On Post

Sanborn Receives Fulbright Grant

Col. Howard Sanborn

Col. Howard Sanborn, professor of international studies, discusses Hong Kong, the location of his upcoming Fulbright trip, with cadets in Scott Shipp Hall. VMI photo by Kelly Nye.

Col. Howard Sanborn, professor of international studies, will spend the fall semester in Hong Kong courtesy of a Fulbright grant from the U.S. State Department.

Sanborn is one of approximately 1,200 faculty members nationwide to receive Fulbright awards for the 2019-20 academic year. He’s long had an interest in Hong Kong, the former British colony which reverted to Chinese control in 1997, and has made two trips there in the past seven years to study Hong Kong’s legislature.

“This specific research project really comes into line with this overarching interest I have in the promotion of democracy through the establishment of robust legislative institutions,” said Sanborn.

Hong Kong’s legislature, explained Sanborn, is quite different from the U.S. Congress because not only is it a unicameral legislature, with only one chamber, but the way members are elected is also unique. Half of the legislators are elected on a geographical basis, and the other half are elected to represent “functional constituencies” or special interest groups.

“It provides a whole set of really cool questions to ask about how legislatures develop,” Sanborn noted.

While much of Sanborn’s time will be spent observing and conducting research about the Legislative Council, he will also teach a course in western democracy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and explore ways to bring cadets to Hong Kong as well.

In mid-April, Sanborn traveled to San Diego, where he met with Glenn Shive, director of the Hong Kong America Center – who, coincidentally, is a former Fulbright recipient.

“He’s very open to bringing cadets to Hong Kong as a nice gateway toward Asia, given its English-European heritage,” Sanborn commented.

Sanborn was quick to thank all those on post who’d helped him obtain the Fulbright, who include not only the dean but also his colleagues in the Department of International Studies and Political Science, some of whom have rearranged their teaching loads to accommodate his absence.

I am so fortunate to count myself a part of an ambitious, talented faculty, whose members have provided me nothing but encouragement and support throughout this process,” he stated.

Previous Fulbright recipients among the VMI faculty include the late Col. Jim Hentz, former chair of the international studies department; Col. Mark Wilkinson, chair of the history department; and Col. Timothy Dowling, professor of history.

“[Sanborn’s] Fulbright award is a well-deserved recognition of the important, cutting edge work that he is doing on democratization in Asia,” said Col. Dennis Foster, chair of the international studies department. “His is the first Fulbright to be awarded to a member of the IS department in 16 years, so this is a rare and prestigious honor that enhances our national profile.”

  • Mary Price VMI Communications & Marketing