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Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia. A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications.
Luce Scholars receive a monthly stipend from the Luce Foundation during their Luce year. The stipend, augmented when necessary by a cost-of-living allowance and a housing allowance, is sufficient to meet all of a Scholar’s normal expenses in Asia. Although Luce Scholars occupy professional positions in Asian institutions or agencies as a part of their assignment, they receive no compensation from their local hosts.
Placements can be made in the following countries or regions: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In spite of its name, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. Some Scholars have been attached to Asian universities in teaching or research capacities, but none of the participants is formally enrolled as a student in a college or university and no academic credit is extended. The placements are intended primarily as learning opportunities for the Scholars. Certainly it is hoped that a Scholar will be able to make a professional contribution to the host organization, but equally important is a willingness to learn some of the many things that Asia has to teach.
Specific placements have included an architect’s atelier in Tokyo; a public health program in Banda Aceh; a Gobi regional initiative in Ulaanbaatar; a dance theatre in Kuala Lumpur; an agricultural and environmental center in Hanoi; a human rights commission in Seoul; a pediatric hospital in Bangkok; a TV network in Beijing; a national museum in Siem Reap; an international arbitration centre in Singapore; and English-language newspapers, local governmental agencies and NGOs in diverse fields throughout East and Southeast Asia.
The program is designed as a cultural experience first and foremost. Each Scholar’s placement provides a professional venue and perspective, but the assignments themselves must be viewed as a mechanism through which to gain a broader understanding and appreciation of the culture in which one is living. As a purely professional experience, the year in Asia may not prove as satisfying as a similar assignment at home, often due to differences in management styles, political systems, work environments, and resource limitations. However, the insight gained through the year of cultural immersion and professional enrichment often makes their time in Asia a transformative experience for many Luce Scholars.
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