School of Social Work
El Salvador, 1994-95
My primary Fulbright responsibilities centered on teaching English to undergraduate students in the Department of Journalism and Communications at the University of El Salvador (UES). The University's campus had been seriously damaged by two decades of civil war, several earthquakes, and government hostility and neglect. While the Peace Accords had been signed two years earlier, the underlying conflicts that led to war were still simmering. While I was there, El Salvador became the murder capital of the Western Hemisphere, and violence and desperation continuously spilled over into daily life.
My second purpose for being in El Salvador was to continue with my research with a repatriated refugee community in the mountains northeast of the capital. This community was facing severe challenges to its egalitarian model of development, brought on by the loss of refugee status and the penetration of market-oriented practices and values. Unfortunately, the rising level of violence in the countryside interfered with my ability to conduct this research. But the basic dignity of the Salvadoran people --students, teachers, peasants, and farmers alike-- made my Fulbright year very fulfilling.
Contact George Burke: firstname.lastname@example.org