (Teaching, 2014-15)
"When I stepped onto the plane to depart Kazakhstan I was taken by a sense of acute reminiscence. What would I forget? Who would I forget? Now that I have returned to Louisville I am slowly placing all of this into valued context and perspective. It is still uncomfortable to be home and I suspect it will be for some time to come. This experience has reinforced in me that I am truly a citizen of the world...I have had the opportunity to be a change agent and be changed by an experience like Fulbright. My hope is that in some small way I influenced the benefits of comprehensive primary care, specifically family medicine, for Kazakhstan; one that must make a simple choice that will influence care for at least the next generation."

Kyrgyz Republic (Teaching, 2014-15)
"The whole experience reoriented me from my focus on American studies to seeing how my skills--not just my knowledge--can serve a much more international vision."

  • Complete information on past Fulbright recipients in South and Central Asia can be found in the Scholar Directory.


Examples of Successful Projects


Where They Walk, Monkeys Dance: Nomads, Performing Monkeys and Viral Diversity in Bangladesh
BANGLADESH, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka

Incorporating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into Undergraduate Curriculum at the Royal Thimphu College in Bhutan
BHUTAN, Royal Thimphu College, Ngabiphu

Clay, Community and Collaboration: Research in Traditional and Contemporary Indian Ceramic Sculpture
INDIA, Visva-Bharati University, Bolpur

Kitchen Talk: Central Asian Women on History and Social Change
KAZAKHSTAN, Ablai Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages, Almaty

Democracy and Religious Freedom in Central Asia
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC, International University of Central Asia, Tokmok

Liberalism in a Muslim Context
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC, American University-Central Asia, Bishkek

Higher Education in the Globalization Era: Case of a New University in Republic of Maldives
MALDIVES, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, Male

Evaluation of Climate Change Effects on Fishes of the Nepalese Himalaya
NEPAL, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu

Building Capacity for Gerontological Advocacy
PAKISTAN, The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan, Islamabad

Female on the Frontline: Women Freelancers and News Production in Conflict Coverage
SRI LANKA, The Sunday Times, Colombo

Knotted Carpets, Their Iconography and Technique as Medium of Cultural Interactions and Integrations in Early Historical Northern South and Central Asia
UZBEKISTAN, India and Kazakhstan, SCA Regional Research Scholar

Seismic Engineering - Disaster Response and Recovery
UZBEKISTAN, Tashkent Architecture and Construction Institute, Tashkent

  • Complete information on past Fulbright recipients in South and Central Asia can be found in the Scholar Directory.




CIES offers a series of resources providing detailed information on many aspects of the Fulbright Scholar Program opportunities. Depending on your interests, you can find a wealth of answers to your specific questions in our upcoming and archived webinars.

  • Presentation and Workshop Schedule - CIES program staff continue to visit university and college campuses countrywide, as well as participate in a range of conferences in the sciences. Please check the schedule to find out when program staff will be at an event near you. If you are interested in having CIES staff visit your campus and speak with department faculty about opportunities in your field, contact us at


Contact Us



To learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Scholar opportunities in the South and Central Asia region, please contact our regional team at