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SUNY Plattsburgh SBE Faculty Awarded Fulbright Grant

richard and eva gottschall

Dr. Richard Gottschall is adding Azerbaijani to his linguistic repertoire this semester as he embarks on his latest overseas adventure: that of teaching graduate students at Azerbaijan State University of Economics.

Gottschall, SUNY Plattsburgh associate professor of marketing and entrepreneurship in the School of Business and Economics, is among more than 800 top scholars nationwide to teach and conduct research overseas as part of the Fulbright Program. He arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Jan. 2, along with his 14-year-old daughter, Eva, a Plattsburgh High School student until this semester, when she’ll be studying at The International School of Azerbaijan.

As a Fulbright scholar, the elder Gottschall will conduct research interviewing small- and medium-sized local business owners about their processes, perspectives on opportunities, family involvement in their business, educational and career experience, and anything related to innovation in their sector.

A month after arriving in Baku, Gottschall said he was getting acquainted with his new home base.

“I am adjusting to the culture at the initial surface level,” he said. “The Azerbaijani people have been really nice and helpful.”

Having already learned a few basic words of Azerbaijani, the national language, Gottschall started taking lessons in Russian, a secondary language in the region, three times a week. He already speaks the Slavic Macedonian language, which he said is similar to Russian.

‘Promoting Positive Global Relations’

rich gottschall East of Armenia, Azerbaijan is on the Caspian Sea, west of Turkey and north of Iran. Before gaining independence, it was part of the Soviet Union.

“I am really excited and proud to be selected as a Fulbright scholar. The Fulbright Program has an incredible history and role in promoting positive bilateral relations between the USA and countries worldwide,” Gottschall said.

“Professionally, it is a chance to engage with my academic colleagues in my field of study who are from a different part of the world. I hope that this mixing of worldviews leads to creative work. Personally, I am excited to live in a new country and learn about the people and culture of Azerbaijan.”

“SUNY Plattsburgh is immensely proud to celebrate Dr. Richard Gottschall as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program awardee in business administration,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President Alexander Enyedi.

“His commitment to teaching and research exemplifies the impactful contributions our scholars make on a global scale. I personally commend Dr. Gottschall — and all Fulbright finalists — for their dedication to advancing knowledge and building connections that transcend borders.

“Their experiences abroad not only elevate their own academic pursuits but also bring a unique global perspective to our campus, providing opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to create a more interconnected and enlightened world,” Enyedi said.

Peace Corps, Earlier International Work

Gottshall’s Fulbright work adds to a series of earlier experiences he had working abroad with government organizations.

From 1997 to 1999, Gottschall served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of North Macedonia specifically working on a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project focused on microcredit.

“I use my international experience and training as a platform for improving my understanding of economic growth and new venture creation and development,” Gottschall said.

In 2000, Gottschall returned to North Macedonia, staying until the following year to work as a contractor on a USAID-funded venture capital fund. From 2002 to 2003, he again worked with the agency on a project they funded in Montenegro.

“While I lived in Plattsburgh for the last 20 years, I did my Ph.D. work in Montreal and have done research comparing U.S. and Canadian marketing strategies,” he said.

‘Better Thinker, Learner, Teacher’

“Part of the Fulbright program is to foster positive relations, which is very similar to the Peace Corps’ primary goals,” Gottschall said. “This (new venture) is a general extension of my work in civic diplomacy and economy growth.”

The Fulbright experience has the potential to make him a better teacher to students in Au Sable Hall once he returns to SUNY Plattsburgh, he said.

“As a teacher, it’s really important to also be a learner. Being in a different culture for an extended period of time can make you a better thinker, learner and teacher.”

He will return to Plattsburgh in June after the conclusion of the spring semester at his host university.

— Story By Assistant Director of Communications Felicia Krieg with Photos Provided

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