The U.S. Department of State has selected a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumnus for a prestigious English language teaching fellowship in Jordan. Brian J. O’Hare earned his master’s in social work in May 2022 from the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health and was one of 200 U.S. citizens chosen for the 2022–2023 English Language Fellow Program. The premier opportunity is for experienced teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes globally in more than 80 countries.
Fellows work directly with local teachers, students and educational professionals to offer challenging projects. The selected fellows represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community.
During his 10-month fellowship project in Jordan at the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra, O’Hare will teach English, train teachers and will develop a special direct service project with marginalized groups in the town of Wadi Musa. Building upon past expertise and newly gained knowledge and skills through his social work training, O’Hare hopes to work with university students and tour guides to assist them in building practical solutions for their economic needs with the use of cultural resource management tools.
“English language is the vehicle for engagement in this particular context, yet the fellowship is much more nuanced than only teaching,” said O’Hare. “Fellows are cultural ambassadors and assist with efforts to foster mutual understanding between nations by focusing on educational exchanges and economic development. A large part of the fellowship is to create programs centered on inclusion of marginalized populations, and to enhance the livelihoods of individuals and families while protecting human rights by putting safety and dignity first.”
O’Hare has extensive experience in teaching, mentoring and training students and teachers in the U.S. and abroad. Between August 2020 and May 2022, O’Hare studied in the Thompson School’s MSW program in the Department of Social Work.
“Pursuing a social work degree was a natural progression from previous research I had done with immigrants and refugees in the United States. I am grateful for the clinical skills I gained in the MSW program pertaining to psychosocial well-being and social development, especially in regard to assessments, evaluations and interventions,” said O’Hare.
O’Hare earned a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology with a focus in language education from SUNY Albany, and a doctorate degree in applied anthropology from Teachers College, Columbia University.
The English Language Fellow Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. O’Hare’s selection was announced on July 22, 2022.