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Save Fulbright from an unprecedented $ 30 million cut

Fulbright alumni from all over the world were among the first to raise their voices loudly and clearly to object to the $30 million cut to the Fulbright Program the Obama Administration originally proposed for the 2015 federal budget in March, and the appropriations committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted in June to restore Fulbright funding.

SaveFulbright.org and alumni advocacy have been a crucial part of this remarkable bipartisan success story. Congress has reconvened its August recess, but a finalization of the federal budget for 2015 is unlikely until after the November 2014 elections.

Get some quick facts about the SaveFulbright initiative below.

The Status of Congressional Deliberations

via Alliance for International Educational & Cultural Exchange

September 10, 2014

A continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded past September 30 might be the only legislation Congress will pass before breaking for the November elections, CQ.com reports:

“Such a stopgap is expected to do little more than extend fiscal 2014 spending levels and policy directives … through Dec. 11 or 12.”

August 4th, 2014

FY15 appropriations process appears stalled until after November elections, CR very likely

As Congress begins its five-week August recess today, the FY15 appropriations process appears to have stalled until after the November elections. A continuing resolution (CR) is very likely to be enacted to keep the federal government funded past September 30.

Congress is scheduled to be in session for only two full weeks in September, leaving little time for action once the House and Senate return from recess.

“Final action on FY15 appropriations bills will not come until after the November mid-term elections in the lame duck session. The FY15 Continuing Resolution is expected to extend through December and depending on the outcome of the election, Congress will either finalize FY15 into an omnibus appropriations bill or extend the CR into early/mid 2015.”

June 24, 2014

The full House Appropriations Committee marked-up its FY15 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill this morning, reflecting what was included in the bill text marked up by the SFOPS subcommittee last week: a flat overall funding level for exchanges, and funding levels for the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), and Citizen Exchanges that are increases over FY14 levels, as opposed to President Obama’s proposed cuts.

The draft House report language for State Department exchange programs makes clear that the House Appropriations Committee does not support a reduction of “core academic, professional and cultural exchange program funding by over $30,000,000 in order to support new and expanded program initiatives, as proposed in the request,” but that it does support those exchanges if funded from other sources. Paired with the Senate language that specifically supports and funds the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and the Young South-East Asian Leaders Initiative (Y-SEALI), this House language helps to create a situation in which these new initiatives could receive additional funding in conference.

The Committee also endorses the administration’s efforts to expand exchanges in Latin America, expressed earlier this year in the President’s State of the Union address.

The House Appropriations State-Foreign Operations full bill is available here.

 

June 20, 2014

Both the House and the Senate proposed strong FY15 funding levels for Department of State international exchange programs this week.

Yesterday, the Senate proposed $590.77 million for State exchange programs in FY15. This funding number is a $22 million (or 3.9 per cent) increase over the current FY14 level and $12.87 million over the President’s FY15 request of $577.9 million.

On Tuesday, the House proposed $568.628 million for State exchange programs in FY15. This funding number is the same as the current FY14 level and $9.27 million below the President’s FY15 request.

Neither the House nor the Senate supported the President’s proposed reductions of the Fulbright (President proposed a cut of $30.5 million) and Citizen Exchange (President proposed a cut of $13.5 million) programs. Both of these line items were cited specifically in the House and Senate report language. The Senate flat-funded both Fulbright and Citizen Exchanges, while the House called for slight increases for both line items

The Senate specifically noted that it does not support the President’s proposed reductions and “has provided sufficient funds to avoid such reductions.” The Senate also specifically funded some of the new and innovative initiatives included in the budget, including $15 million for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and $5 million for Young SouthEast Asian Leaders Initiative (Y-SEALI).

Appropriations process moving forward

It appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will find a way forward to debate and pass its FY15 spending bills. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has aggressively pushed to pass and conference all 12 annual spending bills with the House before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. Yesterday, however, a “minibus” package of three spending bills (Agriculture-FDA, Transportation-HUD, and Commerce-Justice-Science) was pulled from the Senate floor after Republicans and Democrats were unable to reach a deal on amendments.

This development is seen as a sign that political maneuvering in an election year will make it extremely difficult for Sen. Mikulski to achieve her goal and for spending bills to be passed before October. It seems more likely that a continuing resolution (CR) will need to be passed before September 31, funding the government at FY14 levels for several months of FY15. The FY15 appropriations bills will then need to be picked back up some time after the November elections.

 

“…to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations,…to promote international cooperation for educational and cultural advancement; and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.”

- Purpose of the Fulbright Program – Preamble: Fulbright-Hays Act, 1961

Why #SaveFulbright funding 2015 is so important

10 good reasons to restore $ 30 million to the Fulbright Program budget

  1. The State Department always has referred to the Fulbright Program as the “flagship international academic exchange program” of the United States: the premier instrument to engage other countries in the world in partnerships and to facilitate dialogue with citizens and institutions of higher education.
  2. After 1946, the Fulbright Program provided foundational impulses for the internationalization of US higher education, and it has been instrumental in making the United States the leading destination for international students and scholars. It brought the first large groups of international students to the United States in the late 1940s and 1950s, and it still helps bring many of the best international students to the United States today. According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students contribute over $ 24 billion to the US economy each year, and the Fulbright Program is one of the most respected programs among international educators in the United States and abroad.
  3. With over 355,000 alumni from over 155 countries, the Fulbright Program is the United States’ oldest, largest, and most prestigious exchange program.  As the Department of State website notes: “The Fulbright Program’s stature and success is based on its sustained commitment to international bilateral partnership and joint priority-setting, …“  The proposed cut of $ 30 million is incompatible with the spirit of the Fulbright Program.
  4. The unprecedented $ 30 million cut would do substantial damage to the reputation of the Fulbright Program. A cut of these dimensions would raise doubts about the US commitment to the program and erode the value of the symbolic and political capital that the United States has accumulated in over sixty years with the Fulbright Program.  The symbolic value of the Fulbright Program cannot be overestimated.  It costs little but unequivocally emphasizes the common values and interests the United States shares with its friends and allies and to which the United States appeals when seeking their collaboration and support.
  5. The Fulbright Program is not exclusively a US government program. It also is based on executive cost-sharing and partnership agreements with 49 states, each of which has a binational Fulbright commission responsible for managing the program in the spirit of mutual understanding. Among these 49 countries are the United States’ long-standing friends and most important allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, and in the Western Hemisphere. There is a long-standing strategic dimension to the Fulbright Program.  It is about building and maintaining robust educational, scientific, economic, and political partnerships; knowledge transfer; and competition in the global marketplace, too.  Among its alumni are 29 former heads of state or government, 53 Nobel Prize winners, and 80 Pulitzer Prize winners.
  6. The governments as well as private and public institutions in the 49 states with binational Fulbright Commissions contribute the lion’s share of the over $100 million that flows into the Fulbright Program annually.  This is almost half of the total US government allocation to the program.
  7. In the many of the 49 countries with binational commissions, the respective national contributions to the Fulbright Program are substantially higher than those of the US government.  Among countries in Europe with binational commissions, for example, the ratio of the average partner country contribution to the US government is 2:1, but it goes as high as 8:1 or 9:1.
  8. This kind of commitment from partner countries to the Fulbright Program makes it exceptionally cost effective and gives the US taxpayers a big bang for their buck. In many countries with binational Fulbright commissions, partner countries spend more funding Fulbright opportunities for US students and scholars to go abroad and more for their own students and scholars to go to the United States than the US government does.  Why undermine their confidence in the US commitment to the program with $ 30 million cut and ultimately jeopardize those revenue flows?  Under these circumstances, US grantees and US institutions are among the primary benefactors of partner government contributions.
  9. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 US students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 US scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals.  The 13% cut of $ 30 million in the Fulbright budget will most likely translate into the loss of at least 13% of these grants, if there is no additional collateral funding damage: over 1,040 Fulbright awards.  If these cuts were applied to the part of the Fulbright Program for US students and US scholars, over 40 percent of the awards would be jeopardized.
  10. The proposed Federal Budget for 2015 is over a trillion dollars. The State Department and USAID have a combined budget of over $46.2 billion dollars. It
 is completely incomprehensible why a decrease of $ 30 million in the USAID budget could not result in a corresponding increase of $ 30 million in the State Department budget to fund laudable new initiatives in Africa and Asia or why the $ 234 million budget for the Fulbright Program has been identified as the best or the most logical or the only possible source of funding for these new initiatives.

“…to make international relations human relations and to encourage attitudes of personal empathy, the rare and wonderful ability to perceive the world as others see it.”

- Senator Fulbright from The Price of Empire, 1966

What Fulbright Alumni say about Fulbright

Dear Honorable James Duncan Jr., I am writing this letter to thank you for your continued support of the Fulbright Commission and it’s important mission in enhancing international collaboration and communication between the USA and international partner countries. This letter is written on behalf of me as a private citizen Timothy M. Young and does […]

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rsz_tim_young_students_kuchlDear Honorable James Duncan Jr.,
I am writing this letter to thank you for your continued support of the Fulbright Commission and it’s important mission in enhancing international collaboration and communication between the USA and international partner countries. This letter is written on behalf of me as a private citizen Timothy M. Young and does not reflect any official communication from the University of Tennessee at which I am a Professor.

I recently learned that the President’s budget for “Public Diplomacy” and the flagship academic exchange Fulbright funding program is being reduced and reapportioned. The importance of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961 and promoting mutual international understanding that has been financed bilaterally since its inception is the correct direction for USA in promoting peace and understanding of USA and other cultures throughout the world. This also directly facilitates research collaboration which has direct economic benefits to the USA through international collaboration on new product development, industrial partnerships, global trade, etc.
The reason this so important to me is that I would like to share with you my recent Fulbright experience which was predominately funded by the Austrian government as part of the Austrian-American Fulbright Commission in Vienna. The importance of leveraging funding is critical for these programs but I am afraid we may lose this critical leverage if our critical funding mass gets too small.

I conducted research and teaching during the fall 2013 semester at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences in Kuchl Austria as a visiting scholar as part of the Austrian-American Fulbright Commission. My visiting scholar responsibilities involved teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in statistics and conducting research on cross laminated timber (CLT). The experience
was beneficial for all parties involved. There were many learning experiences from teaching students, meeting parents, meeting people in the local communities, and visiting mills in the CLT industry. I believe I represented the USA, Tennessee, and University of Tennessee at a high standard as an unofficial citizen-ambassador during my stay. These types of Fulbright international experiences serves the USA very well in international stewardship and outreach. There are stereotypes of Americans that can be clarified and improved from these types of “shoes on the ground” experiences. The Austrian college students get certain stereotypes of Americans through TV and mass media that are often times incorrect. I believe I was effective in breaking down communication barriers and leaving a good impression about Americans. Many of the older Austrians I met in the smaller villages had their own perceptions of Americans from the WW II era and were sometimes hesitant to engage in conversation. Once the initial communication barriers were broken down, I believe I definitely improved their perceptions of America. The bottom-line from what I learned from this Fulbright experience was that it is some of the most important outreach the USA can do in international diplomacy.

My research may also have direct benefits to Tennessee and the USA. Cross laminated timber (CLT) is a rapidly expanding industry in Austria and Europe. It has added many jobs and economic value there. CLTs are cross laminated lumber panels made from low-grade lumber. A market for low-grade lumber would directly Tennessee producers. Large walls and structures can be developed from CLT for both residential and non-residential construction. There is on-going fundamental research on CLT in the USA as funded by USDA for this important forest products sector of our economy. My research involves documenting the Austrian CLT industry and developing an industrial template for development of CLT mills in the USA. It would be nice to have a CLT mill in Tennessee someday. I did interact with Austrian CLT companies that are looking for joint venture opportunities for CLT manufacture with American companies. I will facilitate this to the best of my abilities with my business contacts in the forest products industry in the USA.

In closing, I would like thank you for all you do for American citizens and Tennesseans. This Fulbright teaching/research experience for me would not have been possible without your support in Washington D.C. I strongly urge our leadership to rethink budget reductions for important programs like the flagship academic exchange Fulbright program. This program has a direct impact on how students and people in other countries perceive America, and I believe Fulbright experiences leave them with a positive viewpoint and breaks down misperceptions of America.
Please feel free to contact me if you require any additional information from me or if you have any questions.
Thanks for all you do!
Timothy M. Young

Tim Young
from United States to Austria
Scholar at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences in Kuchl (2013)

Forever inspired by my Fulbright experience, I have been dedicating all my professional life to building bridges between people of different countries: Today I own a training & consultancy firm: “Access Germany Iraq”, which is serving university staff and medical doctors from Iraq to get professional training in Germany. In this sense, I am sharing […]

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savefulbrightForever inspired by my Fulbright experience, I have been dedicating all my professional life to building bridges between people of different countries:

Today I own a training & consultancy firm: “Access Germany Iraq”, which is serving university staff and medical doctors from Iraq to get professional training in Germany.

In this sense, I am sharing and multiplying over and over again the invaluable international friendships and human understanding.

It would be a tremdous loss – not only to all international students, but foremost to the people of United States to give up a programme which orignated from selling olds tanks to funding new views of the world.

Dr. Katja Petereit
from Germany to United States
Student at George Mason University (1989)

I spent the 2011-12 year in rural Uttarakhand, India. Uttarakhand is a Himalayan state that boarders the Tibetan Plateau and Nepal. Uttarakhand has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in India, but very little research has been done to evaluate health care resources there. I interviewed women in Chamoli District regarding their health care […]

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181833_3060872013235_1567638974_nI spent the 2011-12 year in rural Uttarakhand, India. Uttarakhand is a Himalayan state that boarders the Tibetan Plateau and Nepal. Uttarakhand has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in India, but very little research has been done to evaluate health care resources there. I interviewed women in Chamoli District regarding their health care utilization and knowledge of traditional medicine. During my time there, I lived with a family who all spoke Hindi, except for one daughter. I had to store ice-cold water in buckets for cleaning and drinking, and I had to sleep in single digit Fahrenheit weather without heat. I lived the way that people in rural Uttarakhand lived and that perspective was invaluable to understanding the experiences that women shared with me about their pregnancies and deliveries. I am now at the University of Michigan Medical School. I have continued to be active in women’s health and global health research. I hope to publish the findings from my work in India over this summer. The Fulbright gave me the opportunity to truly understand health disparities. We are taught about disparities all the time in medical school and many students want to participate in global health. I feel that I had a unique opportunity to learn how to be a partner in health research. I know that the focus of any research project should be the people on the ground. I worked hard and learned a lot, but I was able to be completely open to new experiences and the information that I received. I do not believe that any similar opportunity will so significantly shaped my understanding of health and human interactions after I complete medical school. During my time in Uttarakhand, I was a blank slate. Most importantly, I saw that there are strong similarities between health care issues in rural India and in the United States. I feel that I now approach health disparities with a more creative mind after being exposed to both the people whom health care affects and the health care systems in two countries with seemingly disparate problems. I will always have my love of women’s health and India for my entire life, and I hope that other students will have the chance to push themselves to new limits and grow exponentially as a result.

Erica Prochaska
from United States to India
Student at Wildlife Institute of India (2011)

“Maybe I should kill myself,” my friend said as we walked down a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, together. He wasn’t kidding. I wasn’t surprised. In April 2013, my friend had been at the collapse of Rana Plaza, a nine-story garment factory outside Dhaka. The disaster had immediately killed 1,116 workers, and my friend, a journalist, […]

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DSCF7079“Maybe I should kill myself,” my friend said as we walked down a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, together.

He wasn’t kidding. I wasn’t surprised. In April 2013, my friend had been at the collapse of Rana Plaza, a nine-story garment factory outside Dhaka. The disaster had immediately killed 1,116 workers, and my friend, a journalist, had spent a week amid the wreckage. He’d helped save a few of the 2,438 survivors. I’d been there too, and seen the grim horror of dead bodies beneath shattered cement and tangled rebar. He’d come away sleepless, guilty, depressed – in a word, traumatized.

My friend eventually recovered his natural buoyancy. But occasionally I still think of his words. In a way, they were the reason I’d come to his country. In the past month, I’ve recalled them whenever Obama’s 2015 budget proposal is mentioned.

The President’s budget includes a cut of $30.5 million to the Fulbright, the prestigious academic exchange program through which many successful people have passed. It’s an unprecedented reduction in the U.S. commitment to the Fulbright, and protest has roiled online. Arguments against the cut are myriad: one alumna points out that the Fulbright is “soft diplomacy,” while another writes about the Fulbright’s cross-cultural “deepening of the spirit.” They’re right. But I think the most important reason to save the program lies elsewhere.

On the day I walked down the street with my friend, I was completing mental health research under a Fulbright. Without the grant, the work would have been almost impossible.

That is entirely literal: I had little other support. Just before the disaster, I’d raised the issue of institutional neglect with a supervisor at the university where I’d affiliated. “Your dream isn’t worth having,” she’d said about my Fulbright research, pooh-poohing the fifth of sixth protocols the university would request and spuriously reject.

I disagreed with her. Thankfully, so did the Fulbright Commission. Their backing was the chief reason I was able to do mental health research in Bangladesh. It was a rare support for a huge unmet global need.

On the day Rana Plaza fell – one-third of the way through my nine-month grant – I’d already learned that Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million, had just 123 psychiatrists. That number was sufficient to serve less than 1% of Bangladeshis in need. Information-gathering was even more neglected. In the past 20 years, just over 60 mental health studies have been published. (America had published perhaps a thousand times as many studies in that same timeframe.)

Yet there is no doubt about need. Bangladeshis have the same propensity towards mental disorder as anyone else – including vulnerability to trauma. After the Rana Plaza atrocity, psychiatrists from Bangladesh’s National Institute of Mental Health diagnosed mental illness in 1,780 of 1,998 survivors assessed, or 89.1%. Their families also have elevated psychological distress. Rescuers (like my friend) have been known to commit suicide, but have never been fully assessed.

That stark outcome was foreseeable within hours of the factory collapse. Yet a year later, most survivors have not received adequate help.

Meeting their needs is part of a global economic imperative. Mental health disorders are becoming the number one most common health problem worldwide. They account for about 14% of the total global disease burden, and heavily interfere with economic prosperity of individual workers and entire nations. Yet they receive only about 1% of healthcare expenditures worldwide. This neglect is unsustainable.

Per the Alliance of International Education and Cultural Exchange statistics, 93% of Fulbright alumni say their experience enhanced their understanding of the cultures of other nations. I feel that way, and I know an efficient, culturally competent global mental health system cannot be developed without this knowledge.

And I know that people who survived Rana Plaza – and all of the others who need mental health care in Bangladesh – deserved every second I gave them, and many more. Despite all the difficulties, I would do it all over in a heartbeat.

Did my Fulbright work deepen my spirit? Perhaps it did. (I met a friend I feel great affection for, to begin.) But when I see Obama’s proposed 13% cut to the Fulbright budget, I don’t worry about that. I remember that many of my colleagues did excellent Fulbright work last year, including a labor organizer – who I will forever consider a lion of courage – who spent a full week as a rescuer at Rana Plaza.

I think of the veritable army of future Fulbright researchers whose cutting-edge work will go unfunded, and the many people worldwide who would benefit from that work. To them all, I want to say the same words I said to my friend on a street in Dhaka in the darkest hour of his trauma: If you were gone, I would really miss you.

Keep the Fulbright funded. #SaveFulbright.

Sophia Newman
from United States to Bangladesh
Scholar at (2012)

Prior to my arrival to my US host University, I had one question on the top of my mind: What is the difference between our underdeveloped countries and the United States with regard to our ability to progress? This is not any easy question to answer, but I am now quite sure that good leadership […]

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savefulbrightPrior to my arrival to my US host University, I had one question on the top of my mind: What is the difference between our underdeveloped countries and the United States with regard to our ability to progress? This is not any easy question to answer, but I am now quite sure that good leadership could make a difference between chaotic and prosperous communities.
For an engineer, the solution to a problem of any kind requires a technical approach and this solution should derive from the alternatives produced through observation, analysis, and a set of well-organized procedures.
During my studies from the fall 2003 through the summer of 2004, I had come to realize that, outside the world of perfect solutions based on data and formulas, the world was even more complex and problems might involve scenarios many times more complicated than an equation. I now see that potential solutions have millions of variables and that mathematics does not have the ultimate answer to every problem.

I entered at University of Washington in the fall of 2003, and it was a wonderful experience to go back to school after having worked for several years for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia.
I applied for a Fulbright scholarship called the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship. Becoming an exchange scholar was a challenging but rewarding adventure, to participate in a program that brought together mid-career professionals from around to world in order to enhance their leadership skills.
During my courses and seminars, I discovered that leaders are not only born but are also developed through the good guidance of mentors and specific leadership development programs.

I was awarded with “Alumni Impact Award project final report”. At the end of 2005, after finishing this one-year long project that helped to tackle down problems within a small rural community close to the capital that faced inequitable resource distribution, low school attendance, unemployment, migration to big cities, and alcoholism. The target group composed by 50 youngsters was an example to find better and productive ways to invest their spare time as well as helping to build a model to be followed by other groups of this region that face same challenges.

Many problems remains ahead, but my experience as H.H.H fellow was a life changing experience that will remain like a burn fingerprint in my mind.

Sincerely

Andres Castro
H.H.H
2003 / 2004
Colombia / South America

Andres Castro
from Colombia to United States
Student at University of Washington (2003)

Fulbright experience was critical for my career that I later developped workink for two US corporations, first in England, where I compleated my PhD doing R&D work, and later in Spain. I funded an IT companty that is very succesful and we count with more than 1000 employees. I still run it today and we […]

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savefulbrightFulbright experience was critical for my career that I later developped workink for two US corporations, first in England, where I compleated my PhD doing R&D work, and later in Spain.

I funded an IT companty that is very succesful and we count with more than 1000 employees. I still run it today and we work for 27 years in close cooperations with many US companies helping then to develop markets and sharing value for mutual benefit of both countries.
Fulbrigth program was key,helping me to build confidence, gain knowledge and adquire experience.

Luis Rodriguez-Ovejero
from Spain to United States
Student at University of Utah (1976)

Thanks to Fulbright, I lived and learned the American culture IN Darlington WI. It has been the greatest opportunity in my life. I could SEE that the United States is not just what the news broadcast almost everyday… bad news. It is full of friendly people who fight for their rights and keep moving their […]

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savefulbrightThanks to Fulbright, I lived and learned the American culture IN Darlington WI. It has been the greatest opportunity in my life. I could SEE that the United States is not just what the news broadcast almost everyday… bad news. It is full of friendly people who fight for their rights and keep moving their country.

Now, as an English teacher, I have the opportunity to share my experiences with my Mexican students. We can talk about stereotypes that are not true, misunderstandings and misconceptions that foreigners usually have about Americans.

I wish I could tell more… but I would like to finish with this words… a big THANK YOU FULBRIGHT, isn´t enough to thank all that I have learned about the USA and its people.

Mario Quiñones
from Mexico to United States
Teacher at Darlington High School (2011)

I’ve actually had two Fulbrights, once in Guatemala (2000) and then in Colombia (2005-06), both teaching and research fellowships that gave me respite from my hectic life at Harvard, where I edit a magazine and teach. Both fellowships resulted in books, the first, a book on a courageous Guatemalan journalist who was disappeared in 1980 […]

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June-smallI’ve actually had two Fulbrights, once in Guatemala (2000) and then in Colombia (2005-06), both teaching and research fellowships that gave me respite from my hectic life at Harvard, where I edit a magazine and teach. Both fellowships resulted in books, the first, a book on a courageous Guatemalan journalist who was disappeared in 1980 (Disappeared, A Journalist Silenced) and the second Una Gringa in Bogotá, a look at Bogotá during two very distinct periods. Both books have been translated. The first book—with the initiative of the Inter American Press Association—resulted in the Guatemalan government taking responsibility for the disappearance, opening the case, paying reparations to the family and sundry memorial acts.

The second book, which was written at the peak of Bogotá’s civic engagement and civic reform, has attracted an unexpected audience of Colombian-Americans, Americans who are living in Colombia, and parents of Colombian-adopted children. Even though it was intended at the time as a personal chronicle of urban change, it touched a deeper chord.

Both Fulbrights have left me with friends and colleagues in both countries forever and ever. Fulbright was an unforgettable experience for me and it has sown seeds that continue to flourish.

June Carolyn Erlick
from United States to Colombia
Scholar at Universidad Nacional (2005)

I wish I could fully articulate the numerous ways the Fulbright program has changed (and continues to change) my life. My year teaching English in an industrial Malaysian community was not the beach vacation many might assume; I lived with a Malaysian in public housing without hot water, air conditioning, screens on my windows. Students […]

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imageI wish I could fully articulate the numerous ways the Fulbright program has changed (and continues to change) my life. My year teaching English in an industrial Malaysian community was not the beach vacation many might assume; I lived with a Malaysian in public housing without hot water, air conditioning, screens on my windows. Students and teachers regularly asked me about America, a country they see in the news and online all the time but that few have or ever will visit. They were surprised to hear that there are Muslims in the U.S. They giggled when I tried to speak their language while simultaneously offering a hospitality to me that has yet to be matched in any part of the world I have visited. I’m not sure how many words of English my students learned while I taught at their school, but I know for a fact that the kids I saw at the beginning of the year who were petrified to talk to me (the first Westerner they’d ever seen) ended the year with a completely different understanding of me, my country, and how they thought about their own roles in our shrinking world.

In my very biased opinion, there is no better way that our government could spend money to promote understanding between cultures. It is integral to our nation’s interests, and it is integral to the global community.

Kathleen Devlin
from United States to Malaysia
Teaching Assistant at Gov't of Malaysia (2012)

It’s not a stretch to say that the Fulbright program gave me professional purpose, put me on the path to my current career and helped form me as a person. As a recent university graduate, I headed to Albania with a plan to study museums and national identity. What I learned while there made me […]

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MG_9429_webIt’s not a stretch to say that the Fulbright program gave me professional purpose, put me on the path to my current career and helped form me as a person. As a recent university graduate, I headed to Albania with a plan to study museums and national identity. What I learned while there made me shift my focus to issues of difficult heritage (post-conflict, post-Socialist, post-colonial). And, my experience in the country sparked a deep love for the Balkans, laying groundwork for me to return to the region.

Since 2012, I have worked full-time in Albania for an organization called Cultural Heritage without Borders, which is dedicated to rescuing and preserving cultural heritage affected by conflict, neglect or human and natural disasters, as a vital contribution both to building democracy and supporting human rights.

Jonathan Eaton
from United States to Albania
Student at University of New York-Tirana (2009)

The Fulbright Teacher Exchange powerfully changed not only my personal life, but has had a lasting impact on my students. My former Mexican HS students are now adults who work in varied fields in Mexico. We are still in contact, creating connections between our countries that will last our lifetimes. I share about my exchange […]

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savefulbrightThe Fulbright Teacher Exchange powerfully changed not only my personal life, but has had a lasting impact on my students. My former Mexican HS students are now adults who work in varied fields in Mexico. We are still in contact, creating connections between our countries that will last our lifetimes. I share about my exchange with my US students every year, and my photos and Mexico momentos generate conversations during the year with students and parents. For my Mexican parents and their Mexican American students, my understanding of Mexico creates a cultural bridge that close the gap between home and school realities.

For my US-born students, my exchange is a constant reminder to dream bigger than our own borders, to look for opportunities, and challenge ourselves to achieve more. My exchange was only a year, but it’s impact will be felt not only throughout my life, but the lives of the 200 students I teach every year.

Reed Scott-Schwalbach
from United States to Mexico
Teacher at CBTA 154 (2008)

I had the privilege and honor of serving as a 2012-13 US Fulbright Scholar to South Africa (host institution: University of Johannesburg). I taught in the Department of Nursing Science and conducted research related to childbirth. Not only did I learn much about the people of South Africa, but I also had the opportunity to […]

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Professional-Photo_Hastings-TolsmaMarie-cI had the privilege and honor of serving as a 2012-13 US Fulbright Scholar to South Africa (host institution: University of Johannesburg). I taught in the Department of Nursing Science and conducted research related to childbirth. Not only did I learn much about the people of South Africa, but I also had the opportunity to interface with many health care providers, particularly midwives working across the country. When comparing midwifery care in South Africa with the U.S., there are certainly more similarities than differences; we share many of the same difficulties and concerns. I continue to work with my UJ counterparts as an appointed Visiting Professor, and am hosting a UJ colleague (Dr. Anna G.W. Nolte) at the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Nolte has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the College of Nursing. As a result of the Fulbright experience, we continue to enrich midwifery on both sides of the globe through continued joint research activities, as well as through faculty and student contact. The Fulbright has created a strong relationship between faculty at two leading academic institutions, enriching all who have been involved.

Marie Hastings-Tolsma
from United States to South Africa
Scholar at University of Johannesburg (2012)

My Fulbright semester in 2007 opened myself in intellectual, personal, and professional ways. I conducted research on rural women’s organizations in China, learning about how women there are both discriminated against and empowered to change their own fates. I learned how Chinese citizens can organize themselves in relation to the authoritarian state. And I met […]

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niaochao5My Fulbright semester in 2007 opened myself in intellectual, personal, and professional ways. I conducted research on rural women’s organizations in China, learning about how women there are both discriminated against and empowered to change their own fates. I learned how Chinese citizens can organize themselves in relation to the authoritarian state. And I met numerous inspirational individuals who remain my friends to this day. Sometimes the cliché is true: travel furthers knowledge, understanding, and empathy. Our world will be far poorer without Fulbright than the $30 million that Congress is seeking to “save.”

Sharon R. Wesoky
from United States to China
Scholar at China Women's University, Beijing, China (2007)

Why should we save Fulbright? Probably everyone has already shared their amazing experiences as a Fulbright scholar and mine won’t be that much different. However, personally Fulbright has played such a major role that I can’t imagine what my life would be without it!!! Fulbright wasn’t just a scholarship, Fulbright was a life experience that […]

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savefulbrightWhy should we save Fulbright?

Probably everyone has already shared their amazing experiences as a Fulbright scholar and mine won’t be that much different. However, personally Fulbright has played such a major role that I can’t imagine what my life would be without it!!!

Fulbright wasn’t just a scholarship, Fulbright was a life experience that I will never forget.

Already mentioned before by so many the meeting new people, learning the American Culture factors they definitely change your life, but for me what impacted at most was the opportunity of getting rid of the bias I had before arriving in the US.

I learned a lot as a way of living, grew with time and I have become a better person more committed with mutual understanding between people, and in fact Fulbright mission has become my mission as well. I imagine if that was my experience, that was also the experience of an American student who got the opportunity of moving abroad by teaching/studying.

Please Save Fulbright!!!!

Soraya Coscione
from Mozambique to United States
Student at Brandeis University (2010)

I was lucky enough to receive a New Century Scholarship grant, and to be able to work on the theme of ‘ethnic and religous violence’ with top scholars from a variety of disciplines from all over the world. This proved to be an immensely edifying and useful experience. Apart from my own research on post-genocide […]

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Barbara-OomenI was lucky enough to receive a New Century Scholarship grant, and to be able to work on the theme of ‘ethnic and religous violence’ with top scholars from a variety of disciplines from all over the world. This proved to be an immensely edifying and useful experience. Apart from my own research on post-genocide justice in Rwanda (which informed policy in a number of ways) I could exchange ideas and work together with people working on similar teams, leading to a variety of joint publications. The grant enabled research in Rwanda and at Columbia University, and has significantly contributed to my own scholarly career but also – much more importantly – to collective knowledge on what constitutes justice in the wake of mass atrocities.

Barbara Oomen
from Netherlands to Rwanda
Scholar at Columbia University (2004)

I received a full tuition scholarship to the US, an opportunity which would otherwise I would not have been able to afford. After receiving a BS, I continued my studies in Computer Engineering with a MS and Ph.D degrees. I helped form new US engineers at my university as a teaching assistant and published papers […]

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jorgeI received a full tuition scholarship to the US, an opportunity which would otherwise I would not have been able to afford. After receiving a BS, I continued my studies in Computer Engineering with a MS and Ph.D degrees. I helped form new US engineers at my university as a teaching assistant and published papers on new computational techniques. After the program I earned work experience and returned to Peru.

Here I almost took a faculty position in the most prestigious university in the country, but my passion took me to a more hands-on approach. I am now head of research and development in the Jicamarca Radio Observatory, and work in forming professional engineers and designing technology to further worldwide investigation of the ionosphere. We even have treaties to emulate Fulbright’s exchange program among our scientists and those of our worldwide partners in America and Europe. And just like the Fulbright program, it has been an amazing success.

Jorge Ortiz
from Peru to United States
Student at University of Kansas (1998)

Fulbright have been a wonderful experience to improve as professional and as person. This experience has convince me that with the understanding of each other as persons and as culture it is possible to make a better world. I hope more people could live an experience like this one and come to their home country […]

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savefulbrightFulbright have been a wonderful experience to improve as professional and as person. This experience has convince me that with the understanding of each other as persons and as culture it is possible to make a better world. I hope more people could live an experience like this one and come to their home country and transmit this knowledge.

Andres Felipe Cuadros
from Colombia to United States
Student at University of Arkansas (2013)

I came to the US in 2011 with Intensive English Fulbright. In that time, I traveled around of the US to learn English, and at the same time learns the culture. When I entered to the University, I travel with the University to learn the life of the Undergraduate and Graduate Student. Now, I am […]

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photoI came to the US in 2011 with Intensive English Fulbright. In that time, I traveled around of the US to learn English, and at the same time learns the culture. When I entered to the University, I travel with the University to learn the life of the Undergraduate and Graduate Student. Now, I am almost graduating, and I gives advise to new students or future student about the country. Fulbright has changed my life in away that i can not explain it. However, I can say that it has change the life of the people around me. Now, my husband starts the University next semester, and my brother is taking the MCAT to submit his paper to medical school in this University. Moreover, I give advise to students in the Dominican Republic about their experimentation for final thesis.

In conclusion, Fulbright is a grant that not only can change the life of the grantee but also Fulbright changes the life of the people around the grantee.

Thanks Fulbright
A Proud Fulbright
Diaz-Perez, Alda
Graduate Student
University of Arkansas

Alda Diaz Perez
from Dominican Republic to United States
Student at University of Arkansas (2011)

For me, Fulbright made my stay in the U.S. possible financially, but then also greatly enriched it. I enjoyed regular meetings with Americans and other foreigners, learning about the U.S.A. culture from people I have come to respect. I can safely say that I would not have the understanding of the U.S. people I have […]

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savefulbrightFor me, Fulbright made my stay in the U.S. possible financially, but then also greatly enriched it. I enjoyed regular meetings with Americans and other foreigners, learning about the U.S.A. culture from people I have come to respect. I can safely say that I would not have the understanding of the U.S. people I have today if it weren’t for the Fulbright program and the people who run it.

I express my wish that others may also benefit from such an opportunity, so that the still prevalent misunderstanding (and subsequent conflict) between the U.S. and other countries may be taken away.

Floris van Vugt
from Netherlands to United States
Student at UCLA (2009)

I was immersed in the city of Istanbul as a recent college grad with elementary knowledge of Turkish and almost no experience living and interacting with the Muslim world. I studied the political economy of earthquakes in Istanbul, but also made lasting, cross-cultural friendship with Turks whom I studied with, lived with, played with, and […]

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savefulbrightI was immersed in the city of Istanbul as a recent college grad with elementary knowledge of Turkish and almost no experience living and interacting with the Muslim world. I studied the political economy of earthquakes in Istanbul, but also made lasting, cross-cultural friendship with Turks whom I studied with, lived with, played with, and even sang with. The sights, sounds, and smells of Turkey will never be forgotten and they will influence my future view of the world until I die. And I know that while in Turkey I acted as a cultural ambassador for my country, giving insights into the USA and American life. Especially as an Asian-American, my presence challenged foreign notions about America as a country of just white predominance, and instead reinforced the notion that it’s a place that people of all ethnicities can still call home.

Benjamin Lin
from United States to Turkey
Student at Bogazici University (2012)

The Fulbright brought me to a peace-building and environmental research institute straddling the Israeli-Jordanian border. An institute where Palestinians, Jordanians, Israelis and non-Middle Easterners come together to live and study for a year. Many alumni have gone on to become “environmental diplomats”, helping smooth relations and improve the environment. These kinds of activities are not […]

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savefulbrightThe Fulbright brought me to a peace-building and environmental research institute straddling the Israeli-Jordanian border. An institute where Palestinians, Jordanians, Israelis and non-Middle Easterners come together to live and study for a year. Many alumni have gone on to become “environmental diplomats”, helping smooth relations and improve the environment. These kinds of activities are not unusual, and actually are quite typical, of a Fulbright. There are pure research scholars, but most act as diplomats in a non-political but nonetheless influential way. The soft power accumulated over the years by these people cannot be quantified. Reducing these scholarships and fellowships, which are often lower than entry-level embassy salaries for bookkeepers, makes no sense. There are other places to find the money, probably in the military budget.

Hart Feuer
from United States to Israel
Student at Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (2005)

A dreamer like most Afghans, I always saw myself as someone who would do great things in life. When I starting working I realized how ambitious that was and that it would take near-miracles for me to achieve my dreams. I was slowly losing hope and becoming the ‘realistic’ person everyone was pushing me to […]

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savefulbrightA dreamer like most Afghans, I always saw myself as someone who would do great things in life. When I starting working I realized how ambitious that was and that it would take near-miracles for me to achieve my dreams. I was slowly losing hope and becoming the ‘realistic’ person everyone was pushing me to be.

And then came along Fulbright, and I was fortunate enough to receive the scholarship. Fulbright reintroduced me to ambition and big dreams. Fulbright gave me the tools I need to confidently pursue my goals. It gave me the courage to withstand the fear that came with making hard and unpopular choices. It introduced me to similar-minded people from all around the world which helped a lot.

Today I run my own company in Afghanistan, provide employment to tens of families and I would like to believe I have a positive impact on the lives of my country men and women. All this because of Fulbright. I am forever indebted. Thank you.

Shoaib Rahim
from Afghanistan to United States
Scholar at Duke University (2010)

I have been an English teacher in Brazil for seventeen years. I have about 300 students from 5 to 11 years old. Thanks to a Fulbright scholarship program for teachers, I have just had the chance to be in an English speaking country for the first time. It was a lifetime experience. I took an […]

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1794792_10152260802473688_636433640_nI have been an English teacher in Brazil for seventeen years. I have about 300 students from 5 to 11 years old. Thanks to a Fulbright scholarship program for teachers, I have just had the chance to be in an English speaking country for the first time. It was a lifetime experience. I took an excellent course at a wonderful university. Not only have I improved my language and teaching skills, but also I am more motivated to teach and promote the English language and culture.

Monica de Barros
from Brazil to United States
Student at Illinois State University (2014)

I was told I shouldn’t apply, I was told it was almost impossible to get it. Still I did it, and I got it Fulbright was a dream come true for me and changed my life forever! I studied hospitality management and tourism in Paraguay and currently I am pursuing an MBA at Bentley University […]

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20140315_205847I was told I shouldn’t apply, I was told it was almost impossible to get it. Still I did it, and I got it :)
Fulbright was a dream come true for me and changed my life forever!

I studied hospitality management and tourism in Paraguay and currently I am pursuing an MBA at Bentley University in Boston MA, who would have thought that!!

What I am learning here is immeasurable, in terms of academic education and personal experience. Conversely I am also showing my classmates and friends about Paraguay, a country that almost none knows. Fulbright made me realize that countries are just lines between people, people is the same everywhere.vI wish every, person could be a fulbrighter, the world would definitely be a better place!

This opportunity opened my eyes SO much! To all the things my country is still missing but might take just one person to change that, to all the academic improvements that can be done in the education system, all the touristic ideas that could be implemented in my field.

Everyone deserves to explore and get educated, but not everyone get to have the resources to do it so, Fulbright helps to balance that equation. What some people need to change the world is one chance, and Fulbright provides that chance!

Maria Giselle Coscia Diesel
from Paraguay to United States
Student at Bentley University (2013)

I had an incredible opportunity to conduct educational research in Finland for 6 months. During this time, my educational philosophy was challenged and expanded by the people and classrooms I was visiting. Now that I am back in the classroom in DC, my teaching has changed to match the growth in philosophy. My students in […]

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savefulbrightI had an incredible opportunity to conduct educational research in Finland for 6 months. During this time, my educational philosophy was challenged and expanded by the people and classrooms I was visiting. Now that I am back in the classroom in DC, my teaching has changed to match the growth in philosophy. My students in Southeast DC have directly been impacted by my time to do research and reflect on my practice as a craft. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience a true time of professional development and firmly believe this program should continue to financially support these exchanges so other people can benefit.

Karen Lee
from United States to Finland
Teacher at University of Jyvaskyla (2013)

Mexico is not an easy place to do design. No matter how I tried, I was not growing to my potential. This was because of the job market conditions that sadly don’t reward excellence but seek cheap labor. Fulbright gave me tools to not only grow a lot as a designer, but to change this […]

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Imagen3Mexico is not an easy place to do design. No matter how I tried, I was not growing to my potential. This was because of the job market conditions that sadly don’t reward excellence but seek cheap labor.

Fulbright gave me tools to not only grow a lot as a designer, but to change this work condition in Mexico. Design cam be a key factor to the development of any country and it can be for Mexico as well. Being sponsored by the Fulbright program helped me be skilled enough to be of service to my country, and the US that was my host.

Fulbright makes you grow as a person and a professional. It is one of the few things that do have a great impact in making the world a better place in many, many ways.

Every Fulbrighter I have known is a key factor in making their countries, and the US, a better place through development and multi-cultural collaboration.

Juan Antonio Islas Muñoz
from Mexico to United States
Student at University of Cincinnati (2011)

I won a Fulbright grant for research in 2013 and 4 months worked as a scholar at the Eastern Washington University. Due to the support of Fulbright Foundation, I carried out my research and got to know the U.S. science and people. I am very grateful to the Fulbright Foundation and colleagues at EWU. Visit […]

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meI won a Fulbright grant for research in 2013 and 4 months worked as a scholar at the Eastern Washington University. Due to the support of Fulbright Foundation, I carried out my research and got to know the U.S. science and people. I am very grateful to the Fulbright Foundation and colleagues at EWU.

Visit to the U.S. was a real discovery for me! Such programs improve understanding between people. Let other applicants would have a chance!

Alena Rudenka
from Belarus to United States
Scholar at Eastern Washington University (2013)

As a first generation college student, with ancestry from Macedonia, the Fulbright program has given me the opportunity to do research and work in my parents homeland. I have been able to gain a better understanding of the struggles the Macedonian people face, particularly members of the LGBTQI community. As a gay male with a […]

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IMG_1650As a first generation college student, with ancestry from Macedonia, the Fulbright program has given me the opportunity to do research and work in my parents homeland. I have been able to gain a better understanding of the struggles the Macedonian people face, particularly members of the LGBTQI community.

As a gay male with a Macedonian background, I was drawn to work on this topical area for my research because of the countless problems that LGBTQI persons face in Macedonia. The issues range from discrimination, access to health services, a lack of sense of community and constant feelings of nervousness and fear. All of these issues have numerous ramifications for health and social inclusion and the Fulbright program has given me the opportunity to draw attention to the problem, not only locally, but internationally. The work I am currently doing as part of my Fulbright grant is going to be published in international journals and local media and NGOs so that the LGBTQI community’s voice can be heard and not stifled, as it currently is in Macedonia and the greater Balkan region.

The Fulbright program has a great reputation internationally, particularly giving youth the opportunity to work on social justice issues, especially those that are not main streamed in their host countries. It is programs such as the Fulbright program that allows for the voices of local marginalized people to be given an international audience. I have encountered countless LGBTQI persons who have told me that they are happy to see the problems they face heard on a bigger scale, but also that just because they had the chance to talk with me and be able to express their pent up frustration and fear, that this also has helped them feel more at ease, that there was someone there to listen.

Without the Fulbright program sending me abroad to Macedonia, I’m afraid that nobody would be here to listen and create a channel for their voices to be heard.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that the Fulbright has given me to work on an issue so close and dear to my own story. Please do not let the Fulbright program suffer. Save Fulbright!

Thank you,
Kristefer Stojanovski

Kristefer Stojanovski
from United States to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Student at Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation (2013)

Whenever I go to work with my special needs students, I often remember my Fulbright experiences, which determine all my life. I just go into the classroom, and I know, in every possible way I must forward the power, energy and respect I gained in the States to the students I teach English. I have […]

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savefulbrightWhenever I go to work with my special needs students, I often remember my Fulbright experiences, which determine all my life. I just go into the classroom, and I know, in every possible way I must forward the power, energy and respect I gained in the States to the students I teach English. I have simply brought home loads of thoughts, ideas that is, a new way of thinking. I can see now, all these bits should be forwarded to my students… And to thousands of people, who for one reason or another, have not experienced what it meens to be a Fulbrighter. It means open eyes, open mind, and respect of knowledge, humanity and nature. Really! Things, which all of us should learn, believe in and represent. Why?

Being a blind teacher of English as a Foreign Language, I often meet the negative power of stereotypes, either because my students face them, or because I am forced to cope with them.
Therefore I thought I must do something against stereotypical thinking and started Ph.D. studies in Education. My aim is to approach stereotypes from cultural aspects and assist people to re-consider their culturally inherited pictures of persons with various disabilities.
That idea was accepted and understood by Fulbright, so with one of my good friends and colleague I could do research at the English Department of University of California, Berkeley. In January, 2012 we both started auditing Professor Georgina Kleege’s Disability Memoir course.

We both could see and observe that the idea that culture promotes understanding works, and what is more, works as we imagined. People do not mind speaking about their disability-related thoughts, they are not afraid of talking about their inherited fear, prejudice. To our greatest surprise, we experienced that this whole philosophy and atmosphere is characteristic of Berkeley, and the beautiful, colourful State of California. We could see how Persons with Disabilities grow to be considered ”Differently Able Persons!”

Ever since I am at home, I am doing my best to assist people to discover that being different does not mean being less. That is what makes my life more meaningful, and I hope I manage to forward this attitude, or way of thinking to my students and people around me. This is just one aspect why Fulbright must be saved!

We both could speak forever and a day about our Fulbright experiences. There is even an essay on the MIUSA website, titled: The Story of Gershwin and Kodály.

http://www.miusa.org/ncde/stories/flamich

Are you convinced?

Maria Flamich
from Hungary to United States
Student at English Department, University of California, Berkeley (2012)

My Fulbright experience unexpectedly changed the course of my life. It also helped me make a real difference to people on the ground in my host country. Upon completion of my masters degree in environmental science at Yale, I arrived in my host country of New Zealand. The intellectual freedom of a Fulbright fellowship was […]

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rebgardenMy Fulbright experience unexpectedly changed the course of my life. It also helped me make a real difference to people on the ground in my host country.

Upon completion of my masters degree in environmental science at Yale, I arrived in my host country of New Zealand.

The intellectual freedom of a Fulbright fellowship was such a precious gift to me that I was determined to use my time and energy to improve the world around me.

At the time, a new government-funded initiative was being set up to help farmers become organic: the Organic Advisory Programme. I really wanted to help this program succeed. So I designed my research to be useful, and spent much of my Fulbright year traveling the countryside, interviewing farmers and others throughout New Zealand to find out how to best guide farmers into organic production.

I found that in such a small country, as a supportive researcher from overseas I was really valued. My research results and recommendations led to the creation and funding of an organic farmer mentoring program, and I soon found myself running the program, as soon as my Fulbright year was over! The program was such a success, with hugely positive evaluations from all involved, that I continued to be employed helping farmers go organic all over New Zealand… and years later I am still living here, working in this field.

I remain hugely grateful to the Fulbright program for their investment in my personal development – which turned out to be an investment in the development of the people of New Zealand as well.

Rebecca Reider
from United States to New Zealand
Student at Lincoln University (2006)

In my Fulbright year as a teaching assistant, I gained the skills, confidence, and experience to be an effective and compassionate teacher, a skill I put to use daily as a teaching assistant in the Anthropology Department here at UCSC. My interactions with my students taught just as much about America and the English language […]

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fulbright-picIn my Fulbright year as a teaching assistant, I gained the skills, confidence, and experience to be an effective and compassionate teacher, a skill I put to use daily as a teaching assistant in the Anthropology Department here at UCSC.

My interactions with my students taught just as much about America and the English language as my life outside the classroom enriched my knowledge of Italian history, culture, and politics, all of which are central to the dissertation project I’m currently pursuing. Fulbright gave me the opportunity to represent my country and explore a dozen potential futures. In the process of building a career for myself, I was constantly guided and inspired by my interactions with my students as I urged them to dream big.

I am forever grateful for the professional skills, personal connections, and unlimited possibilities stemming from my Fulbright year, each of which have expanded far beyond the tiny town in southern Italy that I called home.

Rebecca Feinberg
from United States to Italy
Teaching Assistant at Italian Ministry of Education (2011)

My Fulbright experience changed my life in a big way both professionally and personally. For the first time in my life I started asking questions about the education I received in India and how different it is from education abroad. I started realizing the strengths and weaknesses of both the US and the Indian system […]

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MOU-708My Fulbright experience changed my life in a big way both professionally and personally. For the first time in my life I started asking questions about the education I received in India and how different it is from education abroad. I started realizing the strengths and weaknesses of both the US and the Indian system of education through my own experience as a teaching assistant and a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago. This experience drove my interest to engage in deeper study of comparative education systems to be able to research and inform education policy in the future. Personally, I have gained the friendship of people around the world and learned about the good, the bad and the ugly of different societies and people.

My experiences have taught me how we are different based on personal preferences and our cultural practices learned during our socialization process in school and at home in our respective societies. Yet, my experiences have also shown me how similar we are in our common humanity irrespective of these differences. I am a more enriched and enlightened person because of this experience. I wish more students would get similar opportunity to enhance their knowledge and embrace the world as citizens with a global conscience for social justice and peace.

Mousumi Mukherjee
from India to United States
Teaching Assistant at Loyola University Chicago (2005)

As a Scholar from the Fulbright I went to a remote university town in the Czech Republic to teach in child development. I met students from all over Europe and South America. I taught and conducted research. I was also invited to present at other universities. I lived where no one in the town spoke […]

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CL-2As a Scholar from the Fulbright I went to a remote university town in the Czech Republic to teach in child development. I met students from all over Europe and South America. I taught and conducted research. I was also invited to present at other universities. I lived where no one in the town spoke English and at the university only a few people did. In Prague I met more English speaking Czech people.

We continued after my 2009 experience to communicate and exchange resources. I wrote many letters of reference for students pursuing master’s and doctoral work. I have collaborated on teaching programs in Prague. My Fulbright offered the CZ university the chance to meet again an American who cared about our common educational work and improving the lives of people. I have retained these people as friends as they have spanned out across CZ and Slovakia for their work. I have returned over 5 times to either teach as a visiting scholar or socially enjoy them and their culture. I feel they changed my life. Every class I have taught since includes work from that era of my life.

It enhances the applicability of child development. Students who are from other countries feel closer to me as a professor because the Fulbright program recognized me and I share a world perspective as an American. I also know there are many lives I touched whom I will never know about. But the Fulbright’s reach toward peace and sharing across boarders is powerful and as we Americans move into wider circles of international work, the Fulbright program is an essential. We are academics and there are students who will never view America in a negative light because we have been there in their country. It has been an extremely important experiece, a dream I always had, to be a Fulbright Scholar because I wanted to both learn from other countries and share whatever I could to make the development of children positive. My heart aches when children suffer.

In my case, the Fulbright program reached many many children’s lives and made them better. We cannot lose this program or diminish it. As Mrs Obama explained recently on her trip to China, that study abroad was vital for people who want to participate in a world in which countries and economics are increasingly interconnected (New York Times, March 23, 2014). The Fulbright program is the study and work abroad at is most excellent!

Dr Carol Leitschuh
from United States to Czech Republic
Scholar at Plaskay University, Olomouc CZ (2009)

My Fulbright grant in Austria at NAWI Graz (University Graz and Technical University Graz) was highly productive and enjoyable. Aside from teaching two new lectures, I am in the process of establishing a semester student exchange between my home institution and the Technical University in Graz. This exchange is specifically geared towards scientists and engineers, […]

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savefulbrightMy Fulbright grant in Austria at NAWI Graz (University Graz and Technical University Graz) was highly productive and enjoyable. Aside from teaching two new lectures, I am in the process of establishing a semester student exchange between my home institution and the Technical University in Graz. This exchange is specifically geared towards scientists and engineers, a group of students who typically do not partake in exchange programs. I strongly believe that student exposure to the international aspect of science is critical to their further development as scientists and citizens of the world. This is especially important considering the internationalization of research, and the highly collaborative aspect of the work.

In addition, I initiated two new research projects, both with a significant impact on society: we are developing novel materials to obtain more efficient lithium ion batteries; in addition we are studying the mechanism of solid formation using techniques not available at my home institution. These studies provide a critical step in the custom design of new catalysts and in gas separation, topics with significant relevance to carbon sequestration and in the design of more environmentally friendly chemical processes.

Both research topics require the shared expertise of my research group at Syracuse University and the researchers at my Fulbright host institution, and already we have submitted a grant proposal to solicit additional funding for these projects, other solicitations are in preparation.

Karin Ruhlandt
from United States to Austria
Scholar at NAWI Graz (2013)

Ironically, I am usually an advocate for governmental budget cuts, especially when I feel there is little to be gained politically from the funds. However, after spending two years in rural Tajikistan as a Fulbright ETA, I have learned just how important the Fulbright program is: important for the grantee, important for security, and probably […]

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Alfred_Joseph_Yannucci_IV_PickeringIronically, I am usually an advocate for governmental budget cuts, especially when I feel there is little to be gained politically from the funds. However, after spending two years in rural Tajikistan as a Fulbright ETA, I have learned just how important the Fulbright program is: important for the grantee, important for security, and probably most important for the community in which the grantee serves.

Personally, this grant has afforded me an opportunity I would have never thought imaginable. I am a first generation college student from a blue-collar family in Pennsylvania, and before I was awarded a Fulbright I had only been to Russia. In the past 19 months I have traveled to eight additional countries, and taken part in cultures and customs you can’t understand unless you experience.
The Fulbright is all about cultural exchange; there are only 4 ETAs in Tajikistan, but we are placed in rural areas in a conservative, Muslim country where Peace Corps has never operated and the most Americans in-country at any given time usually never exceeds 250 (most of those being USG workers). I am the only American based in my city, and one of three foreigners (the other 2 being football players from Ghana). Absolutely everyone in this city of about 80,000 has come to know my name, which can be a bit startling at times. However, my actions and my classes allow me to teach the people here about American culture, and smash the preconceived, stereotypical notions they have on what Americans are like. Likewise, I have learned so much about the culture of Tajikistan, the language, and the hospitality of the people here. Most of them are pro-Russia and against US policies in the region, but I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent the “average,” and to the best of my ability a-political, American.
One of the first things I noticed when I got to my placement, and one of the reasons I do not regret begging for my grant to be renewed, is the passion of the students I work with. Even as I write this in my flat, with no running water or even electricity at the moment, I am happy beyond measure because I know that when I go to work tomorrow, I will be greeted by a gaggle of eager students. I firmly believe that the only thing holding many of my students back is a lack of opportunities. Over the course of my grant I have worked closely with my advanced English learners to find programs suitable for them, and because of their hard work, I have students attending universities on full scholarship in the capital of Dushanbe, Kyrgyzstan, China, Turkey and Russia and have students on exchange programs in the United States. In the past two weeks alone, I have had one student granted a four-year scholarship to attend a Western-style university in Kazakhstan, one that received a USG grant to attend a Young Women’s Leadership Seminar in the US this summer, and one that was given a full-scholarship to attend a 3-year IB program at the new United World College in Japan. I do not attribute their successes to my teaching, but I do believe that my placement here allowed me to help them find programs that they are strong candidates for, and allowed me to consult them and their families through the application process.

I leave you with a message that was sent to me earlier today via facebook by the mother of one of my students, who will be leaving Tajikistan for the first time this summer to attend a SUSI program in the United States free of charge. She comes from a family with a total monthly income of about $200 USD (including her mothers teacher salary of $40), where she is the eldest of 5 girls, 3 of whom I teach. The message is simple, but it still brought a tear to my eye:
“Alfred I’m grateful that you and Sharipov always think about our children. You are the best teacher Thanks for your support.”

I know that in truth, I am far from the best teacher. However, I understand that her mother is thankful for the opportunity given to her child, and more importantly I understand the opportunity I was given to help deserving students. The Fulbright program literally changes lives; it has certainly changed my life, and it has greatly impacted the lives of many of my students. Fulbright means opportunity; cutting the number of grants is cutting the potential for positive change.

Alfred Yannucci
from United States to Tajikistan
Teaching Assistant at American Corner of Kulob (2012)

My Fulbright year in Turkey was one of the best experiences of my life. Fulbright funded my dissertation research, enabling me to complete my PhD. My work provides insight into the entangled networks of sustainable development, human rights and democratization surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was an honor to visit Turkey as a representative […]

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savefulbrightMy Fulbright year in Turkey was one of the best experiences of my life. Fulbright funded my dissertation research, enabling me to complete my PhD. My work provides insight into the entangled networks of sustainable development, human rights and democratization surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was an honor to visit Turkey as a representative of the U.S. and to work with local communities, government officials, and academics to enhance the preservation of heritage sites in ways which will not only bring tangible benefits to local communities, but will also benefit humankind by preserving traces of past cultures of value to us all.

Helen Human
from United States to Turkey
Student at Koc University (2011)

I was very fortunate to have been granted a fulbright scholarship. I studied English and French in Pasto at Universidad de Nariño and was the first of my class. Since my undergraduate studies prepared me to teach foreing languages in Colombia I needed to improve my English but I did not have money to travel […]

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ArcSoft_Imagen6I was very fortunate to have been granted a fulbright scholarship. I studied English and French in Pasto at Universidad de Nariño and was the first of my class. Since my undergraduate studies prepared me to teach foreing languages in Colombia I needed to improve my English but I did not have money to travel nor to do a master program in an English speaking country so I could speak this language in a very fluent way. Thanks to fulbright my dream came true and I travelled to the US for my master’s. When I finished it, I came back to Pasto to teach at Nariño Univeristy which is an state where low university income students enter. With these studies I got the job of my life and was able to provide my students the teaching help needed to succeed in their careers. My family got my economical support because I could help my three little brothers to do their undergraduate programs. My life changed a lot and soon I got my ED.D. in History of Latin American Education. I have been involved in administrative positions at the University: General Secretary, Vice-rector of Graduate studies, Research and International Relations but the most important I have been able to work with some of the state schools from Pasto as an advisor for English as a Foreign Language. This is a volunteer work I develop and has given me the opportunity to help people the same way I was helped by fulbright.

Alicia Hidalgo
from Colombia to United States
Student at UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA (1987)

I am particularly delighted to tell my Fulbright story. My first Fulbright (1983) was in Bordeaux, France. It was there that I did research on the regulation of food intake, particularly the action of insulin on feeding. This research had obvious implications for diabetes research. We used mammals that undergo hibernation to study how food […]

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am particularly delighted to tell my Fulbright story. My first Fulbright (1983) was in Bordeaux, France. It was there that I did research on the regulation of food intake, particularly the action of insulin on feeding. This research had obvious implications for diabetes research. We used mammals that undergo hibernation to study how food intake changes during the seasons. We chose this animal model because mammalian hibernators do not feed for nearly 7 months; instead they rely on their body fat to provide energy throughout the winter. To this day, what turns off their food intake is still unknown, but we do have a better understanding of what hormones and neurons in the brain are involved.

On my second Fulbright (2000), I was fortunate enough to go to Vienna, Austria and work with wonderful people at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology. Again, the scientific research opportunities were wonderful and I developed several great collaborations. Furthermore, I was able to exchange cultural ideas about everything from food and wine to research on mammals since we had weekly seminars and we had a lot of informal meetings—at the institute. People would just stop in my office and ask me questions about anything from what was Colorado like, to aspects of my research. In addition, I spent a lot time with students ranging from post-docs to undergraduates, helping them with projects and scientific concepts. In the end, I learned a great deal about European culture and ethics, and they learned a lot about life as a scientist in the U.S. And it wasn’t always about science or politics; good food and wine seemed to be a common denominator that brought us together.

Gregory L Florant
from United States to France
Scholar at University of Bordeaux, France (1983)

Coming from a family of nine children a Fulbright grant allowed me to study in the U.S. as an undergraduate in 1981. It was not only intellectually rewarding, but set the frame for understanding and appreciating the country as well as the values and diverstity of the American people and society. I have returned to […]

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Lichtmannegger_tie_150KComing from a family of nine children a Fulbright grant allowed me to study in the U.S. as an undergraduate in 1981. It was not only intellectually rewarding, but set the frame for understanding and appreciating the country as well as the values and diverstity of the American people and society.

I have returned to Austria and now work as an economist at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. In a global world the experience and lessons afforded by Senator Fulbright’s simple scheme have proven invaluable many many times.

Fulbright offers opportunities so rich and decicive in academic and personal terms that depriving todays bright young from this experience would unnecessarily limit their horizon at a time when we most need it to open.

Rudolf Lichtmannegger
from Austria to United States
Student at Washinton & Lee Universtity (1981)

I was a Fulbright grantee to Brazil in 2012 / 2013. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the experience had a profound impact on my life, both personal and professional. I was living in Campo Grande, southwest Brazil and studying bat ecology. Sometimes I felt lonely or frustrated or discouraged, but I definitely […]

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543985_10100637208600651_2109662345_nI was a Fulbright grantee to Brazil in 2012 / 2013. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the experience had a profound impact on my life, both personal and professional. I was living in Campo Grande, southwest Brazil and studying bat ecology. Sometimes I felt lonely or frustrated or discouraged, but I definitely came out better for all of it. As one of the only foreigners living in the city, I was fully immersed in the culture. Living with Brazilian roommates and working at the university or in the field almost every day, I ended up making close friends, several of whom I still talk to several days a week. We continue to exchange ideas and motivate each other. They have helped me with the development of my ideas and encouraged me when I have felt down about my current research and studies. I have also remained close friends with several of the other American Fulbrighters from my cohort.

My research in Brazil also introduced me to disease ecology, which is now one of the major focuses of my dissertation research and hopefully my career when I graduate. I was involved in several different projects and I published a couple papers (with a few more currently in review) from my results and mentored several other students to publish as well.

My Fulbright experience continues to influence me positively. I am grateful for the strong friendships I have as a result, my professional network, and my academic accomplishments that came as a result of being a Fulbrighter.

Julie Shapiro
from United States to Brazil
Student at Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (2012)

Az iPademről küldve 2014.03.28. dátummal, 10:52 időpontban Flamich Mária <flamich.maria@upcmail.hu> írta: Believe it, or not, Fulbright simply … has changed my life. One of the best, most fortunate things that happened to me was that I was, or am, privileged to be a Fulbrighter. I am just telling you why. As a legally blind person, […]

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savefulbrightAz iPademről küldve

2014.03.28. dátummal, 10:52 időpontban Flamich Mária <flamich.maria@upcmail.hu> írta:

Believe it, or not, Fulbright simply … has changed my life. One of the best, most fortunate things that happened to me was that I was, or am, privileged to be a Fulbrighter. I am just telling you why.

As a legally blind person, before I went to the States, I had always dreamed to be considered a thinking, human being. And when I got to University of California, Berkeley, all of a sudden that dream of mine came true.

A very good friend of mine and I applied together for the Fulbright grant, as we both imagine, that disability-related, mainly negative stereotypes can best be changed throughout critical analyses of cultural representations of disability, or cultural disability studies. She is specialized in music, and I am focusing on literature. I think that studies on these fields should somehow be built in higher education, mainly, though not exclusively, teacher education. So we both started auditing Professor Georgina Kleege’s Disability Memoir course at the English Department of UC Berkeley. We both could see our original idea, i.e. culture promotes understanding, working, and what is more, working well. People just like, or are in the need of speaking about their disability-related thoughts, they are not afraid of talking about their inherited fear, prejudice. Moreover, we experienced that this whole atmosphere is typical of Berkeley, and of the beautiful, diverse State of California. We could experience ourselves how Persons with Disabilities grow to be considered ”Differently Able Persons!”

Ever since I am at home, I am doing my best to assist people to discover the beauty of diversity and respect it. Every moment I am grateful that my dream could come true, so I am trying to spread the meaningful-life-centered paradigm I have seen the States. Thanks to Fulbright!

We both could speak forever and a day about our Fulbright experiences. There is even an essay on the MIUSA website, titled: The Story of Gershwin and Kodály.

http://www.miusa.org/ncde/stories/flamich

Maria Rita Hoffmann
from Hungary to United States
Student at English Department of University of California, Berkeley (2012)

Having the chance to pursue my MS in the US was the best experience of my life. It is true a learned at lots academically but I also would say it had a positive effect on my personal life and shaped my present and my dreams for my future. As I describe it, I had […]

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Tania-MatzHaving the chance to pursue my MS in the US was the best experience of my life. It is true a learned at lots academically but I also would say it had a positive effect on my personal life and shaped my present and my dreams for my future. As I describe it, I had the chance to meet awesome people from different backgrounds and different cultures, all them have influenced my present life. As an Indigenous person from Mexico, I wanted to contribute to the development of the indigenous peoples of Mexico doing Agricultural Enginering. After my staying in the US, I decided to go further to the technical side, I decided to move to social sciences to not just to create technology and techniques to solve problems but also to understand the lives of peoples and how to be more efficient as a scientist who wants to contribute to the ‘living well’ of indigenous peoples and farmers.

As I said, I learned a lot in the school where I had all I wanted to study and research, my supervisor and my academic group became a family in the sense they were supportive in all what I wanted to do not just in academy. But beyond the academic experience, what I keep in my mind and heart is the life I shared with friends, the experiences, the dreams and desires we built towards a better world from our fields, from our countries. It is also true that due to the prestige of the program, saying ’I’m Fulbrighter’ (As the welcoming letter says, ‘you’re a Fulbrigther all your life’) has helped me to open many doors, it has allowed me to be empowered to be comfortable at working at international environment which I think is crucial in a world of dreamers, but also to reinforce trust and confidence on myslef to go and pursue my dreams. Now I’m doing a PhD in the Netherlands and the research in my home country, this is what I wanted to do, work with indigenous peasants and contribute to their ‘well-living’ and I found my way through the awesome people I met in academy, the friends and people I met though my path while living in in Arizona. Lastly but not less important, Fulbirghters are everywhere and they are always willing to help another fellow wherever you go, so, you never walk alone.

Tania Eulalia Martinez Cruz
from Mexico to United States
Student at University of Arizona (2010)

The Fulbright program funded my doctoral research on nation building and America’s public image at the Smithsonian. I spent four months interacting with the distinguished curators of the National Museums and former congressional aides and learning about American political culture. As an associate professor in American history, one of my central objectives as I teach […]

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savefulbrightThe Fulbright program funded my doctoral research on nation building and America’s public image at the Smithsonian. I spent four months interacting with the distinguished curators of the National Museums and former congressional aides and learning about American political culture.

As an associate professor in American history, one of my central objectives as I teach French and international students is to foster a deeper understanding of American political culture. This is a direct outcome of my Fulbright grant, for which I am more than thankful.

Marie Plassart
from France to United States
Student at Smithsonian Institution, George Washington University (2005)

This summer seminar was shortly after German re-unification. We started in Bonn, went to Leipzig, and then to Berlin. Over the course of the seminar, we met with many officials, citizens, and educators who were grappling with the myriad of issues surrounding re-unification. Seeing things first-hand, having the opportunity to talk with these people helped […]

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savefulbrightThis summer seminar was shortly after German re-unification. We started in Bonn, went to Leipzig, and then to Berlin. Over the course of the seminar, we met with many officials, citizens, and educators who were grappling with the myriad of issues surrounding re-unification. Seeing things first-hand, having the opportunity to talk with these people helped me and continues to help me explain to my students the issues associated with this historic event.

Fulbright opportunities do no only benefit those who take part in them but what they learn flows back into our educational system and helps young Americans understand peoples around the world.

Helen G. Morris-Keitel
from United States to Germany
Teacher at NA Fulbright DAAD Summer Seminar in Germany (1992)

I’m a USA-trained pharmacist currently in the final stages of my Ph.D. studies in the United Kingdom at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow. My project involves analysing clinical data on patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with the goal of quality improvement in prescribing and treatment. I chose […]

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covvey-2I’m a USA-trained pharmacist currently in the final stages of my Ph.D. studies in the United Kingdom at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow. My project involves analysing clinical data on patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with the goal of quality improvement in prescribing and treatment. I chose to study in Scotland because of their unparalleled international reputation in healthcare data systems, and hope to use my experience here to improve practice back home in the USA.

My studies have been made possible only through the generosity of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, which has enriched my educational and cultural experience to an undeniable degree. The value of Fulbright at times is difficult to put in words, but I can say I would not be the same pharmacist, researcher, educator, or human being without it.

Jordan R Covvey
from United States to United Kingdom
Student at University of Strathclyde (2011)

Academically, Fulbright has allowed me to share my knowledge and training with a developing nation, utilize my passion and morals to fight for workers and patient rights, explore my research interests in lowering global healthcare disparities, and convinced me to continue my education towards a PhD in this area. However, this doesn’t even begin to […]

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savefulbrightAcademically, Fulbright has allowed me to share my knowledge and training with a developing nation, utilize my passion and morals to fight for workers and patient rights, explore my research interests in lowering global healthcare disparities, and convinced me to continue my education towards a PhD in this area. However, this doesn’t even begin to cover the total of what the Fulbright has done for my life. Living in Croatia has taught me about other cultures and way of life and how to be respectful of them and learn from them. It’s taught me about myself, my strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. It’s taught me about the very real struggles elsewhere in the world, things people have to deal with every day that I never even imagined battling. Fulbright has also given me the opportunity to act as an informal ambassador to the US. I’ve traveled the country giving lectures on my career to high school students, hoping to inspire them to follow me on my quest to improve cancer care everywhere. I’ve visited libraries all across the country telling people about the US higher education system, what makes it so special, and my experiences with it. I’ve run a biweekly library program reading children’s books in English to preschoolers. I’ve given line dancing workshops to share a unique part of life in the southern US with Croatians. I’ve participated in two zumbathon fundraisers as a Zumba instructor showing that Americans are caring and charitable, and that we can shake it. All of these experiences are things that have already affected the course of my life and that not only will I carry with me forever but that I hope will impart positive memories, feelings, and attitudes towards Americans to those Croatians with whom I’ve come into contact with.

Lydia Wilson
from United States to Croatia
Student at University hospital for tumors, Zagreb (2013)

Fulbright has changed my life. I was able to receive a graduate degree in International Development, the field I was most interested in, and I was able to make a step to fulfilment of my dream, a PhD in Development Studies. My Fulbright program brought me to the country I loved with all my heart […]

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savefulbrightFulbright has changed my life. I was able to receive a graduate degree in International Development, the field I was most interested in, and I was able to make a step to fulfilment of my dream, a PhD in Development Studies. My Fulbright program brought me to the country I loved with all my heart so I can make a change in the country where I was born. I met amazing people who became my friends and I had a chance to live and study in one of the best campuses in the US. These two years granted me freedom to read whatever I was interested in, travel where I wanted, learn more about the part of the US I never expected to visit. And most of all, the Fulbright grant gave me an opportunity to be an ambassador of my own country.

Anel Kulakhmetova
from Kazakhstan to United States
Student at University of Denver, Colorado (2009)

I had two Fulbrights in 1992 and 2001 in Bulgaria. The first one was concerned with designing Bulgaria’s first free university following the fall of Communism. In 2001 I revisited as a visiting professor. I was given an honorary degree and became a distinguished professor. The University now has 14,000 students and is one of […]

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189130_1003306837421_1067354076_30013679_5829_nI had two Fulbrights in 1992 and 2001 in Bulgaria. The first one was concerned with designing Bulgaria’s first free university following the fall of Communism. In 2001 I revisited as a visiting professor. I was given an honorary degree and became a distinguished professor. The University now has 14,000 students and is one of the country’s leading institutions. In 2008 I moved to Bulgaria permanently to serve as a professor and start a publishing company. I have written several text books in Bulgarian. The NBU is a leader of the democratic process in this country.

Randall Baker
from United States to Bulgaria
Scholar at New Bulgarian University (2001)

During the 1988-1989 school year I had the great opportunity to be a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Bogota, Colombia. To my good fortune (although it did not seem so when I first arrived) it was a public high school in a lower-middle- to lower-class section of the city. Except for 2 Mormon missionaries whom I […]

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savefulbrightDuring the 1988-1989 school year I had the great opportunity to be a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Bogota, Colombia. To my good fortune (although it did not seem so when I first arrived) it was a public high school in a lower-middle- to lower-class section of the city. Except for 2 Mormon missionaries whom I saw occasionally at the post office, I was the only obvious foreigner living and working in this part of Bogota. Because of the economic situation of the students of this school as well as the public school system in general, many of my students had never had one-to-one experience with an American before. I spent as much time getting to know the students and attending their activities as possible because the students at my high school in Vancouver, Washington, wanted to know what Latin American teenagers were like. The Colombian students got to know me and were able to change many of the stereotypical opinions they had of Americans. I do not think I would have had these opportunities had I been assigned to a private bilingual school as many Fulbright Exchange teachers are. Many of the students who attend those schools travel frequently to the US and don’t care to learn much about it. Additionally there are always foreigners teaching at those school on 2-year contracts so another American teacher there for only 1 year barely made an impression.

My goals in doing the exchange were:

  1. Get to know Latin American teenagers
  2. Live in Latin America, not just be a tourist, to get to know and understand the culture more deeply
  3. Improve my Spanish

I believe I met and exceeded those goals, which made me a better Spanish teacher at my school in the US. I never could have achieved that experience without the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program. I will be forever grateful that I had this opportunity. I am now retired in Mexico and all that I learned from that exchange serves me every day in my life here.

Susan Wright
from United States to Colombia
Teacher at Colegio Nuevo Kennedy, Bogota, Colombia (1988)

With an aim to enhance my academic competence in international standard university and prepare myself for my prospected career in development field, I applied for Fulbright scholarship 2014-2016 to study Master in International Development. Recently, I am selected as an alternate candidate for this scholarship. Fulbright is prestigious scholarship that provide a great opportunity for […]

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576840_3885078972972_1699939125_nWith an aim to enhance my academic competence in international standard university and prepare myself for my prospected career in development field, I applied for Fulbright scholarship 2014-2016 to study Master in International Development. Recently, I am selected as an alternate candidate for this scholarship. Fulbright is prestigious scholarship that provide a great opportunity for students from least developed country like me to gain knowledge in the field that not available in my home university yet important for country development. Each year our country gains small number of Fulbright scholars to study in the US due to the limitation of fund. However, this fund do make the change in our countries, many Fulbrighter in the alumni are experts in many government agencies that contribute to country development. Many of us also conduct several useful projects to develop education in Laos including develop major guidebook for high school students to provide useful information for them to decide their future study.

Therefore, the reduction of this fund will reduce the opportunity for Lao students to develop human resource for country development

Chindaphone Saignaleuth
from Laos to United States
Student at Montana State University (2008)

I went on a Fulbright to Colombia, partly funded by the Colombian government, fresh out of college and it made me into a Colombianist and an academic. I subsequently went on for a Ph.D. in Latin American history and a successful career with publications in both English (for a mainly US academic audience) and Spanish […]

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savefulbrightI went on a Fulbright to Colombia, partly funded by the Colombian government, fresh out of college and it made me into a Colombianist and an academic. I subsequently went on for a Ph.D. in Latin American history and a successful career with publications in both English (for a mainly US academic audience) and Spanish (for Latin Americans). I teach college students and graduate students at Binghamton University, State University of New York, including Fulbright students from Colombia. I currently have working with me a stellar Fulbright first-year graduate student, as well as another graduate student who was able to come to the US in part because her husband received funding from the Fulbright in another field in conjunction with the Colombian government. At Binghamton I also served on the Fulbright Committee for several years and got to know Fulbright students in other departments from Colombia and other countries. I not only saw how the Fulbright Program changed my life, but how it has changed many others and had a broad impact on academia in both the north and south. The Fulbright has been an important avenue of professionalization for Latin Americans and for advanced training for Latin American academics, who return to their countries with a more nuanced and positive view of the United States than they might otherwise have. After studying here they can no longer see the U.S. in simplistic terms anymore as an “evil empire.” Likewise, my Fulbright year made me see social struggles in Latin America in much more nuanced ways than I had before. Thus, for a relatively small investment–Fulbright stipends tend to be very small–the program has been enormously productive as a diplomatic as well as educational initiative. Our campus benefits from the high academic level of their prior training and the fact that many of them were already teaching at the college level before coming here. My Colombian students are the best students I’ve had, and I know that colleagues of mine have had similar experiences with Turkish and other international students, many of them funded by the Fulbright. society, and politics.

Nancy P. Appelbaum
from United States to Colombia
Student at University of the Andes, Bogota (1988)

Through the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the International Research and Exchanges Board’s administration of the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), I was selected to be one of the 12 professional high school teachers from the Philippines to receive a professional teacher training program in the US for five […]

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Internationally-Trained-Faculty-B-Copy-CopyThrough the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the International Research and Exchanges Board’s administration of the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), I was selected to be one of the 12 professional high school teachers from the Philippines to receive a professional teacher training program in the US for five months. This program, though not directly a Fulbright Scholarship Program, was funded by the Fulbright Commission based in my country. As a recipient of the fellowship, the program has changed a lot the way I viewed the ministry of teaching. The experience was totally life-changing and the program has compelled in me voluntary commitment to improve the educational system in my country, through the school where I am presently connected. My exposure at US schools and universities have given me rich insights and ideas on how I can replicate best teaching and learning practices in the Philippines. I have given seminars and workshops to teachers and students about the new trends I’ve learned from the US. Three years later after my fellowship, I have seen and felt the impact I brought to my colleagues, students and my school district. All of these and more could not have been possible if not for the generosity of the Fulbright Commission and the US State Department. That is why, I will always be thankful for the people behind the scholarship and the program because they surely make a lot of difference in the lives of people outside of the US, especially in developing countries like the Philippines.

Randdie Cuelo
from Philippines to United States
Scholar at Northern Kentucky University (2010)

2011-2012 has been the great year of my life so far. It was the year that I spent teaching English in Nam Dinh, Vietnam as part of the Fulbright Program. I thought English at a university in a small city about 90km south of Hanoi. As far as I know, I was the only American […]

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IMG_12252011-2012 has been the great year of my life so far. It was the year that I spent teaching English in Nam Dinh, Vietnam as part of the Fulbright Program. I thought English at a university in a small city about 90km south of Hanoi. As far as I know, I was the only American living in the city. For most the students and staff at the university I was the first American that they had met. I believe I fulfilled my role as a cultural ambassador and left a positive impression on most of the people that I met. I feel like for countries like Vietnam, where we have such a negative past, the Fulbright program is very important for both countries. The day that I left Vietnam, one of my students/friend wanted to take a picture with me in front of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. He took my hand and told me, “This picture not only represents our friendship, but the friendship and future of Vietnam and the United States.”. The Fulbright Program in Vietnam is one that has had funding taken away from it in the past yet it is one of the countries that I feel we need the Fulbright program the most. The youth of Vietnam is the future, and the key to establishing a stronger relationship with Vietnam is through Fulbrighters’ interactions with the youth.

Melissa Genovese
from United States to Vietnam
Teaching Assistant at Nam Dinh University of Education Technology (2011)

My time as a Fulbright ETA in Bulgaria has only intensified my commitment to international education and international development. By teaching English at a foreign language high school in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, I’ve been able to work with over 200 students from the 8th-12th grades over the past 2 years, be immersed in Bulgarian language and […]

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3552_10152226088744697_818057765_nMy time as a Fulbright ETA in Bulgaria has only intensified my commitment to international education and international development. By teaching English at a foreign language high school in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, I’ve been able to work with over 200 students from the 8th-12th grades over the past 2 years, be immersed in Bulgarian language and culture, and expose my students to academic opportunities and aspects of American culture that they wouldn’t know about otherwise.

I also co-founded (with 6 other Fulbrighters) a national non-profit foundation, the Bulgarian Forensics League, which promotes self-expression and critical thinking through English speech and debate. Students all over Bulgaria have participated in our competitions, and their coaches have noted the radical boosts in confidence and leadership abilities – traits sorely needed for Bulgaria’s future leaders. This project was the direct result of Fulbright collaboration!

None of these experiences would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the Fulbright program. Why take away from something that has done so much good for so many?

Athena Lao
from United States to Bulgaria
Teaching Assistant at Ezikova Gimnazia "Akad. Lyudmil Stoyanov" - Blagoevgrad (2012)

“What will it be like to work in Dubai? Will I be paid? Will I ever get my passport back?” Few of us can imagine the questions in the mind of a young woman who has been recruited for transnational labor – a job abroad. It is deeply disturbing to learn that there are 12.3 […]

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olga“What will it be like to work in Dubai? Will I be paid? Will I ever get my passport back?”

Few of us can imagine the questions in the mind of a young woman who has been recruited for transnational labor – a job abroad. It is deeply disturbing to learn that there are 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world; 56 percent of these victims are women and girls. While migration is at its heart an act of bravery, there is a great need to help potential migrants imagine and discuss the probable risks – and challenges – involved. How might we prevent human trafficking through education and outreach? How can new media and technology help those seeking to migrate? As a Fulbright Fellow in Ukraine, I was investigating these questions.

When I came to Ukraine, I wanted to understand why migrants’ personal trajectories can be so incredibly different and what makes them so. As a young immigrant to America, I was intrigued and troubled to see other people of Ukrainian origin with very different migration experiences. In an attempt to develop a better understanding, I ended up working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an NGO that focuses on prevention, rehabilitation, and reintegration of trafficking victims. The IOM works with over 75 counter-trafficking NGOs across Ukraine and runs a rehabilitation center in Kyiv, the capital, where the majority of my surveys and interviews were conducted.

After field research and interviews with youth throughout Ukraine, I decided to focus on comics and interactive storytelling as a way to engage young audiences and raise awareness. Together with my collaborator Dan Archer, a comics-journalist and 2010 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow from California, we have turned authentic testimonies of human trafficking victims into a comic book anthology titled Borderland. In Borderland, we explore the human trafficking equation from a new perspective – to challenge the common understanding of this complex issue.

I also wanted to connect with my audience (at-risk youth) and to share my research in a format that has a meaningful and lasting impact. I saw my audience as collaborators in the development of this project and met with them frequently to gather feedback on the developing narrative. Through focus groups with students, I found that they were thrilled to see comics about Ukrainians in Ukrainian! Many students were already familiar with manga and American comics, so it was an easy medium for them to understand. Many discussions were sparked after our feedback sessions. These discussions are really my project’s goal: to promote an open dialogue about a taboo subject in a society that is deeply affected by this tragic issue.

Since the completion of my Fulbright project, over 10,000 copies of Borderland were printed by the IOM and distributed to Ukrainian schools and youth, accompanied by several public open air exhibits in major cities in Ukraine. I have also shared these stories with American audiences through a Kickstarter campaign. I am grateful to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and never knew this project would take me so far!

Olga Trusova
from United States to Ukraine
Student at International Organization for Migration (IOM) (2010)

Having lived in my home country (Mexico) my whole life, I hadn’t have the opportunity to meet people from different religions. My Fulbright experience allowed me to meet and make friends with people from other nationalities and cultures. I learned that there is no such thing as universal truth; what is right for me may […]

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IMG_1291Having lived in my home country (Mexico) my whole life, I hadn’t have the opportunity to meet people from different religions. My Fulbright experience allowed me to meet and make friends with people from other nationalities and cultures. I learned that there is no such thing as universal truth; what is right for me may be wrong somewhere else in the world and it is OK! We can still live together and respect each other’s truth.
The picture is the last day of the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar “From Lab to Market” (Seattle 2012). Trust me, 15 years from today, if I call any of these guys, they’ll pick up the phone. We are fellow Fulbrighters.

Marina Jiménez Hernández
from Mexico to United States
Scholar at Northeastern University (2011)

I will be forever grateful for have the chance to study in a foreign country and college without Fulbright program PDPI I would never had this experience.I am a English teacher in public school in Feira de Santana/Ba/Br .This opportunity improve a lot my class because I could study with excellent professors and knew a […]

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DSCN3388I will be forever grateful for have the chance to study in a foreign country and college without Fulbright program PDPI I would never had this experience.I am a English teacher in public school in Feira de Santana/Ba/Br .This opportunity improve a lot my class because I could study with excellent professors and knew a lot of educational tools and I bought a lot of good materials like as flash cards, translator with voice and others that really are keeping my students motivated and our interaction in class increase a lot too.

I hope others teachers can have the same experience and I really believe that Fulbright must be powered and have financial support in all countries because it help a lot of people to make dream come true and empowered education give to all people select the chance to change lives.

Rosana Sampaio Marcelino Nascimento
from Brazil to United States
Teacher at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus (2014)

A Honduran educator since the age of 16, had taught in preschool and elementary decided to apply for a FUlbright Scholarship and was granted the opportunity to pursue my master in Curriculum and Instruction. I had the opportunity to become president of my graduate student association, organized the first research symposium from the College of […]

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Eloisa-RodriguezA Honduran educator since the age of 16, had taught in preschool and elementary decided to apply for a FUlbright Scholarship and was granted the opportunity to pursue my master in Curriculum and Instruction. I had the opportunity to become president of my graduate student association, organized the first research symposium from the College of Education at my school, became the coordinator of a study abroad program that has been in place since 2003, published my thesis as a bool, been exposed to other cultures that widen my undertstanding of the world and my job as an individual. It is because of Fulbright that I am a better person, became an example to my siblings and coworkers, am a committed individual who continues to make a difference in her home country. Have been a board member of the Fulbright Association in Honduras where we look for funding to send highschool students to private universities locally.

Thank you Fulbright!!!

Eloisa Rodriguez
from Honduras to United States
Student at PURDUE UNIVERSITY (2001)

As an anti-apartheid artist in the Resistance Art Movement of South Africa and a conscientious objector to conscription in the whites-only military engaged in oppression, I went into exile in Zimbabwe, where I had citizenship by birth. There, I continued to study African Art History by correspondence with UNISA, for mental stimulation. I needed more. […]

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Gary-QCC-Cameroon-clothAs an anti-apartheid artist in the Resistance Art Movement of South Africa and a conscientious objector to conscription in the whites-only military engaged in oppression, I went into exile in Zimbabwe, where I had citizenship by birth. There, I continued to study African Art History by correspondence with UNISA, for mental stimulation. I needed more. I sneaked back into South Africa to co-organize an exhibition documenting mural arts—one of the first art exhibits to take a cross-cultural, non-racial view, it was hailed in the press as a “cultural event of the decade.”

It seemed then, in the repressive late 1980s, that democracy would never come to South Africa, and I felt stuck in Zimbabwe, which offered limited opportunities. I needed to do more. My father-in-law, the architect Dr. Philip Brittan, suggested that I apply for a Fulbright. It would never have occurred to me; I thought it was a long shot…

I recall vividly when I heard the news. I was again in South Africa, working underground in a pro-democracy organization in Cape Town. I had been traced (or betrayed), and I was receiving threatening phone calls—on one occasion I had fled my room clutching my passport, convinced that the “security forces” were about to pounce. The Fulbright award was a breath of fresh air, full of promise, an escape, and a new beginning.

I was accepted into the renowned art history graduate program at Columbia University, whose strong African program was headed by Suzanne Blier. My wife, Lisa Brittan, and I arrived in New York with a stipend of around $850, of which about $750 was owed to Columbia in rent for a tiny apartment with two windows onto a brick wall. We lived mainly on egg mayonnaise for a while, occasionally garnished with a pinch of caviar from a tiny $2.99 jar. We could not afford Paul Newman’s lemonade: whenever I see it on shelves today I remember that time.

In 1990, we danced up and down in our tiny apartment as we watched Nelson Mandela walk free on the fuzzy black-and-white TV we had picked up from the street.

The next year, thanks to a Rockefeller Dissertation Award, we returned to South Africa to research and photograph Basotho mural arts—a topic never studied before, and stayed long enough to vote for the first time ever—for Nelson Mandela. I returned to New York in 1994 to produce an exhibition of my photographs at Columbia, critically acclaimed by the New York Times’ writer Holland Cotter, and this later became a NY Times Architecture Book of the Year.

I was asked to become the editor of a 56-volume series of books on African cultures, and remained in New York to do so. I was awarded my Green Card on the basis of extraordinary achievement, and we became American citizens.

In 1997, we founded Axis Gallery, which the NY Times remarked “made New York history by putting African art—old and new—on the map” in Chelsea, and produced many “museum-like” exhibitions over the years. We work closely with many leading American museums on exhibitions and display issues, collection identification and building, and education and outreach.

In 2013, I curated “Shangaa: Art of Tanzania” at CUNY’s QCC Art Gallery (which also traveled to Portland Museum of Art, Maine), the first exhibition and scholarly volume in English devoted to the traditional arts of Tanzania—the product of several years’ work. I also published last year a general-audience book on Pop Art, including many neglected artists, particularly women.

I am Executive Director of Alma On Dobbin, a not-for-profit that promotes cultural exchanges among and between the US, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe, and am helping to found an institute for Central and Eastern European art under the aegis of the CUNY system. I am currently preparing a retrospective on Jakob Jakovits, a Hungarian artist exiled in New York until the fall of the Soviet Union.

I spent a few weeks this year in Guinea, working on the next exhibition for QCC Art Gallery (CUNY), which will focus on the African provenance and oral histories surrounding art objects of the Baga, Nalu, and Mandori people.

As Program Chair of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Symposium, held at the Brooklyn Museum in March 2014, I was honored to shape this international conference of African-art scholars, and look forward to playing a similar role for the next Triennial, in Ghana.

I do not need more to do! This full program is what I needed, and what the Fulbright helped me to reach.

Gary van Wyk
from Zimbabwe to United States
Student at Columbia University (1989)

My research project as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard (1976-77)was: Comparative economic systems. The conclusion was that the Soviet Union was in a process of incontrovertible decline. Later, when I became Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of my country, Iceland (1988-95),I became active in support of the restoration of independence of the Baltic […]

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JÛn Baldvin HannibalssonMy research project as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard (1976-77)was: Comparative economic systems. The conclusion was that the Soviet Union was in a process of incontrovertible decline. Later, when I became Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of my country, Iceland (1988-95),I became active in support of the restoration of independence of the Baltic States – when mot Western leaders had a different agenda. It was my conviction, that the secession of the Baltic States from the Soviet Union would be the beginning of the end of the Soviet Empire. That is why I acted as I did, becoming the first foreign minister to recognize the restored independence of the Baltic nations. The Fulbright scholarship was an investment in truth. Along with the Marshall aid program it is the best thing America has done for spreading the ideas of democracy and the rule of law.
Abolish it, if you will – but, calculate the cost.

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson
from Iceland to United States
Scholar at Harvard (1976)

Fulbright opened the doors for me to get experience at a wonderful university in the US. During my stay, I learnt enough about the scientific story of climate change to make decisions for my future studies and career. I would not have aimed as high and been as motivated in my life choices, if it […]

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savefulbrightFulbright opened the doors for me to get experience at a wonderful university in the US. During my stay, I learnt enough about the scientific story of climate change to make decisions for my future studies and career. I would not have aimed as high and been as motivated in my life choices, if it hadn’t been for this program. It was an excellent opportunity that inspired me, and I would like the same to be available to more young people in the future.

Ketil Tunheim
from Norway to United States
Student at University of Minnesota (2009)

Before I talk about my own Fulbright experience, I want to start with my first contact with Fulbright recipients. I was an undergraduate studying German, and every year, my university hired 1-2 Austrian Fulbright recipients to teach beginning German at our university. A number of these assistants became my good friends and I had the […]

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savefulbrightBefore I talk about my own Fulbright experience, I want to start with my first contact with Fulbright recipients. I was an undergraduate studying German, and every year, my university hired 1-2 Austrian Fulbright recipients to teach beginning German at our university. A number of these assistants became my good friends and I had the pleasure of introducing them to my college town and my state. As a student with a rural background who had only left my state (Montana) a handful of times, interacting with international students like the Fulbright teaching assistants and their group of international friends completely opened up my world. I took some of them to see our National Park and our state capital city. Not only was I able to improve my language skills in an everyday setting by interacting with them, but I also got insight into their perspectives on social, political, and educational issues, among other things. These friendships were incredibly enriching for me, and I am still in contact with many of the Fulbright recipients today.

This academic year, I was lucky enough to receive a research grant that will allow me to complete research on my dissertation in German studies. I was also awarded a spousal stipend so that I could bring my husband with me while furthering my career goals. Sharing the experience of living in a foreign country with my spouse (who had never spent time living in another country previously) has not only broadened his outlook, but it has also allowed both of us to develop friendships with people not only from Germany but also from other countries like Italy, Spain, Korea, Brazil, and China. Because of our mutual interest in the future of higher education, we have also begun pursuing a joint project that examines the German dual vocational education system, which we would like to share with select American technical and community colleges when we return.

The benefits of the kind of “soft diplomacy” that Fulbright achieves are largely intangible and difficult to quantify, but i believe that they are crucial to maintaining a positive image of the U.S. abroad and for combating Americentrism in the U.S. Academic exchange is one of the most effective ways to combat problematic cultural stereotypes and misunderstandings as well. And, for me, most importantly, it gives students with a rural background exposure to the broader world in a number of different ways (through their own time abroad or through contact with Fulbright recipients coming to the U.S.). As such, I believe that the Fulbright program helps reduce the privilege disparity in the U.S., giving less wealthy young Americans from less educated backgrounds the opportunity to interact with foreign people, countries, and cultures.

Lindsey Brandt-Bennett
from United States to Germany
Student at Freie Universität Berlin (2013)

In short, I was a Fulbright scholar for two years (a rare renewal) and learned Icelandic, Norwegian, and Finnish. In 1990, I began teaching modern Icelandic at NYU’s School of Continuing Education and am still affiliated with that school. For the longest time, I was the only one in America who taught modern Icelandic on […]

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savefulbrightIn short, I was a Fulbright scholar for two years (a rare renewal) and learned Icelandic, Norwegian, and Finnish. In 1990, I began teaching modern Icelandic at NYU’s School of Continuing Education and am still affiliated with that school. For the longest time, I was the only one in America who taught modern Icelandic on a regular basis. This may still be the case today.
I also teach Icelandic (both Old and Modern) at Hofstra Univerity as well as Finnish. I also teach “A Survey of the Nordic Languages” which includes Norwegian. Therefore, I am utilizing all my skills learned years ago as a Fulbright scholar. The Fulbright program is absolutely vital; I am grateful that Fulbright provides such educational exchanges between nations. It would be a sad day if drastic reductions in funding would not allow Fulbright to function effectively. It is my wish that the Fulbright program will be able to continue and flourish throughout the coming years.

Respectfully submitted,

Josef Fioretta

Josef Fioretta
from United States to Iceland
Scholar at University of Iceland (1986)

I don’t know why, but ever since I was in middle school I had dreams of going to Istanbul and seeing the bazaars and eating kebabs. Well, after graduating from college, my wish was granted. Although I was sent to Malatya as an English teaching assistant in the east and not Istanbul, my dreams were […]

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1265430_10201074695452767_2122328583_oI don’t know why, but ever since I was in middle school I had dreams of going to Istanbul and seeing the bazaars and eating kebabs. Well, after graduating from college, my wish was granted.

Although I was sent to Malatya as an English teaching assistant in the east and not Istanbul, my dreams were more than fulfilled. I still managed to see Istanbul on the weekends, and besides, kebabs were better out east.

Of course, besides just food (although that is a crowning point for Turkey), my stay in Malatya was a magical experience. I had spent two months living in Ankara before on a CLS grant, during which time I developed a nervousness about the ‘lawless’ east of Turkey. The Fulbright proved to me that these fears were, by and large, ungrounded.

From my time in Malatya I was fortunate enough to travel throughout the east of the country, in many instances being the first American that the Turks I came across had ever met; almost 100% of the time, I was greeted warmly and with the deep respect that underlines Turkish (and Kurdish) culture.

Of course, one of the main goals of the Fulbright is to act as a vehicle as enhanced citizen diplomacy – it is a dream program of allowing people to interact free from government interference. It is a dream that strives to drive home the point that people are people. That point almost became a rallying cry of mine while in Turkey as Turks, curious about Americans and our way of life, would be impressed about how much in common we actually shared.

“Insanlar insanlardir,” I would tell them. People are people.

Perhaps the most compelling story of this comes from one of my students. He was a deeply religious student, and would without fail always greet me with “selam aleykum.” One day, he asked me a question about Christianity that I told him I was unable to answer. Confused, he asked me why – I told him I was Jewish.

The next week, when I saw my student again, he approached me during break with a host of questions. He had downloaded a Turkish version of the Torah onto his smartphone which he was slowly reading through, and he asked me amazed about how many of the same prophets appeared in the Torah as in the Quran.

I like to think that for my student, I not only gave him a positive mental image of Americans, but also of Jews.

Obviously, I can not say that I touched all my students as deeply (or at all), or that everyone who participates in the Fulbright has a success story. However, on the off chance that we can help improve relationships between even just a minority of people in the world, that in itself seems worth it.

Jeremy Bender
from United States to Turkey
Teaching Assistant at Inonu University (2013)

I couldn’t say it any better than First Lady Michelle Obama at a speech delivered at Peking University during her recent trip to China: “Studying abroad isn’t just a fun way to spend a semester; it is quickly becoming the key to success in our global economy. Because getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just […]

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January 2013 Theater RadioI couldn’t say it any better than First Lady Michelle Obama at a speech delivered at Peking University during her recent trip to China:

“Studying abroad isn’t just a fun way to spend a semester; it is quickly becoming the key to success in our global economy. Because getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just about getting good grades or test scores in school, which are important. It’s also about having real experience with the world beyond your borders — experience with languages, cultures and societies very different from your own.”

We should be increasing Fulbright’s budget, not slashing it!!!!

Patricia Kubala
from United States to Egypt
Student at Cairo University Department of Communication (2008)

The two years that I spent in South Korea on a teaching Fulbright gave me an experience that has and will continue to affect my life as an artist, educator, and American citizen. I am a Korean adoptee, and the Fulbright program allowed me to explore my personal heritage, and to give Koreans the opportunity […]

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savefulbrightThe two years that I spent in South Korea on a teaching Fulbright gave me an experience that has and will continue to affect my life as an artist, educator, and American citizen. I am a Korean adoptee, and the Fulbright program allowed me to explore my personal heritage, and to give Koreans the opportunity to interact with a person who has a more complicated relationship to her “Koreanness.” I formally taught middle school, but my pedagogical gesture was extended to all of my interactions–with my local community, my host family, and both Koreans and foreigners that I met all around the country. In the classroom, I taught a total of approximately 2000 middle school students, and held extracurricular classes for both interested students and fellow teachers.

We all learned from one another in strange and surprising ways. I spent my winter vacations in intensive Korean-language classes, and this in turn not only improved my Korean ability, but made me a more empathic language instructor. In Korea I also became more aware of my privilege as an American, and to what extent Western ideals were indoctrinated into my own sense of ethics and constructed representations of Asia. To a large degree, as much as I learned about Korea’s culture, language, and customs, I also came to better understand my “Americanness.” This direct confrontation with the United States’ (and to a larger degree, the “West’s) relationship to Korea and East Asian culture in general, has greatly informed my current artistic pursuits here at Columbia University. And my experience teaching in Korea also began the formation of my teaching pedagogy, something that I am continuing to refine as a teaching assistant now. The Fulbright program gave me more than I had ever expected to learn, and put me in a position to give more than I ever had of myself. With that said, Fulbright is a program that is, in my opinion, indispensable in building more nuanced relationships between the United States and other cultures.

Nicole Maloof
from United States to South Korea
Student at Bonggok Middle School (2009)

I went to Berlin from Ohio University to research and write my book on East German children’s films. In the process of interviewing former East German filmmakers and even audiences, I realized that my version of Cold War history was too narrow. I began to understand better what it meant to live behind the Berlin […]

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blessing_photo_claireI went to Berlin from Ohio University to research and write my book on East German children’s films. In the process of interviewing former East German filmmakers and even audiences, I realized that my version of Cold War history was too narrow. I began to understand better what it meant to live behind the Berlin Wall, and together with colleagues from around the world, have organized multiple conferences and presentations on what it meant to live under socialism – and it allowed me to focus on the overlooked category of children and the kinds of worldviews they were being shown on the Big Screen. It also helped many of my eastern German friends re-think their version of the U.S. Perhaps it is not the best marker of cultural diplomacy, but one of the best evenings I had was going to a concert in a church in Berlin with a former East German filmmaker to hear Lyle Lovett. She and I sat on the curb outside for hours, talking about what his music meant, how she had never heard of him and tended to reject American music out of a knee-jerk reaction that it was somehow all propaganda. She is now a major Lyle Lovett fan, but perhaps more important, a simple evening out together allowed us to see that the world was so much bigger than ourselves.

At the same time, I interacted as an American very often with the Fulbright office in Berlin, including helping interview potential candidates to the US and being part of the orientation process of living on an American campus. These moments allowed all of us to reflect on our respective societies and where education fit in to the larger public good. I considered myself an expert on German education; over lunch with German students about to embark on a year in the US, I realized that I had much to learn, which was very exciting to be shown that I did not know everything.

I am currently on faculty at the University of Vienna, where I am finishing up the book I started that Fulbright year. I took a job in Austria because I knew many of my colleagues who had been in Berlin during my Fulbright year and now work in Vienna on similar projects. I teach future teachers and students who want to go into NGOs, and the exchanges with my colleagues and my students have been important on all sides. I know that I bring in a different approach to the subject matter than my Austrian colleagues do, and it is why they hired me – that, plus the fact that I understood and had had experience in German-speaking universities. In an age of supposed globalism, we who are part of the producers of information and knowledge must be actively global as well. The impact of my Fulbright year helped put me on that journey; years later, it continues to be the inspiration for actively participating as a citizen of a global community.

Benita Blessing
from United States to Germany
Scholar at Humboldt University - Berlin, Germany (2007)

I won Fulbright scholarship for Faculty Development Program for 2012-2013 academic year. First of all, Fulbright scholarship gave me a great opportunity to develop both my professional and personal experience. Secondly, the benefits of cultural exchange gained from this amazing program unbelievable and developed me both professionally and personally in a great extend. I still […]

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SABINAI won Fulbright scholarship for Faculty Development Program for 2012-2013 academic year.

First of all, Fulbright scholarship gave me a great opportunity to develop both my professional and personal experience. Secondly, the benefits of cultural exchange gained from this amazing program unbelievable and developed me both professionally and personally in a great extend. I still continue my academic education in the U.S. for master program and continue building bridge between my home University and the University where I continue my master program in the U.S. I am tremendously thankful to Fulbright program to help me achieve the experience that is invaluable for me and my country!

I hope this program will continue to bring together millions of people around the world and to help them to achieve their life goals and contribute to globalization of the world!

Sabina
from Azerbaijan to United States
Teacher at Emporia State University (2012)

I went to Rome, Italy, for the 2011-2012 academic year to research the Italian political asylum system. While in Italy, I had the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of people involved in the asylum system, from government officials in charge of Europe’s largest state-run reception center to NGO workers on the ground providing […]

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IMG_6329I went to Rome, Italy, for the 2011-2012 academic year to research the Italian political asylum system. While in Italy, I had the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of people involved in the asylum system, from government officials in charge of Europe’s largest state-run reception center to NGO workers on the ground providing information and medical services to homeless Afghan refugees, and of course, refugees themselves.

I was able to witness the courageous and heartbreaking stories of people who have lost everything to make their start in a new country and to meet the inspiring individuals who work tirelessly to improve the lives of refugees. The experience was incredible and profound, not only because of my research, but also because of the reality of living in a new country and the personal challenges I overcame. Upon my arrival, I could hardly string three sentences of Italian together, and after six months, I was communicating effectively and with confidence.

I lived in a city ten times bigger than any place I had lived before. I struggled, persevered, and triumphed in matters great and small, and I experienced things that opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart in myriad ways. I made connections that will last for life, and perhaps most importantly, I connected with myself and discovered my path forward. I am currently pursuing a Master in Standardization and Sustainable Development at the University of Geneva, where my passions for language, cultural diversity, and interpersonal connection are flourishing. Because of my Fulbright experience, I know that I have the strength, determination, and capability to make an impact on the world, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Fulbright really does change lives, and the thousands of future Fulbrighters in every country really will change the world. Fulbright is far too important to be sacrificed.

Natalie Photiadis
from United States to Italy
Scholar at Sapienza University, Rome (2011)

I taught English to Class 8 students in Kolkata during the academic year 2011-12. This was the most incredible experience I have ever had – I know my students and I both felt so lucky to get to know one another. I am fortunate enough to be in contact with many of them still through […]

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I taught English to Class 8 students in Kolkata during the academic year 2011-12. This was the most incredible experience I have ever had – I know my students and I both felt so lucky to get to know one another. I am fortunate enough to be in contact with many of them still through various internet media, and I am planning to return to visit with them this summer. My major priority – besides teaching them to exercise their creativity, humor, and critical thinking – was to communicate how diverse and tolerant a place the United States is, something they truly did not understand before talking to me.

DSC_0432Since returning home I have studied two years of Hindi and begun a doctoral degree in South Asian History at Princeton University. The Fulbright Program changed the direction of my life, and I hope it did some good for my students in India as well.

Sarah Carson
from United States to India
Teaching Assistant at United States-Indian Educational Foundation (2011)

The academic year of 1951/52 profoundly shaped my life. I was deeply impressed by American ways of life, adherence to democratic principles, a culture of tolerance, mutual respect, self-critical evaluation of attitudes and behavior, readiness for reorientation and new starts after failure, optimistic outlook also under pressure, social responsibilities in society. I chose the career […]

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H. F. 2009The academic year of 1951/52 profoundly shaped my life. I was deeply impressed by American ways of life, adherence to democratic principles, a culture of tolerance, mutual respect, self-critical evaluation of attitudes and behavior, readiness for reorientation and new starts after failure, optimistic outlook also under pressure, social responsibilities in society.

I chose the career of a political journalist, globetrotted professionally and privately around the world repeatedly, represented my Viennese daily in Washington and New York for several years, wrote books, delivered papers, moderated societal events, met bigwigs and people in need and never forgot that I owed much of the fulfilment I derived from it to my early Fulbright experiences.

Hubert E. Feichtlbauer
from Austria to United States
Student at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo. (1951)

Without Fulbright, I would never have been able to grow so much in such a short period in my career. I spent the year not just photographing the role of women in Azerbaijani society as my grant proposal laid out but covering human rights issues around the country’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest, the […]

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amandabyrezaWithout Fulbright, I would never have been able to grow so much in such a short period in my career. I spent the year not just photographing the role of women in Azerbaijani society as my grant proposal laid out but covering human rights issues around the country’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest, the family of a writer, Rafiq Tagi, who was murdered as a consequence of a fatwa placed on his life by an Iranian cleric, and continued my work photographing the human impact of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. My work was published in The New York Times Magazine, TIME Magazine, Madame Figaro in France and elsewhere. I made friends for life and critically got to explore a country that had been closed to the world beyond the Soviet Union for so long.

The people I met, the stories I heard and photographed and the experience will stay with me for a lifetime. The worst thing the U.S. could do for its foreign policy is turn away from an over 50 year history of cultivating experts in the world beyond America’s borders. For peace, security and future generations, please do not make these unnecessary budget cuts!

Amanda Rivkin
from United States to Azerbaijan
Student at none (2011)

The Fulbright program provided me with the opportunity to change my life while changing others. I came from the area in Colombia where opportunities scares. I was the first in my family to learn a second language, study abroad, and attend a graduate program. The Fulbright program put in my hands the greatest gift I […]

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savefulbrightThe Fulbright program provided me with the opportunity to change my life while changing others. I came from the area in Colombia where opportunities scares. I was the first in my family to learn a second language, study abroad, and attend a graduate program. The Fulbright program put in my hands the greatest gift I have got in my career building process to work for the progress of the region where I am from. This program not only changed my life yesterday, it will continue to change it every day.

Jilmar Robledo
from Colombia to United States
Student at Univeristy of Nebraska, Lincoln. (2013)

I had an incredibly enlightening time at the Lakeside Upper School in Seattle as an exchange teacher. I learnt so much about the US and used all I had learned to make my students understand this country, but more generally cultural, racial and religious differences. I met so many wonderful people people who educated me […]

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savefulbrightI had an incredibly enlightening time at the Lakeside Upper School in Seattle as an exchange teacher. I learnt so much about the US and used all I had learned to make my students understand this country, but more generally cultural, racial and religious differences. I met so many wonderful people people who educated me about diversity of origins and tolerance and I learnt a lot about my own country this way too.

This exchange changed my life and outlook on things and gave me the impulse and confidence I needed to start my own program. Last October, I took a group of French students to volunteer and rebuild houses in New Orleans, something I would never have done, had it not been for this experience and a man,late TJ Vassar who was Director of Diversity at Lakeside and who inspired me. Please keep Fulbright programs alive, so that others will give back the way I’m able to give back today. Thank you.

Beatrice Legeais
from France to United States
Teacher at Lakeside Upper School (2009)

The professional, musical, cultural and life experiences gained as a Fulbrighter in Austria have shaped my life for the past 44 years. My wife and I started our family while in Vienna, as our son, Gray, was born in the Rudolfinerhaus medical facility. Our German language skills were fully engaged and expanded during our two […]

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P1160168-2The professional, musical, cultural and life experiences gained as a Fulbrighter in Austria have shaped my life for the past 44 years. My wife and I started our family while in Vienna, as our son, Gray, was born in the Rudolfinerhaus medical facility. Our German language skills were fully engaged and expanded during our two years of everyday shopping, using public transportation, attending classes and public events in that great city.

Musically speaking, the experience at the Hochschule was outstanding. The results of my study, and the subsequent earning of the Auffuehrungs Diploma, shaped the remainder of my education. Returning to Stanford University, where I was a teaching assistant in voice and assistant director of the Stanford Memorial Church Choir, I performed professionally as tenor soloist with several San Francisco Bay orchestras, colleges and universities, and community choral ensembles. As a direct result of my Vienna study, I completed my Stanford University dissertation on, and performed five of Mozart’s Concert Arias, the study of which began while I was a student of Erik Werba in the Lieder u. Oratorio Abteilung at the Hochschule. In addition, I performed the entire song cycle, “Die Schoene Muellerin,” accompanied by Margaret Fabrizio on a 19th century fortepiano.

After earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stanford, I began teaching at Whittier College in the Los Angeles basin. I served as Director of Choral Activities and acting Dean of the Music School for the first year. During that time I prepared and sang several of the works studied in Vienna. Mozart’s Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, Schubert’s Die Schoene Muellerin song cycle to mention a couple. The repertoire chosen for the Whittier College Choir was drawn from material introduced to me in Vienna, namely Die Heilige Drei Koenige by composer, Josef Marx, a biography of whom was written by Erik Werba.

My teaching career continued in Rock Island, Illinois at Augustana College where I was Assistant Professor of Music and director of the Ascension Chapel Choir from 1977-1981. The musical selections for that ensemble drew on my oratorio experience while in Vienna. Several large choral orchestral works were programmed while I was there. Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb,” Ramirez, “Misa Criolla,” and other shorter choral pieces and anthems learned in Vienna. An ORF Sendung on the “Mass” by Leonard Bernstein would come into play in my professional life some thirty years later. The work was premiering in Vienna during 1971-72 season, and there were several interviews with the composer on the radio. In 2003, I was a soloists with the Pacific Mozart Ensemble in a performance of “Mass” in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall with the Berlin Symphony under the direction of Kent Nagano. The recording of that performance was nominated for a Grammy Award the following year.

My years of teaching at Foothill College were focused on vocal jazz, something I didn’t study at the Hochschule. However, the Foothill Choir, under my direction, performed many chamber works I studied while in Vienna. Among them were some short choral pieces, Die Beredsamkeit and Harmonie in der Ehe by Franz Josef Haydn, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem, and Bach’s Magnificat.

Even today, in retirement, I still find myself drawn to repertoire I learned in Vienna for use in our condominium here in Seattle. In April of this year, I am producing a musical evening with chamber music, jazz, and student music performances. Schubert Lieder, operatic choral selections, Beethoven’s “Fuer Elise,” a selection of songs I first learned as a Fulbrighter for a performance at the Brussels Women’s Club in 1972, Barber’s “Hermit Songs”, plus a few jazz and popular numbers round out the program. Fulbright has undoubtedly shaped my music and personal life immensely. Bravo, Fulbright!

Nile P. Norton
from United States to Austria
Student at Hochschule f. Musik u. darstellende Kunst, Vienna (1970)

I was almost giving up on my career in academia. I was 27 years old, teaching biochemistry in the University of Costa Rica, and I knew that I needed grad school education to make this a serious professional path. I got admitted to schools, but wasn’t even close to afford them. Applying to Fulbright was […]

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savefulbrightI was almost giving up on my career in academia. I was 27 years old, teaching biochemistry in the University of Costa Rica, and I knew that I needed grad school education to make this a serious professional path. I got admitted to schools, but wasn’t even close to afford them. Applying to Fulbright was the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that if I got it, I could be able to get my master’s degree and keep working as a professor back home. But that was just a small part of what being a fulbright grantee meant. I knew it since the beginning, when I got to meet other scholars, that this opportunity was going to change my life. The possibility of networking with fulbrighters from all over the world, pursue my dream career and giving back to my country of origin seemed more than I could ask for, but Fulbright also opened the doors for more. I became a member of the American Society of Nutrition, invited to apply to a TED fellowship and got admitted to the PhD program, opportunities that I would have never even thought of if I wasn’t a Fulbright grantee. I owe Fulbright my professional satisfaction and the achievement of my full potential. I am going back home with tools, skills, memories and friends that I would remember and be thankful for for the rest of my life.

Ana Gabriela Murillo
from Costa Rica to United States
Student at University of Connecticut (2012)

Spending half a year in an American university was an eye-opening experience despite the fact I had already lectured in other foreign universities. The chance to be absorbed in the regular life of not only academic staff and students, but also of ordinary citizens helped me much better understand why the Americans feel and behave […]

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SONY DSCSpending half a year in an American university was an eye-opening experience despite the fact I had already lectured in other foreign universities. The chance to be absorbed in the regular life of not only academic staff and students, but also of ordinary citizens helped me much better understand why the Americans feel and behave as they do – and this experience made me fully convinced of the fundamental role American ways of life and thinking can have in making the world a better place.

Pavel Pseja
from Czech Republic to United States
Teacher at Hawaii Pacific University (2006)

Fulbright has made me a better person and enabled me to contribute to a better understanding of the world, along the lines and fulfilling the goals of Senator Fulbright. Most important, it would be a great mistake for the US to cut funding of the programme. The goodwill and global influence that the US can […]

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savefulbrightFulbright has made me a better person and enabled me to contribute to a better understanding of the world, along the lines and fulfilling the goals of Senator Fulbright. Most important, it would be a great mistake for the US to cut funding of the programme. The goodwill and global influence that the US can achieve by means of this programme is woth every penny, in a much more effective way than dollars spent in weapons, security or intelligence agencies, or in most other budget items Because every one of the thosands of individuals worldwide benefitting from this programme are truly grateful and they are and will remain great friends, friends which in many instances occupy top positions and are highly influential in their countries of origin.

I cannot think of any better way to further the interests of the US in the world than by supporting, not reducing, the programme In my country, national and international companies also contribute to co-funding the programme without expecting anything in return. Money wisely spent is money spent on Fulbright.

Pedro Callol Garcia
from Spain to United States
Student at University of Chicago, Law School (1946)

COLLATERAL ADVANTAGES: This is the headline I would choose to describe the added value that the Fulbright program gave me and most of my fellow Fulbrighters. I pursued a research project regarding the relationship between singing and French Horn playing and came up with a scientific discovery which confirmed many theories regarding the proper techniques […]

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DSC_0246-Version-2COLLATERAL ADVANTAGES: This is the headline I would choose to describe the added value that the Fulbright program gave me and most of my fellow Fulbrighters.

I pursued a research project regarding the relationship between singing and French Horn playing and came up with a scientific discovery which confirmed many theories regarding the proper techniques needed to play a wind instruments properly. In my musical world this is a small sensation. But beyond this musical development I had the opportunity to visit the homeland of my parents, both of which left Poland during WWII. The fascination that this encounter sparked in me lead to my “repolonization” while still remaining a patriotic American citizen. I now speak Polish fluently and have extremely close family, social and professional contacts in Poland. My Fulbright year was also an essential stepping stone to my musical career in Europe. I have been at the Zurich Opera for 29 years now and in addition to this I am extremely active in the area of historically informed performance practice, that is playing classical music on the instruments of the time as opposed to the hybrid modern instruments common to most modern orchestras.

Edward Deskur
from United States to Belgium
Scholar at Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Liège (1981)

I used my Fulbright grant to do most of the field work for my dissertation. I studied sexual signal variation within and among populations of a lizard that lives in the mountains in Mexico. We found some really unexpected differences among populations that may shed light on what the appropriate units are for conservation of […]

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savefulbrightI used my Fulbright grant to do most of the field work for my dissertation. I studied sexual signal variation within and among populations of a lizard that lives in the mountains in Mexico. We found some really unexpected differences among populations that may shed light on what the appropriate units are for conservation of those lizards and their habitat. Mountain habitats in Mexico don’t always get as much attention as the deserts or the tropics, but they’re amazingly diverse and increasingly threatened by climate change and development.

The Fulbright was absolutely key to getting my research done, because I needed an uninterrupted stretch of time to find good field sites and understand what was going on in each population of lizards. I also formed many amazing friendships, both with other Fulbright fellows and with students and faculty members at UNAM. I’ve continued to collaborate with people I met in Mexico, and I hope to do so for the rest of my career.

Elizabeth Bastiaans
from United States to Mexico
Student at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (2009)

Hi, my name is Roman. I was born and raised in a small town called Tomsk in the middle of Siberia. My hometown is great but it is isolated from the rest of the world by miles of forests and snow. I always wondered how world is beyond Siberia. Once our English class professor at […]

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1463969_10151711831416707_1733019417_nHi, my name is Roman. I was born and raised in a small town called Tomsk in the middle of Siberia. My hometown is great but it is isolated from the rest of the world by miles of forests and snow. I always wondered how world is beyond Siberia. Once our English class professor at the university invited Fulbright scholar from the US.

The only US citizen for miles around. The class quickly turned into Q&A session. Everybody in the room was asking questions about the life in US, education, holidays and traditions. Even those who barely could speak English were trying to participate in discussion. This was the first time for most people in the room to see a foreigner. That day I have decided that I also want to share my culture and Fulbright is my chance to see the world beyond Siberia. Several years later I have arrived to the US.

In 2 short years of my Fulbright scholarship I have made more friends than in my entire life it seems. The best part is they all are different and talented. This is amazing than we get together. So many nationalities bond together and all world conflicts between nations seem so ridiculous when you see the American teaching Iraqi to ride a horse on his farm. Fulbright opened my eyes it changed the way I look at the world.

Roman Ripp
from Russia to United States
Student at University of Minnesota (2012)

I went to Illinois on a Fulbright to study for a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. It gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience the US university system as well as the community spirit of a small US town. These were formative experiences, and influence me every day as I teach young engineers at the […]

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I went to Illinois on a Fulbright to study for a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. It gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience the US university system as well as the community spirit of a small US town.

savefulbrightThese were formative experiences, and influence me every day as I teach young engineers at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Helen Inglis
from South Africa to United States
Student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2000)

Fulbright afforded me the opportunity to achieve a cardinal objective in my PhD work as a visiting scholar. It brought about a positive change in my approach to teaching and research; and enhanced ability in imparting the acquired skills as a faculty member. I learned the US culture of hard work and effective knowledge transfer. […]

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savefulbrightFulbright afforded me the opportunity to achieve a cardinal objective in my PhD work as a visiting scholar. It brought about a positive change in my approach to teaching and research; and enhanced ability in imparting the acquired skills as a faculty member.

I learned the US culture of hard work and effective knowledge transfer. Fulbright gave me the privilege to feed children across the globe that would otherwise have gone to bed hungry through participation in STOP HUNGER NOW! Fulbright positively changed my world!

Emmanuel Awosanya
from Nigeria to United States
Scholar at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA (2013)

I spent a year in a small German town near the French border, teaching English to students at the two local high schools. The vast majority were obsessed with American pop culture, but had never been and had innumerable misconceptions about our culture, diversity, and values. I was the first American many of them had […]

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savefulbrightI spent a year in a small German town near the French border, teaching English to students at the two local high schools. The vast majority were obsessed with American pop culture, but had never been and had innumerable misconceptions about our culture, diversity, and values. I was the first American many of them had had the chance to meet, and I attempted to communicate those values to them in the classroom, formal tutoring hours, and informal “Stammtisch” gatherings (a traditional cultural discussion hour at a local pub or restaurant). My appreciation for the German culture and language increased during that time, and I have continued my contact with the country in my current career as an attorney, including a stint at US law firm’s office in Frankfurt. The Fulbright was an invaluable chance to develop my own sense of culture and self, to explore another country and cultivate an appreciation for it, and to spark a desire in the locals to visit and do the same in the United States. (I have since heard from multiple former students who have done year-long exchange programs in the U.S., and loved them) I would not trade the opportunity for the world.

Benjamin D. Fidler
from United States to Germany
Teaching Assistant at German Pedagogical Exchange Program (2008)

I come from a middle class family from Pakistan. I could never afford to come to the US for a graudtae degree without the Fulbright Scholarship. It has certainly changed my life entirely and made a dream come true! I have had the chance to experience what US higher education is known for globally. Moreover, […]

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savefulbrightI come from a middle class family from Pakistan. I could never afford to come to the US for a graudtae degree without the Fulbright Scholarship. It has certainly changed my life entirely and made a dream come true!

I have had the chance to experience what US higher education is known for globally. Moreover, the global recognition associated with the Fulbright award has instilled confidence in me. It has provided me with a golden opportunity to obtain a graduate degree from the best higher education system in the world known for its cultural diversity. I have been able to connect with international students through the forum provided by Fulbright. This has not only helped me learn about other cultures and people, but also provided me with the chance to be an ambassador to my country, portraying a soft yet true image of Pakistan.

Jawad Siddiqui
from Pakistan to United States
Student at Rochester Institute of Technology (2013)

I was honored to spend six weeks with 14 other educators from across the US learning about the diversity in Malaysia and Singapore on a Study Abroad Teacher program. I can honestly say that a week has not gone by when I reflect on that trip or share something I learned/experienced during that time. My […]

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Picture1I was honored to spend six weeks with 14 other educators from across the US learning about the diversity in Malaysia and Singapore on a Study Abroad Teacher program. I can honestly say that a week has not gone by when I reflect on that trip or share something I learned/experienced during that time.

My experiences helped me to be a better teacher with my increased understanding of the religions practiced in these countries and the culture of the diverse cultures of the people, as well as the way that colonization has affected countries. I learned about Islam and Hinduism first hand. I gained also an appreciation for the global impact which results from environmental modifications.I presented my lessons on Malaysia at both state and national geography/social studies conferences – so the impact of this trip went beyond the over 2000 students I have taught since 2000, to students across the United States through their teachers.

I truly believe that it is through global understanding that we can learn to survive on this planet together.

Diane Godfrey
from United States to Malaysia
Teacher at Malaysia Fulbright (2000)

Fulbright is the most beautiful and human tool of cultural diplomacy. The programme allowed me to build strong relationships with people from Iowa, and more particularly with my host family. I also made friends from Mexico and Argentina. This experience will remain in my heart for the rest of my life.

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French-Team-CalifornieFulbright is the most beautiful and human tool of cultural diplomacy. The programme allowed me to build strong relationships with people from Iowa, and more particularly with my host family. I also made friends from Mexico and Argentina. This experience will remain in my heart for the rest of my life.

Nadège Le Dard
from France to United States
Teaching Assistant at Simpson College (2012)

What a time to go to Ukraine! I returned to the United States just before the start of EuroMaidan and the Russian invasion. During my time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ukraine, I had the opportunity to help university students and talk with them about their perspectives on linguistic, political, and cultural issues. […]

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792258_10100890577961635_699942020_oWhat a time to go to Ukraine! I returned to the United States just before the start of EuroMaidan and the Russian invasion. During my time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ukraine, I had the opportunity to help university students and talk with them about their perspectives on linguistic, political, and cultural issues. To Ukrainians, the United States was once the enemy. But now, with programs like Fulbright and the Peace Corps, Ukrainians were inspired to overthrow their corrupt government in the hopes of achieving the kinds of ideals we taught them. My Fulbright experience was not just beneficial to my students.

It was also a learning experience and a source of personal growth for me. And even more, through the protests and geopolitical clashes which followed, I have been able to draw on my experience and contacts to help Americans understand the current crisis. My students have told me that they are more interested in learning about it because I am able to show them my own photographs of important places and relate it to my own experiences. Curtailing of the Fulbright Program eliminates one of the biggest opportunities for understanding, both inside the United States and out.

Beth Ciaravolo
from United States to Ukraine
Teaching Assistant at Vinnytsia Institute of Trade and Economics (2012)

Graduate school was always on my mind and, let’s face it, the chance to study in the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My dream came true in 2001 when I was awarded a Fulbright Grant to pursue my master’s degree at the University of Illinois. This later allowed me to continue with my Ph.D. […]

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1619192_10153040527341808_1528661923_nGraduate school was always on my mind and, let’s face it, the chance to study in the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

My dream came true in 2001 when I was awarded a Fulbright Grant to pursue my master’s degree at the University of Illinois. This later allowed me to continue with my Ph.D. at this same university.

Thanks to Fulbright, I had the chance to cross paths and learn from and with some of the brightest minds in the field of literacy education from all over the world, both faculty and fellow graduate students. It helped me understand issues about language learning from a global perspective.

All these lessons became the backbone of my work in Colombia. Thanks to what I learned in graduate school, I was able to return to my country and help build a new MA program in the field of second language studies. Our country is in the midst of massive educational reforms, where we need strong advocates who get involved in the needed changes to develop inclusive frameworks for our people. My training as a researcher has helped me become an advocate for literacy in my country and become a mentor for dozens of preservice teachers and graduate students in my university.

Without Fulbright, I doubt I would have ever been able to go to such a great institution as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and become the person and the scholar I am and strive to be in the future. Without Fulbright, there will be hundreds of young educators around the world who may never find all the tools to realize how they too can be agents of positive change.

There are so many Fulbrighters around the world whose experiences in the program has empowered them to make a difference in a world that sorely needs it. Do not deny others that opportunity. Do not deny others the chance to be life-changers. That would be an irreparable mistake.

#SaveFulbright

Raúl A. Mora
from Colombia to United States
Student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2002)

Before accepting the Fulbright grant, I was unsure where Bulgaria was geographically and I had never been to Eastern Europe. As a result of the grant,I came to love this country, with its rich history, beautiful Balkan mountains, warm people, and intriguing culture. While at Sofia University I taught a course that focused on legal […]

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George SiedelBefore accepting the Fulbright grant, I was unsure where Bulgaria was geographically and I had never been to Eastern Europe. As a result of the grant,I came to love this country, with its rich history, beautiful Balkan mountains, warm people, and intriguing culture.

While at Sofia University I taught a course that focused on legal issues and negotiation. This was the Bulgarian students’ first exposure to American-style teaching. They quickly adapted to the interactive approach and appreciated the learning experience. I continue to remain in close contact with many people I met during that visit.

During my stay in 2001, the Fulbright Office in Bulgaria established the Fulbright International Summer Institute, a two week program that brings together top students from Eastern Europe. I have taught in the Institute every summer since its founding–12 years now. In recent years I have brought a class of University of Michigan students with me to Bulgaria. This is an amazing cross-cultural experience. The Eastern European students obtain a first-person look at America through their contact with my students, and my students learn about a region of the world and cultures that are, literally, foreign to them. Many of them tell me that participating in the Institute was their best ever educational experience. My students in Ann Arbor also benefit, as I incorporate information about the region into my courses at the University of Michigan.

At a time when the world is becoming more globalized in business and the US faces increasing political challenges in many regions of the world, any cuts in Fulbright funding will have serious long-term consequences for our economy and our country. My 2001 grant was modest–barely enough to cover my plane ticket, housing and food. The return on this modest investment has been incredible, as the original experience and followup work at the Institute have impacted hundreds of students in Eastern Europe and the United States. Please do not cut funding for a program that has experienced such incredible, cost-effective success.

George Siedel
from United States to Bulgaria
Scholar at Sofia University (2001)

I learned : something essential about the people of the U.S.A; other,better ways of handling some environmental issues (legal and otherwise); pragmatic problem solving to trust the ” No problem” attitude more; a lot about me and my home country. I won American an d international friends . I shared exciting and often wonderful cross […]

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savefulbrightI learned :
something essential about the people of the U.S.A;
other,better ways of handling some environmental issues
(legal and otherwise);
pragmatic problem solving
to trust the ” No problem” attitude more;
a lot about me and my home country.

I won American an d international friends .
I shared exciting and often wonderful cross cultural experiences

I became a friend of the American people which does not hinder me to be sometimes critical of some US political decisions.

I feel gratitude for the largesse my US fellowships granted me.

Martin G.Dolp
from Austria to United States
Student at Cornell LawSchool (1973)

While writing this story I am in the middle of my Fulbright grant as a visiting predoctoral fellow in Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. I believe this is the best time in my life, which is rewarding not only professionally, but also personally. Thanks to Fulbright I have the opportunity to study and do […]

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savefulbrightWhile writing this story I am in the middle of my Fulbright grant as a visiting predoctoral fellow in Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. I believe this is the best time in my life, which is rewarding not only professionally, but also personally. Thanks to Fulbright I have the opportunity to study and do research in one of the most successful places in the world in my discipline and cooperate with scientists, who contribute to science development the most. Thanks to this unnoticeably I rose the bar in my own work as well. In my home country Poland there is still much work to be done in terms of education and research quality especially in the social sciences, which are underdeveloped due to short history – one might say that the proper scientific development began only after 1989. As a PhD student, who want to join academia in the future, I believe this is my role to be a part of the change in my university concerning quality of studies and research, as well as opening our scientific society internationally. Therefore having a chance to be a part of American education system even for a few months of my grant is a great experience, which I believe make me more prepared for be change-leader in Poland. This is a great advantage of American people and Fulbright program in particular to provide such a lesson not only to make world more unified and equal, but also in terms of scientific development and cooperation. Thank you for this opportunity and I hope the funding cut to be reconsidered, while this is program is really what changes the world for better and much is to be done, also in Europe.

Paulina Ziembinska
from Poland to United States
Student at Northwestern University (2014)

Fulbright has changed my life in a way that it gives me an opportunity to explore and see different perspectives from different people around the world. It is just amazing how it brings people from politically two opposing countries sit together, share ideas, and even collaborate in solving some problems.

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savefulbrightFulbright has changed my life in a way that it gives me an opportunity to explore and see different perspectives from different people around the world. It is just amazing how it brings people from politically two opposing countries sit together, share ideas, and even collaborate in solving some problems.

Muhammad Nazil Iqdami
from Indonesia to United States
Student at University of Georgia (2013)

Fulbright changed my life and perception of United States. There is a lot of tension between Russia and US right now, and I believe that having people who could see both sides of the coin is very important. After getting my masters at UNC at Chapel Hill I decided to continue my education and now […]

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DSC_8261-0Fulbright changed my life and perception of United States. There is a lot of tension between Russia and US right now, and I believe that having people who could see both sides of the coin is very important. After getting my masters at UNC at Chapel Hill I decided to continue my education and now I’m doing a PhD in medical informatics. My research is helping US to have a better health care system and I would never be able to do it without Fulbright. I want to make healthcare systems better all over the world not only in US or Russia. Programs like Fulbright are extremely important to make the Earth a better place.

Polina Kukhareva
from Russia to United States
Student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2010)

I come from a small regular public high school in my region where there is no enough facilities, but teachers are still able to deliver quality education. However, with this International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), I was able to benchmark best practices in US classroom which I can use in my own classroom and […]

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I come from a small regular public high school in my region where there is no enough facilities, but teachers are still able to deliver quality education. However, with this International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP), I was able to benchmark best practices in US classroom which I can use in my own classroom and share with my colleagues to increase students’ performance and more quality education. I also had chance to deal with and interact with other cultures from other countries.

Marisol Andrada
from Philippines to United States
Teacher at Arizona State University (2014)

There comes a point in your life and your career when you look to stretch your abilities and know-how by challenging yourself to improve your skill set. To me, it was that very moment, when I was offered to participate in a United States Department of State exchange program called Global Ugrad for the nine […]

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savefulbrightThere comes a point in your life and your career when you look to stretch your abilities and know-how by challenging yourself to improve your skill set. To me, it was that very moment, when I was offered to participate in a United States Department of State exchange program called Global Ugrad for the nine (9) month academic year starting in August, 2009 and ending in May, 2010. The Global UGrad program placed me at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (“UAH”) for the academic year. Fresh out of Malaysia, I was absolutely blown away by the international student friendly environment and the great faculty members who are relentlessly assisting you in every step of the way. In fact, I was so impress, I applied for the MBA program right after my return to Malaysia. It speaks volume when you know you return to United States to pursue a top notch education and a challenging learning experience. At the end, my Global Ugrad exchange program provided me the opportunity to explore what quality education means, and how I can transfer this knowledge of mine to Malaysia.

Alan Chong
from Malaysia to United States
Scholar at University of Alabama in Huntsville (2009)

Fulbright give me the opportunity equip myself with the knowledge and network to build a better society in Peru. My experience at Cornell is invaluable to understand the world. I wish more people can have this chance. Go Fulbright!

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savefulbrightFulbright give me the opportunity equip myself with the knowledge and network to build a better society in Peru. My experience at Cornell is invaluable to understand the world. I wish more people can have this chance. Go Fulbright!

Eithel Manrique
from Peru to United States
Student at Cornell University (2012)

I had the privilege of receiving a Fulbright-Nehru student research grant as well as a Critical Language Enhancement Award in 2011-2012. I lived in Pune, India for 6 months and attended the American Institute of Indian Studies where I learned how to speak, read, and write Marathi. After my CLEA I lived in the Vidarbha […]

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savefulbrightI had the privilege of receiving a Fulbright-Nehru student research grant as well as a Critical Language Enhancement Award in 2011-2012. I lived in Pune, India for 6 months and attended the American Institute of Indian Studies where I learned how to speak, read, and write Marathi. After my CLEA I lived in the Vidarbha region, in eastern Maharashtra. Although it wasn’t part of my initial plan, I was able to spend some of my time in the field interviewing Pournima, a widow of a cotton farmer, for the book “Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy” (to be published May 6, 2014).

I think of my Fulbright experience often and am incredibly grateful that I was able to contribute to this book. Now Pournima can share her story with readers around the world. All thanks to the opportunities I experienced through my Fulbright.

Aaron McMullin
from United States to India
Student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai (2011)

Through Fulbright Grant I was not only be able to bring all my professional experience and current abilities on the top class level, but I also basically establhed new bi-directional communication between my institution in Prague and my host institution in California. There’s entirely new tradition of exchanging people, ideas and experiences between those two […]

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Mich5Through Fulbright Grant I was not only be able to bring all my professional experience and current abilities on the top class level, but I also basically establhed new bi-directional communication between my institution in Prague and my host institution in California. There’s entirely new tradition of exchanging people, ideas and experiences between those two “planets” since I came back hope from the USA. For me this the crutial role of Fulbright idea !

Michal Rataj
from Czech Republic to United States
Scholar at CNMAT, UC Berkeley, CA (2007)

As a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in 2010, my family and I (including 3 young children) were based in Sheffield, England where I taught and undertook research projects with local colleagues on sustainable transportation and city design. The entire experience was incredible and had many impacts of note: – The scholarship partnership has led to on-going, […]

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savefulbrightAs a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in 2010, my family and I (including 3 young children) were based in Sheffield, England where I taught and undertook research projects with local colleagues on sustainable transportation and city design. The entire experience was incredible and had many impacts of note:

- The scholarship partnership has led to on-going, funded research collaboration;
- The relationships have led to students in our two institutions engaging in exchanges with one another where that had not happened previously;
- The experience exposed me to city design in many European cities, which has led to me offering my own study abroad course on bicycle transportation where I bring US students to Europe to learn how to make cycling a more normal way of getting around for more people;
- My children were able to enroll in local school, make local friends, and learn about new cultures. one child has taken that experience and turned it into her own 4-month study abroad experience this year as a high school sophomore.

There is much more to tell, but the basics are very clear. One of the main purposes of the Fulbright program is to foster international understanding and peace and I can confidently say that both my professional and family’s experience exemplified that goal. We should be expanding programs that allow more people from the U.S. experience other cultures, not reducing them.

I am also a former US Peace Corps volunteer and feel the same way about that program, although it often targets people in a different moment in their professional and personal life cycle.

Marc Schlossberg
from United States to United Kingdom
Scholar at University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) (2010)

I went in 2004 for 3 months to the US with the goal of initiating a collaboration with two top laboratories being ahead of me in developping a sophisticated experimental technique able to quantify OH radicals in the atmosphere. The visits to both laboratory was a full succes, a close contact still exists between my […]

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Photo-Christa-Fittschen-2I went in 2004 for 3 months to the US with the goal of initiating a collaboration with two top laboratories being ahead of me in developping a sophisticated experimental technique able to quantify OH radicals in the atmosphere.

The visits to both laboratory was a full succes, a close contact still exists between my group and the two labs in the US. In the meantime one of my former PhD students went as a postdoc to Bloomington and stayed there for several years, further tightening the link between both groups. Fulbright was a great occasion to get a very useful collaboration going!

Christa Fittschen
from France to United States
Teacher at Indiana University in Bloomington and Penn State University at State College (2004)

Fulbright enabled me to achieve my academic goals and to engage in intercultural understanding in ways that I never would have dreamed. A Ph.D. in hand, I am a Jewish woman married to German Lutheran, and we are bringing up two Jewish, bilingual children. In 1996, without the funds to continue my Ph.D., I stumbled […]

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savefulbrightFulbright enabled me to achieve my academic goals and to engage in intercultural understanding in ways that I never would have dreamed. A Ph.D. in hand, I am a Jewish woman married to German Lutheran, and we are bringing up two Jewish, bilingual children.

In 1996, without the funds to continue my Ph.D., I stumbled across a Fulbright meeting in the hall at the University of Rochester. I submitted an application. But the financial strain of graduate school was too much for me — I took a leave of absence to work, and decided to look for employment outside of academia. After a week of job-searching in NYC, I returned to Rochester, NY to find a FedEx from Fulbright. I had been awarded the grant and could continue my studies.

I went to Germany to study Holocaust memorials, with the ambition of developing a course on public art that would include works in of art in public space in Germany. My time there gave me the opportunity to interview living artists who designed memorials, to follow closely the then-debate on the German Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, and to integrate myself fully in Art History – and life – in Hamburg. The next year, I was part of a German government funded grant that allowed me to continue my stay at the Uni Hamburg. My research resulted in a series of articles on Holocaust memorials in Germany. But academic achievements were not the only success of my Fulbright stay.

If Fulbright is dedicated to inter-cultural understanding, then my husband and I are prime examples. When I arrived in Germany, my sympathy toward Germans and Lutheranism was limited and, quite honestly, unsympathetic. My stay there gave me new lenses with which to see the world, and to bring back to the U.S., and to my students, a detailed understanding of the events of the 20th century and Germany’s role in them (as well as the man who would become my husband!). I continue to teach and publish about art and Holocaust memorials, and I pass those interests and experiences on to my students, my children, and the world around me. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that Fulbright gave me.

A global world needs people who can understand and sympathize with one another on a global level — who can understand the subtleties of body language, spoken language, traditions — the list goes on and on.

Please fund Fulbright. With every grant, you create a world that wasn’t there before. A world in the form of one person who will pass along that intercultural knowledge, sympathy and understanding those around them. Thank you.

Natasha Goldman
from United States to Germany
Scholar at University of Hamburg, Germany (1997)

I owe my career to my Austrian Fulbright stay. Moreover, I have remained in contact with a number of former teachers and mentors. Recently,I was awarded the Ohio State University Alumni. Distinguished Teaching Award, which in no small part is due to the opportunity I had to have studied, researched and taught in Austria under […]

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savefulbrightI owe my career to my Austrian Fulbright stay. Moreover, I have remained in contact with a number of former teachers and mentors. Recently,I was awarded the Ohio State University Alumni.

Distinguished Teaching Award, which in no small part is due to the opportunity I had to have studied, researched and taught in Austria under the auspices of the Fulbright program.

Steven Joyce
from Germany to United States
Scholar at Universitat Wien (1992)

About the Campaign

SaveFulbright was initiated in March 2014 as an independent, web-based, grassroots initiative of concerned Fulbright alumni from all over the world, spearheaded by Yussi Pick, a Fulbright alum from Austria, and dedicated to lobbying for a restoration of the $ 30 M cut to the Fulbright Program budget in 2015. It was the first truly global Fulbright alumni campaign.

  • Over 27,000 signatories from 130 countries – 60% come from the US
  • 40% come from the rest of the world, with a lot of activity from France, Malaysia, Germany, Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Colombia and the UK
  • Over 40 news stories related to the SaveFulbright intiatitive have appeared various media (see below).
  • Collected over 500 stories about how Fulbrighters impacted their communities abroad and at home
  • For an update on the status of Congressional deliberations regarding the restoration of Fulbright Program funding by the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange click here

 

What the media says about the SaveFulbright initiative

The Pie News,Fulbright Faces ‘Inexplicable’ $30mn Cut”, Beckie Smith, March 14, 2014
Inside Higher Ed,Save Fulbright”, Elisabeth Redden, March 24, 2014
Slate,Don’t Extinguish Fubright”, Rebecca Schuman, March 26, 2014
New Republic,Don’t Cut the Fulbright! Its Benefits are Immense “, Eve Fairbanks, March 28, 2014
The Washington Post,Fulbright’s value in international relations scholarship”, Jarrod Hayes, April 2, 2014
The Huffington Post,#SaveFulbright: America Can’t Cut the Fulbright Program”, Jonathan Rice, April 2, 2014
The Washington Post,Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency & the value of Fulbright research” Brandon Kendhammer, April 14, 2014
The Arkansas News,Fulbright biographer opposes federal cuts to scholarship program”, Peter Urban, April 18, 2014
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,Obama Wants to Cut Fulbright Program”, Sarah D. Wire, April 21, 2014
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,Save the Fulbrights”, April 23, 2014
Townhall.com,Save the Fulbrights”, Paul Greenberg, April 24, 2014
The Providence Journal,Protect the Fulbright Program”, April 26, 2014
The Chicago Maroon,Proposed Fulbright Cuts Garner Opposition”, Andrew Ahn, April 29, 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education,The Fulbright Program: Too Remarkable to Be Cut”, University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart, May 5, 2014
The Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com blog,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance: Will the State Department Torpedo Its Last Great Program?” or “How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)”, Ann Jones, May 8, 2014

Reposts:
The Nation,Will the State Department Torpedo its Last Great Program?
The Huffington Post,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance
Commondreams, How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
Truthout,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance: Will the State Department Torpedo its Last Great Program?
Mother Jones,The Fulbright Program Is the Flagship of American Cultural Diplomacy. So Why Are We Cutting It?
Smirking Chimp,How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
War is a Crime,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance: Will the State Department Torpedo its Last Great Program?
War in Context,How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
Gorilla Radio blog,Staying in the Dark: State’s Abandonment of the Fulbright Program
Unz Review,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance
Daily Kos,How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
OpEd News,How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
Fire Dog Lake,How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
Progressive Radio Network,Will the State Department Torpedo its Last Great Program?
Informed Comment,Washington Militarizes Foreign Policy, but cuts Fulbright Cultural Exchange
Middle East Online,Save the Fulbright
Le Monde Diplomatique,Washington’s Pivot to Ignorance
Salon,International Disaster in the Making: Inside Obama’s under-the-radar plan to eviscerate the Fulbright program
Bill Moyers,Why Are We Cutting the Fulbright Program?

PublicDiplomacyCouncil.org,Will Someone Stand Up?”, Brian Carlson, May 12, 2014
Deutsche Welle,Cuts Could Cripple US Flagship Exchange Program”, Michael Knigge, May 16, 2014
Whirled View,It Works! The Fulbright Program Deserves More Support, Not Less”, Patricia Lee Sharp, May 16, 2014
Al-Jazeera America,Fulbright and the decline of America’s cultural diplomacy”, Karen Attiah, June 4, 2014
The Boston Globe,Fulbright Funding Folly”, Robert Strong and Harry Laver, June 10, 2014
The Society for US Intellectual History’s US Intellectual History Blog,Save the Fulbright”, Andrew Hartman, June 10, 2014
Inside Higher Education,In Appropriations Bills, Fulbright Program Spared”, June 20, 2014
The American Security Project,#SaveFulbright: Senate Subcommittee Rejects Fulbright Budget Cuts”, Thomas Campbell, June 23, 2014
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,Fulbright Grants get Boost in Bills”, Sarah D. Wire, June 24, 2014
Atlantic-Community.org, “As Fulbright Shrinks, so too Does US Investment in Transatlantic Relations“, Megan Doherty, August 14, 2014

Huffingtonpost.com, “A Fulbright Is Not a Political Football“, Tara Sonenshine (former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs), September 26, 2014

 

#SaveFulbright: A Timeline

March 4: Obama Administration publishes FY 2015 budget proposal with a 13.5%, $ 30 million funding cut for the Fulbright Program ($ 234 M to $ 204 M) designed to reallocate funds for short-term regional programming in Africa and Asia.

March 5: Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange “Policy Monitor” posts information on the 1.6% increase in the State Department’s international education budget (by $ 9.2 M to $ 572.9 M) in the FY 2015 budget and notes the cut in Fulbright funding in the ECA budget in the line item analysis of the Educational and Cultural Exchange budget.

March 10: Lonnie R. Johnson, director of the Austrian Fulbright Commission, goes on-line with “Save Fulbright: Lobby 2015”: an open letter analysis of the implications of the budget cut, tips on lobbying, and a call to action for the international Fulbright community. Posts about Save Fulbright are made on twitter, Facebook, and google plus, and advocates are encouraged to use the #SaveFulbright hashtag on social media.

March 12: Johnson meets with Yussi Pick, an Austrian Fulbright alumnus and media and communications expert, and Pick suggests the establishment of an independent, grass roots, alumni-based and funded, online advocacy and petition platform: SaveFulbright.org.

March 14: The Pie News, a UK based on-line international education journal, reports of the Save Fulbright initiative.

March 19: Yussi Pick brings www.SaveFulbright.org on-line at 14:00 CET with a complete online petition, database, lobbying resources, and e-mail follow-up structure.

SaveFulbright.org reaches out to 49 binational Fulbright commissions and to over 100 chapters and subchapters of national Fulbright alumni associations worldwide to solicit their support.

Within 24 hours, over 5000 people have signed on.

March 24: Inside Higher Ed is the first US media to report on “Save Fulbright

March 25: The initiative reaches 10,000 signatures

March 27: SaveFulbright.org emails Fulbright alumni who have signed the petition with the request that they share their Fulbright story. They receive over 400 stories in less than 24 hours.

March 28: Alumni stories go online on www.Savefulbright.org/stories

April 4: The House begins deliberations on the FY 2015 federal budget proposal. SaveFulbright.org petition has 18,890 signatures (13:00 CET).

April 7: The Savefulbright.org petition reaches 20,000 signatures

May 22: SaveFulbright.org drafts letter templates to encourage US petition signatories to lobby the State-Foreign Operations (SFOP) Appropriations Subcommittees in the House of Representatives and the Senate to restore the Fulbright Program budget and emails US signatories with a plea to write their senators and members of congress, particularly those on SFOP, and includes a template for doing so.

June 16: The House of Representatives State-Foreign Operations (SFOP) Appropriations Subcommittee releases a bill calling for the restoration of Fulbright program funding requesting “not less than $236,974 million . . . for the Fulbright Program, . . .”

June 19: The Senate State-Foreign Operations (SFOP) Appropriations Subcommittee proposes $590.77 million for Department of State international exchange programs in FY15. This funding number is a $22 million (or 3.9%) increase over both the current FY14 level and the House FY15 proposed level (released on June 16), and $12.87 million over the President’s FY15 request, according to an update by the Alliance for International and Cultural Exchange

The language in the Senate bill is emphatic about the importance of restoring funding for the Fulbright Program: “The Committee does not support the proposed $30,466,000 reduction to the Fulbright Program, including the Humphrey Fellowship Program, and the act provides sufficient funds to avoid such reduction. The Committee notes that in recent years the Department of State has justified reductions to one-way exchanges with a specific regional focus on the grounds that the Fulbright Program offers bi-directional exchanges with greater flexibility and strong country and university support. Yet in the fiscal year 2015 budget request the Department proposes to reduce the Fulbright Program to fund region-specific exchanges. This reversal indicates a lack of long-term planning.”

June 24: The full House Appropriations Committee marks up its FY15 State-Foreign Operations (SFOP) bill, reflecting what was included in the bill text marked up by the SFOP subcommittee the previous week: a flat overall funding level for exchanges, and funding levels for the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), and Citizen Exchanges that are increases over FY14 levels, as opposed to President Obama’s proposed cuts.

The draft House report language for State Department exchange programs makes clear that the House Appropriations Committee does not support a reduction of “core academic, professional and cultural exchange program funding by over $30,000,000 in order to support new and expanded program initiatives, as proposed in the request,” but that it does support those exchanges if funded from other sources. Paired with the Senate language that specifically supports and funds the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and the Young South-East Asian Leaders Initiative (Y-SEALI), this House language helps to create a situation in which these new initiatives could receive additional funding in conference. (Source: Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange Policy Monitor)

August 4: Congress begins five week summer recess. According to the Alliance for International Education Policy Monitor, the conclusion of federal budget negotiations before the November 2014 federal elections appears unlikely.

“The Fulbright Program aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in friendship and peace.”

- Senator Fulbright in the foreword of The Fulbright Program: A History, 1965

#SAVEFULBRIGHT

Große Freude: Wir sind gleich zweimal zum PR Staatspreis nominiert: mit #SaveFulbright und mit #Eu2014.at!

Gratulation! 2 Nominierungen zum #Staatspreis PR für Kollegen @Yussipick mit #savefulbright und #eu2014at - Hut ab! ots.at/presseaussendu…