Nestled hundreds of feet underground, Mary Ellen Schmider and Nancy Neill toured an Albanian bunker– an entire subterranean city built in the Cold War to preserve the government and all its ministries and committees from atomic attack. Through the Fulbright Alumni Service Corps, Mary Ellen and Nancy were among the 13 participants on the inaugural Alumni Service Corps trip to Albania. The Fulbrighters came to Albania with the noble intention of service, working with Cultural Heritage Without Borders (CHwB) on several restoration projects.
By visiting a 6th century Byzantine church and the ancient site of Antigonea in Epirus, the Fulbrighters had the opportunity to learn about the importance of conservation and restoration of historical sights. Though the Byzantine emperor Justinian and Pyrrhus of Epirus have long passed, the efforts of groups like CHwB and these Fulbright alumni volunteers that allow their memory to live on.
The group enjoyed spending time with fellow Fulbrighters , exploring Albanian culture and meeting Albanian Fulbrighters. Through this unique organization, people from across the globe are able to work together for a common goal and help communities worldwide. It is a passion for service that united the Fulbrighters in Albania.
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