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ALC Newsletter
October 22, 2021

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on the following achievements:

On the invitation of the Indian Consulate, Syed Ali and students Ross Bernhaut, Ariel Halpern, and Kamayah Carr-Bunkley participated in the Hindi Divas (Hindi Day) celebration on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at the Indian Consulate in Chicago. The Consulate General Mr. Amit Kumar and the Cultural Consul Mr. Ranjit Singh very warmly welcomed the UofM team and played the students’ videos reciting Hindi poems. The event was also reported in the news. The details are available here


Describing the trip, Ross, a doctoral student in the Department of History of Art writes: "Two weekends ago, at the invitation of Dr. Syed Ekhteyar Ali, a professor of Hindi and Urdu in the University of Michigan’s Asian Languages and Cultures department, I traveled to the Consulate General of India in Chicago to participate in Hindi Divas celebrations. Hindi Divas commemorates the adoption of Hindi, written in Devanagari script, as a language for official bureaucratic use by the government of India on September 14, 1949. In anticipation of the celebrations as the Consulate, I recorded a video of myself reciting a children’s poem with a clever rhyme scheme entitled ‘Makri-Kakri-Lakri’ (मकड़ी-ककड़ी-लकड़ी). During Saturday’s event my video, along with those recorded by a few other Hindi students at U of M and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was played before an audience of diplomats, scholars, and a wide array of leaders in the promotion of Hindi education and Indian culture throughout the Midwest. Numerous speeches were delivered, and even a short play was performed by a Hindi theater group. It was inspiring to learn of the various initiatives being advocated in educational institutions at every level, ranging from primary to higher education. The robust program of speakers was followed by a delectable Indian lunch and the opportunity to meet and network with other Hindi students, teachers, and scholars, as well as take photographs with the Consul General himself, Mr. Amit Kumar. Some of these photographs appeared in press coverage of the event by Chicago-based periodicals such as Desi Talk and hi INDiA. I had a wonderful experience at the Consulate General of India in Chicago, and hope I’ll have the opportunity to return for another Hindi Divas celebration in the future."


Ariel and Kamayah describe their experience as follows: “A couple of weekends ago, we went to the Hindi Day Celebrations in Chicago. Although we barely understood a word of what was going on, we loved the different speakers, skits, and especially the children's speeches! Yet this special opportunity further introduced us to the wonderful world of Indian culture and Hindi celebration. As we continue on our journey, we are excited to get involved with these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” 

Photo (left to right): Kamayah Carr-Bunkley, Ariel Halpern, Syed Ali, Amit Kumar (Consul General), Mithilesh Mishra (UIUC, Hindi faculty), Ross Bernhaut (2021 winner of the best student award for Hindi).

We are pleased to welcome the following faces to our halls:
Krittayot “Patrick” Chaloemmiprasoet is among us as a Thai Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA). While here, he hopes to broaden his horizons in terms of teaching techniques and learning about American culture. In Thailand, he teaches English to students in grades 9 and 12 at Bangplama Soonsumarnpadungwit School, Suphanburi Province. After finishing the program here, he would like to share the experience and knowledge gained at the University of Michigan with his coworkers and students to improve his school’s performance.

Quang Nghia is our Vietnamese Fulbright FLTA. Before coming to the US, he graduated from the University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City and worked as a civil engineer. However, after two months, he realized that his passion was teaching languages, so he began work on a degree in Linguistics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities. He has also worked as an English teacher for about 3 years before coming here. 


Nghia is particularly into playing musical instruments and plays the guitar well. He has brought his guitar with him and is sharing a clip of his playing with us: ☺ He also enjoys blogging about life in the US. His blog is mainly about his experience teaching English, but he also hopes to speak to those who want to switch careers. Interested readers can find it here.

Hailing from Pakistan, Sobia Qureshi, our Urdu FLTA, is another new face. Sobia earned her BS (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the National University of Modern Languages with a gold medal. Before moving to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar, she worked as a lecturer at the University of Sindh, where she taught American Literature, Introduction to Linguistics, Functional English, Discourse Analysis, Poetry, and Remedial English. Her research interests lie in Education Policy, Language Teaching, Evaluation, and Assessment, Public Policy, Linguistic Anthropology, Sociocultural Theory, TEFL, South Asian Studies, and  Curriculum Development. Sobia is currently associated with the university for her research in South Asia, human rights, and citizenship studies; she is pursuing her MPhil in Applied Linguistics with a planned research focus on eye-tracking and testing in language learning skills. 

Sobia began her teaching career while also working for programs targeted at achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. During her time there, she was able to persuade board members to modify the syllabus to create a more inclusive course. She has also worked as a Team Leader and Communications Head for a well-known non-governmental student-run organization known as AIESEC for 4 years. Being around youth making a global impact and the prospect of expanding that through education cemented her path in teaching and working with students to build a community based on equity and inclusion. Lastly, in 2019, she was selected to do short-term research in Turkey on the basis of her formidable linguistic skills—facility in six languages—examining the relationship between writing systems and language learning.

Samapika “Sam” Roy, a native of West Bengal, India is a Ph.D. student in Computational Linguistics at the Indian Institute of India, Varanasi, where she has been a teaching assistant to courses such as Communicative English, Machine translation, Education, and self. This year, she is here as is here as a Bangla Fulbright FLTA. Samapika holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal, as well as an MA in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. She has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Apart from academics, she is also interested in co-curricular activities and has won prizes in mime, dance, and a national essay competition in Bangla. She is also an award-winning athlete and organizer of national and international conferences and socials. Most of all, Sam is interested in aiding others, and to that end, she writes that her Diploma in Social Work course from the National Council of Education (India) gave her a better understanding of the world of non-profit organizations. She adds that she is thankful both to Fulbright and to UM, and of course, we are thankful to have her here. 


A reminder that ALC is co-sponsoring “Halaloween 2021: A Muslim Horror Film Fest.” The series runs all October and features five films “from Muslim majority countries that were made by, for, or about Muslims, with the hopes of understanding ‘What scares Muslim audiences? Are horror movies halal?’” Each film is available remotely for one week at no cost. For horror fans among us looking for transregional connections, one of the Asia-based films remains: “Impetigore” (Indonesia, available from Oct. 29). More information can be found here:


Renewing my request for photos from the field… Angkor Wat, 2013.

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University of Michigan Department of Asian Languages and Cultures · 202 S Thayer St Ste 6111 · Ann Arbor, MI 48104-5413 · USA

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