ISU professor emerita Beachboard receives Fulbright Scholar Grant to Kosovo to enhance women’s rights
POCATELLO – Idaho State University communication professor emerita Martine Beachboard was awarded a Fulbright Grant to Kosovo to help enhance women’s rights.
Beachboard was selected to participate in the Fulbright World Learning program. She worked this fall with the Kosovo Women’s Network in Pristina. The appointment was arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo.
“I had been in interested in this region of the world for a long time,” Beachboard said. “The work of this women’s organization struck me as especially important in these post-war years.”
Kosovo, part of the former Yugoslavia, was at war with Serbia in 1998-99. Its citizens still struggle with events and effects of the conflict, including rape, torture, war dead, persons missing in action and economic challenges.
Igballe Rogova, executive director of Kosovo Women’s Network and a widely known women’s rights activist, spoke about her work and her country on the ISU campus in June 2009. The Kosovo Women’s Network is widely known for initiatives addressing gender-based violence, workplace discrimination, women’s economic empowerment, women’s political participation and decision-making, gender-equal education and access to quality health care for women.
The Kosovo Women’s Network is a non-governmental organization with 157 member organizations, and Beachboard was able to work with some of their representatives as well.
Her assignment with the Kosovo Women’s Network centered on enhancing organizational efforts to improve strategic communication, enhance visibility and write public communication pieces in English. The Fulbright grant application cited a need for “improved, ongoing use of effective, contemporary communication materials, better targeted messaging and enhanced engagement of media most appropriate for increasing public awareness and contributing to behavioral change, particularly related to furthering gender equality in Kosovo.”
To that end, Beachboard conducted workshops on topics ranging from strategic communication planning to creative thinking and writing media releases and success stories. She edited employee work and provided individual mentoring.
“Kosovo Women’s Network is an effective and high-profile NGO,” Beachboard said. “It was a privilege to help them hone their skills. The timing was good, because they had several new employees working in public relations and social media.”
“It was an adventure,” she said. “Traveling always is.”
She said she benefited from the popularity America gained by intervening in the war during the Clinton Administration.
“Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright are honored with statues, plaques and street names in every major city,” Beachboard said. “I hope my visit there reinforced positive international relations in some small way. Several Kosovo Women’s Network colleagues have promised to keep in contact, some regarding future collaboration, some just as friends.”
She added that it was satisfying to travel while making a contribution to society, not just as a tourist.
“Working with Professor Beachboard was very helpful,” said Rudina Voca, a public relations intern at Kosovo Women’s Network. “She has remarkably mentored me in communication skills and the writing process. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to work with such an exemplary and visionary mentor.”
Mirjeta Dibrani, a grants assistant at the network, said Beachboard was able to simplify communication-related issues.
“Professor Beachboard manages to make clearer the way communication works; she makes things very comprehensible for all audiences,” Dibrani said.
Beachboard taught advertising, public relations and newswriting at ISU for 15 years. She was formerly a journalist in Arizona. She then worked as public relations manager and website editor for the University of Maryland University College European Division in Heidelberg, Germany.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of leadership and contributions to society as well as expertise in their fields. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.