Jared Russell '18 has been awarded Australia’s Fulbright-Anne Wexler Master’s Award in Public Policy. Russell will use the award to sit for a two-year Master’s of Philosophy in Law at the University of Melbourne in Australia. The prestigious scholarship enables a U.S. postgraduate student with strong academic credentials and leadership potential to undertake a two-year Master’s degree in Australia in an area that supports Wexler’s binational interests in the field of public policy.
Russell, a Boettcher Scholar and Colorado College political science and philosophy major from Pueblo, Colorado, intends to focus on the relationship between climate change in the South Pacific, especially island nations near Australia, and the U.N. classification of refugee status. He will start the program in February 2019, the beginning of the academic year in Australia.
Russell is one of four Colorado College recipients of a Fulbright this year. Additionally, the college has two Fulbright alternates. The total of six Fulbrights is a record for CC.
"Winning the award was a surreal experience,” he says. “I remember calling my parents and telling them that grad school was paid for. They have worked so hard over the course of my life, and it was a relief knowing that I wouldn't have to take out any loans or have to worry about money.”
In his Fulbright application, Russell notes that at the current rate of rising sea levels, several island nations, such as Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Kiribati, will be covered by water within the next few decades, and given projections, port cities within Australia may be affected within the next century. Based on the United Nations definition of “refugee,” none of the individuals fleeing from an island nation will be classified as refugees within the international community, posing problems for Australia and every other nation that seeks to harbor these individuals, he says.
“The program is the perfect fit for me because it allows me to conduct research in the field that I hope to go into, and I am in the location where these issues are tangible and experienced on a daily basis,” he says. “Moving forward, I hope to both contribute to the discourse academically and advocate for those that are adversely affected by climate change.”
Russell notes that Australia is uniquely situated for this program, as it has both great academic institutions and will be at the forefront of his studies in the near future. “Many of the Pacific island nations will have to seek refuge in New Zealand and Australia should their territories slowly become engulfed by water. Australia must realize that the onus is upon them as a nation to assist these individuals,” he says. “Many of the island nations are stricken with poverty, and their refugees will be unable to afford to come to places such as the United States and Europe.”
As a political science major, Russell says he’s had the opportunity to study the relationship between international law and state implementation. Through studying philosophy, he has analyzed the ethics and rationale behind law. “I will incorporate that research as I analyze the efficacy of laws as they affect climate change refugees. These studies have taught me that I will not merely be working with numbers and statistics, but rather, human lives,” he says.
Russell also was a Humanity in Action fellow in Copenhagen last year, where he studied international human rights, social justice, and rising populist movements throughout Europe and the United States. He spent the fall semester in Oxford, England, where he studied the politics of the philosophy of law.
More than 360,000 Fulbright winners from the United States and other countries have participated in the Program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
Says Russell, spreading the credit for his award, “I would like to thank CC’s Fulbright Committee, which includes Roy Jo Sartin (CC Fulbright advisor), John Gould (professor of political science), Heather Powell Browne (assistant director of off-campus study, and Inger Bull (director of international programs). They were instrumental in the process, providing feedback on my application and guidance during all stages. I certainly wouldn't have received the award without their help and support.”