75 years of the Fulbright Program: Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak

In 2021 the Fulbright Program celebrates its 75th anniversary (In Poland, the Program has operated for 62 years). One of the ways in which we are joining this celebration is by presenting monthly Fulbright stories that showcase the positive impact of the Program on local and global communities. Each of these stories reflects the theme of the month. The May theme is “Advancements and Awards” and our Fulbright story focuses on Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak who talks about her work as an intercultural and anti-discrimination trainer and facilitator. More information about the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program could be found at fulbright75.org.

I am a linguist and a critical discourse analyst. I work primarily as an intercultural and anti-discrimination trainer and facilitator. I am the executive director of the training company which seeks to promote diversity and cross-cultural communication, and combat racial discrimination, and the violation of human rights of people of African descent in Poland. My research interests include discourse analysis, pragmalinguistics, racism and discrimination in language, and hate speech. Additionally, I have been a board member of the Association of Poles of African Descent (SPPA), and a member of PADlink, Alumni Association and  “Never Again” Association. In 2012-2013, I was a Fulbright Junior scholar at the Department of African-American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Working in the field of diversity has been my daily reality. I work as a diversity, inclusion and belonging trainer and consultant. I conduct DIB trainings and workshops, as well as consulting sessions for educational institutions, non-governmental and business organizations. In my academic research I primarily focus on racism in language and discourse. I collaborate with New Visions, Cosmodernity Consultants, the Polish Humanitarian Action, among others. I am a lecturer at the Tischner European University in Krakow. As a black Polish woman, I am involved in a number of activist initiatives advocating for the Black African-Polish community and fostering equality at large in Poland.

Increasing diversity, empathy, and inclusive intercultural education are core values of the Fulbright Program. In the last year there has been an increasing number of people of various origins, culture, religion, ability, skin color, sexual orientation or gender identity among the Fulbright grantees. Special attention has been given to women and other marginalized communities. Moreover, topics such as combating inequality and social exclusion globally have been increasingly encouraged.

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