Foundation Scholar Alex Ortolani


The Chicago Chapter sponsored Alex Ortolani to make a circumnavigation in 2000. His research topic was "The Impact of the Internet on Education".

Alex documented his research in a lengthy formal paper and he made a well-received PowerPoint presentation to the Chicago chapter. This presentation was such a hit that Alex became our first Foundation Scholar invited to fly to New York and to deliver his paper to the local chapter.


Background on Alex Ortolani

Alex hiking Mt. Katahdin

Alex grew up in Maine, a state with a lot of natural beauty (photo hiking at Mount Katahdin), and went to Cape Elizabeth High School. Literature and writing captured his imagination at a young age, and he won a few national writing awards. At Northwestern University, he double majored in American Studies and English/Writing. Alex also wrote for the school newspaper and magazine.


Itinerary of Circumnavigation in 2000

Alex Ortolani visited 7 countries on his 88-day circumnavigation: Peru, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, and Singapore.

  • June 5 - Depart Chicago
  • June 6-19 - Lima, Peru
  • June 19-26 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • June 27- July 3 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • July 4-17 - Cape Town, South Africa
  • July 17-31 - Harare, Zimbabwe
  • July 31- August 16 - New Delhi, India
  • August 17-23 - Bangkok, Thailand
  • August 24-31 - Singapore
  • September 1 - Return to Chicago

Research Findings

As a Circumnavigator Grantee in 2000 Alex Ortolani traveled around the world researching Internet use for educational purposes in secondary schools. He focused on developing nations. His research took him through schools in Peru, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, and Thailand. He found that teachers were interested in using inexpensive resources on the Internet, but the available technology, training, and software had not yet caught up with their enthusiasm.


Since His Circumnavigation . . .

Alex with 2 student friends

Since his circumnavigation, Alex has been a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa (2002 photo with fellow students Lawrence and Phomolo from Soweto), a reporter for The Associated Press in New Hampshire, and a Henry Luce Scholar in Hong Kong, where he wrote for The Wall Street Journal. He has an M.A. in writing from Boston University and an M.A. in African Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand. Currently, Alex is a reporter with The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's largest English-language daily.


Alex Comments on the Circumnavigators Grant

The grant from the Circumnavigators Club Foundation was pivotal in my life. My circumnavigation gave me the confidence, skills, and desire to travel and write. I hope the foundation continues to give students of every background, ethnicity, and interest the chance to embark on life-changing adventures. By supporting this grant, club members encourage the growth and education of future world leaders.