The Fulbright Program exists to enrich students’ education and expose them to new experiences and ideas, while encouraging international cooperation. The University of Georgia is proud to be a Fulbright institution, boasting a large number of graduates that have gone on to be Fulbright Scholars, as well as hosting a large number of Fulbright Scholars like Michael, a current MPA student here at UGA. 

Michael Saravia is Peruvian public servant with visual impairment and is committed to building an equitable, inclusive, and barrier-less society. He was born in Lima, grew up in the popular district of “La Victoria”, and represents the first generation in his family to pursue higher education. Michael focused his undergraduate studies on public administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, where he developed the foundation of his knowledge, skills, and values, met excellent professors and colleagues, and began his journey as a civil servant.

His professional trajectory encompasses areas such as territorial management, local government management, budgeting, public planning, and public policy design. In the Peruvian public sector, Michael has served in the Peruvian Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Education, and the National Council for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS). During his time with CONADIS, Michael took pride in having designed Peru’s first national disability public policy, a strategic instrument that aligns all state interventions for the benefit of disabled people. Additionally, he worked as a teaching assistant at his alma mater and as a researcher, recently publishing a study on the representation of people with disabilities in digital Peruvian newspapers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The uniqueness of his personal, professional, and academic background has allowed Michael to obtain the first Fulbright Disability and Leadership Scholarship, which is aimed at individuals with the potential to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities in Peru. This great privilege provided him with the opportunity to undergo an intensive English program at the University of Arizona before embarking on the masters of public administration at the University of Georgia (UGA). Michael says that his UGA experience has been wonderful; “I am delighted with the kindness of the people, the beautiful climate, the impressive campus, the quality of the professors, and much more. Additionally, I am fortunate to currently work in the UGA Department of Public Administration and Policy as a graduate research assistant and have access to all the support services provided by the UGA Disability Resources Center.”

When Michael returns to Peru, one of his goals is to become a change agent within the Peruvian government, leading the implementation of policies that ensure equal opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people. He is confident that all the knowledge, skills, networks, and experiences accumulated during his time in the MPA program, in particular, and at UGA, in general, will be invaluable assets in achieving this dream.