Fulbright Day: Bolivia

Bolivian Fulbright Alumni: Celebration of the 75th Anniversary with Fulbright Alumni Virtual Summit and Fulbright Talks that Inspire

For about 57 years, Bolivia and the Fulbright Program have worked together to share knowledge across communities and shape a more positive vision of the world. Since its inception in Bolivia, more than 320 Bolivian professionals from many different backgrounds have benefited from the Fulbright Program.

Since early 2000, the Fulbright Program in Bolivia has seen a shift. Many more students from non-traditional backgrounds – indigenous, afro Bolivians – and professionals from rural communities have become important participants of the program.

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Fulbright, Bolivia will host one month of special activities to mark this momentous occasion in the program’s history.  The main event will take place on May 25. Bolivia’s Fulbright Day will also be the opportunity to launch a series of Fulbright talks (Fulbright Talks that Inspire) locally, but in the context of the Fulbright 75 anniversary.

On Bolivia’s Fulbright Day, U.S. Embassy La Paz will host a Fulbright alumni virtual Summit on a theme called: “IMPACT: 75 Years of Global Actions, Opportunities, and Connections.” The Summit will bring together Fulbright alumni from different generations, areas, and from all over the country for continued professional development, relationship building and collaboration. Zoom presentations touching on different subjects will be delivered.

Click here to register for the event.

The Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Turkey, the Turkish Fulbright Commission, was established by a bi-national agreement signed between the United States and Turkey in 1949. Since the creation of the Commission in 1949, funding has been provided by the governments of Turkey and the United States. Join Turkey as they celebrate 75 years of the Fulbright Program with a full day of events.

The first group of Fulbright student program grantees from Turkey boarding the plane to start their studies/research in the USA in 1951.

The Turkish Fulbright Commission hosted their Fulbright Day on May 7, 2021 with a series of special live events to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright program and 71 years of its presence in Turkey.

Fulbright Turkey’s day began with a video release showcasing portraits of some of our many alumni who have passed away, who inspired us and enriched our lives. After the opening remarks by the Turkish Fulbright Commission’s Executive Director Dr. Ersel Aydınlı, three live events followed, in which our alumni discussed how Fulbright had impacted their lives and how their experiences had enhanced their professions.

The first panel titled, “Reunion: U.S. Alumni on Making Turkey Their Home” brought together four of our U.S. alumni from different grant categories and professions who still live in Turkey: Dr. Julie Mathews, Dr. Victoria R. Holbrook, Ms. Sarah Elizabeth Kılınç, and Mr. Devin P. Brown. The panelists talked about some of the rewarding experiences they have had in Turkey and how they decided to stay in the country. The second panel, titled “After Fulbright: Career Opportunities and New Horizons”, brought together four of our Turkish alumni, Dr. Yusuf Kağan Kadıoğlu, Mr. Faruk Aktay, Mr. Enes Umur Gökçek and Ms. Meltem Ateş, to discuss and share their experiences during and after their grant periods, with prospective grantees in mind.

These two panels were followed by “Inspiring Story: A Conversation with Dr. Thomas Lovejoy”. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy was a 50th Anniversary Distinguished Fellows Program grantee to Turkey in 1996 and is known as “The Godfather of Biological Diversity”. The conversation covered past and present scholarship in the field; how research has influenced policy and practice on the ground; progress and points of optimism; and how COVID-19 has impacted perceptions of the value of biodiversity on a global and personal level.

We wish to thank our panelists who made these events very entertaining and thoroughly informative, for their invaluable contributions, and the ECA Outreach Team for their tireless support and assistance to make our Country Day for Fulbright Turkey a great success and a day to remember.

The full schedule is below. The full recording of the event will be posted soon.

Fulbright Day Turkey full schedule

On May 18th, the Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission honored 75 years since the global Fulbright Program was initiated and 60+ years of its presence in Romania through the virtual event titled “Fulbright at 75: A Global Response to Global Opportunities and Challenges.”

The celebration, moderated by Executive Director Mircea Dumitru, brought together distinguished U.S. and Romanian high officials, Fulbright alumni, partners, and friends who joined us online to mark this significant milestone.

We were honored to be joined by Acting Assistant Secretary Matthew Lussenhop, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu, Scott A Reese, Public Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Romania, and Nicolae-Victor Zamfir, President of the Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission’s Board of Directors, for the welcome and opening remarks.

Romanian & U.S. alumni E. Patrick McDermott, Vlad Mixich, Amy Liu, Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin, Ioana Mischie, and Augustin Ioan shared their thoughts on the impact and significance of the worldwide Fulbright Program and its role in the development of academic and cultural relations between Romania and the U.S., as exemplified through their professional and personal Fulbright stories.

The event was live-streamed and is available at: https://www.facebook.com/FulbrightRomania/videos/858346284751770

The alumni and speakers at Fulbright Romania’s event
Trinidad and Tobago Fulbright Day

In celebration of the Fulbright Program’s 75th Anniversary, U.S. Embassy, Port of Spain presented “Fulbright Day Trinidad and Tobago: Alumni Making an Impact,” a panel which featured Fulbright alumni leaders from Trinidad and Tobago: Ms. Melissa Jimenez, Dr. Samantha Chaitram, and Dr. Andrew Hunte.

The alumni engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of international education and how those experiences have shaped their careers. They shared their perspectives on the current challenges and opportunities facing the world and how engagement with Fulbright has strengthened the work that they are doing in their communities. They also shared some tips on how to apply for the Fulbright Program.

The event was live-streamed on April 22nd at 7:30AM EST via: https://www.facebook.com/ttusa

Fulbrighters in the United States and around the world are seizing the opportunity to meet the many challenges that the climate crisis presents. Fulbrighters serve as environmental stewards, develop innovative policies and technologies, and collaborate with colleagues in their communities and across borders to contribute to a more sustainable way of life. In recognition of Earth Day, and to celebrate National Park Week with our friends at the U.S. National Park Service, Fulbright announces Protecting the Planet Day on Friday, April 23rd with two special events: a Fulbright Impact in the Field alumni panel on climate change and environmental justice and an exploration of Crater Lake National Park with Fulbright Specialist John Duwe and Klamath tribal elders.

Fulbright Impact in the Field Alumni Panel: Climate Change and Environmental Justice (1 p.m. EST)

This Fulbright Impact in the Field: Climate Change and Environmental Justice panel will convene scientists, researchers, and other professionals involved in combating climate change. They will discuss the latest scientific and policy developments; how their Fulbright experiences enhanced collaboration within the international scientific community; and how the new ideas they brought back with them benefit their institutions and communities.

Register here for the Fulbright Impact in the Field panel on climate change and environmental justice.

Moderator and Panelist Bios

Moderator

Tim McDonnell (2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya): 
Tim McDonnell is a climate and energy journalist at the global business magazine Quartz, covering the people, companies, technologies, and policies driving—or impeding—the clean energy transition. McDonnell was a 2018 National Geographic Explorer to Bangladesh, formerly on the staff of NPR and Mother Jones, and has contributed bylines in The New York TimesNational GeographicThe Washington PostBloomberg BusinessweekThe EconomistThe AtlanticThe Guardian, SlateIRINWiredThe Huffington PostNautilusGristAudubonSierra, and elsewhere. As a 2016 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Kenya, McDonnell studied climate change’s impact on food security in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria. 

Panelists

Amber Ajani (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student to American University from Pakistan): Amber Ajani is a Climate Fellow at the UN Climate Change secretariat and a recipient of the UNFCCC-UNU Early Career Climate Fellowship. Ajani has teaching and conservation experience in environmental education, climate change, integrated coastal management, and environmental journalism. She has worked with International Union for Conservation of Nature, Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, Greenpeace USA, Subh-e-Nau Magazine, Shehri Citizens for a Better Environment, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. As a 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student, Ajani completed a master’s degree in environmental science from American University.  

Shalanda Baker, JD (2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico): Shalanda Baker, JD, is a leading expert on environmental and energy law. She is Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2018, she co-founded the Initiative for Energy Justice to support the delivery of equity-centered energy policy research and technical assistance to policymakers and frontline communities across the country. As a 2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico, Baker researched energy reform, climate change, and its impact on Indigenous rights in Oaxaca. 

Dr. M Jackson (2015 Fulbright U.S. Student to Iceland, 2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Iceland): Dr. M Jackson is a geographer, glaciologist, TED Fellow, Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, and National Geographic Society Explorer. Jackson has worked for decades in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities, and is the author of two award-winning science books, The Secret Lives of Glaciers (2019) and While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change (2015). Jackson travels widely giving public talks and lectures on climate change and women in science. As a Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar to Iceland, Dr. Jackson studied glacial change. 

Dr. Greg Poelzer (2015 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, 2021 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Co-Lead Scholar): Dr. Greg Poelzer researches comparative politics and policy related to Indigenous relations, energy and resource development, and capacity-building in the North. He is Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) and the Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Flagship Initiative Lead at the University of Saskatchewan. He is co-director of a multi-million-dollar Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant for 17 Indigenous and Northern communities. As a 2015 Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, Dr. Poelzer studied Arctic energy policy and governance from a First Nations perspective in the Energy Working Group. 

Explore Crater Lake National Park with Fulbright Specialist John Duwe (3 p.m. EST)

John Duwe, 2017 Fulbright Specialist to Slovenia and Education Coordinator, hosts an exploration of Crater Lake National Park and an introduction to the U.S. National Park Service. Learn about how the National Park Service connects visitors to nature, conducts vital research and habitat and species preservation, and works with Native American communities to preserve their cultural heritage. Duwe will discuss how he works with rangers at Crater Lake’s sister park, Triglav National Park in Slovenia, to strengthen engagement between the parks and their surrounding communities. In addition to Duwe, Crater Lake Park Aquatic Ecologist Dave Hering will highlight his work to restore and preserve the native bull trout, which have suffered from the introduction of nonnative species and became a “threatened species” in 1999. The event will conclude in a discussion with Klamath tribal elders, who will recount stories of Crater Lake, its significance to the Native American community, and how the tribes collaborate with the National Park Service to preserve this cultural treasure.

Before the event, registrants will receive an email with a link to a virtual tour of Crater Lake National Park and a recording of Klamath stories on Crater Lake.

Register here to explore Crater Lake National Park with Fulbright Specialist John Duwe.

Speakers

John Duwe
Education Coordinator
Crater Lake Park, Oregon
2017 Fulbright Specialist to Slovenia 

John grew up both in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the cold spring water of Northern Michigan. His father was an environmental specialist for the National Park Service and his mother was a special education teacher. After completing a course of study in geology and a tour as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, he decided to combine his love of working in natural settings and sharing ideas with people and set out to become an environmental educator. John worked for two seasons as an interpretive park ranger at Crater Lake National Park while he pursued his Master of Science in Environmental Education and Oregon Teaching Licensure from Southern Oregon University. Since then, he has worked as a classroom teacher, a program director for an environmental education NGO, and most recently as the education coordinator at Crater Lake National Park. John traveled to Slovenia in 2017 as a Fulbright Specialist to work with rangers at Crater Lake’s sister park, Triglav National Park, sharing ideas and strengthening relationships between the parks. John now lives in Fort Klamath, Oregon with his wife Stephanie (also a park ranger) and their two retrievers. He hopes to continue to work globally as he strives to provide mutual understanding of shared resources.

An image of Dave Hering holding a fish

Dave Hering
Aquatic Ecologist
Crater Lake National Park

Dave Hering is an aquatic ecologist and fisheries biologist at Crater Lake National Park. His interests include life history diversity and behavior of freshwater fish, the effects of invasive species, and conservation of native nongame fish and amphibians. For the past 14 years, Dave has worked to protect imperiled populations of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in Oregon’s Upper Klamath Basin, and his recent work has emphasized partnership among multiple stakeholders to accomplish landscape-scale ecological restoration. Dave is currently engaged in a collaborative international project to restore an alpine lake ecosystem in Triglav National Park in Slovenia. He is on the roster of the Fulbright Specialist Program and enjoys sharing expertise with international counterparts in the field of natural resource management. Dave holds a B.S in Biology and an M.S. in Fisheries Science. He lives in Ashland, Oregon.

an image of John Wright

John Wright
Klamath Tribal Elder

John Wright is an Elder of the Klamath Tribes. John was born and raised in Chiloquin, Oregon. At age 21, he moved to Warm Springs, Oregon, where he worked a full career in the woods and sawmills. Returning to live in Chiloquin in 2000, John supports his community through his participation on the Klamath Tribal Elder Committee and the Klamath Tribes’ Fish and Game Commission. He has also enjoyed teaching his grandchildren and other community members traditional camping, hunting, and fishing skills. John has been married to his wife Barbara (also from Chiloquin) for 54 years. Together they have seven kids, 23 grandkids, 16 great-grandkids, and 4 great-great-grandkids. John enjoys camping and working around the house.

an image of Barbara Alatorre

Barbara Alatorre
Klamath Tribal Elder & Historian of The Klamath Tribes

Barbara Alatorre is a researcher and historian of the tribes of Southern Oregon, and is herself a member of the Klamath Tribe and a direct descendant of two signers of the Treaty of 1864. She has researched Klamath tribal history and stories for over forty years. Ms. Alatorre was recently honored as a “Star of Oregon” for years of outstanding community service, having served as president of the Portland American Indian Center, as board member of both the Urban Indian Council and the Commission on Indian Services, and chairwoman of the Urban Ma’klaks.

An image of Boone Jenkins

Clarence “Boone” Jenkins
Klamath Tribal Elder

Clarence “Boone” Jenkins is an Elder of the Klamath Tribes. Boone was born in 1943 in Klamath Agency, Oregon and raised just below Crater Lake in Ft. Klamath, Oregon. He finished high school in Klamath Falls and then studied welding at the Oregon Institute of Technology. After college, he moved to Albany, Oregon to work in construction and help his parents run a bowling alley. In 1985, Boone moved to Alaska to work as a bowling alley mechanic and then moved to the western slope region of Alaska to build ice roads for trucking. He moved back to Fort Klamath in 2000. Boone has five sons, four living in Oregon and one in Alaska. For fun, Boone likes to hunt, fish, and watch auto racing.

Fulbright South Africa and NRF signing - Dr. Fulufhelo Nelwamondo (CEO, NRF)

On April 21, 2021, the United States Mission to South Africa and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) celebrated the signing of the NRF – Fulbright Fellowship Funding agreement at an event co-hosted by the NRF’s CEO, Dr. Fulufhelo Nelwamondo and U.S. Embassy to South Africa Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Todd Haskell. The event was attended by representatives from academic institutions, government departments and staff from both the NRF and the U.S. Mission to South Africa.

Approximately 15 additional guests, many of whom are Fulbright alumni, joined virtually via Zoom to share in the celebration and congratulate the NRF and U.S. Embassy on formalizing a long-standing partnership. The NRF’s financial support to enable PhD students registered with South African Universities to conduct one year’s research in the U.S. as visiting student researchers, is expected to greatly increase the total number of South African students selected to participate in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program over the next five years, with a total commitment of $1.8 million USD. In his address to the gathering of approximately 30 guests, Mr. Haskell emphasized the impact of the Fulbright program internationally over the past 75 years and thanked the NRF for their commitment and financial contribution to the development of South African PhD students. In his opening remarks, the NRF CEO, Dr Nelwamondo, expressed his appreciation to the U.S. government and the Fulbright program, remarking that the quality of a program that has been in existence for 75 years, with the history of the Fulbright program, is self-evident and wished the Fulbright program a further successful 75 years.

Fulbright Day: South Africa Quiz screenshot of participants
Top l-r: Ziyanda Stuurman (Fulbright Student Alumna); Kerri Spindler-Ranta; Tladi Maruma (current Furlbright student)
Bottom l-r: Allegra Cockburn (current Fulbright student); Mzamo Shozi (Fulbright Scholar Alumnus)

At a second activity on April 21, 2021 to celebrate the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary and impact in South Africa, the U.S. Mission to South Africa hosted an interactive online quiz where four South African Fulbrighters (two current students, two alumni) were put to the test by quiz master, Kerri Spindler-Ranta (Cultural Affairs Officer for Exchanges, U.S. Embassy Pretoria). Watch the recording here.

The quiz was held from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm to accommodate U.S. based current Fulbright contestants and in line with U.S. Embassy South Africa social media followers/participation trends. Questions were solicited from university contacts and via Embassy South Africa social media platforms, with more than a hundred questions received. These were narrowed down to the top fifteen questions on U.S./South African pop culture, history, art and geography to test the knowledge of the quiz contestants. Audience members were very engaged with comments and answer suggestions, and nine participants joined in the online quiz. During the live quiz, lucky draws were held and two of those who had submitted questions were selected to receive Fulbright gift baskets from the U.S. Embassy. The quiz was hosted on Zoom and streamed to the Embassy Facebook page, where U.S. Embassy Fulbright coordinators answered questions in the chat section on the current application cycle for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the Fulbright South African Research Scholar Program. A total of 71 peak live viewers were recorded, which is a record number when compared to other similar events the Embassy recently offered.

Making a Difference, Step by Step

Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Iceland
2005 Fulbright Foreign Student to Yale University
Chairman of the Fulbright Association in Iceland (2017–2018)

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson

As an Icelander, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson sees the impact of climate change up close: Iceland’s glaciers are rapidly retreating and studies suggest that in two centuries there may be no ice left in Iceland. Mr. Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, leads the charge in creating a comprehensive plan to reduce the country’s emissions, aiming for carbon neutrality in 2040. In his work, Mr. Guðbrandsson centers the need for global collaboration to address the complexities of climate change.

After earning a master’s degree in environmental management at Yale University as a 2005 Fulbright Foreign Student, Mr. Guðbrandsson served as guest lecturer at the University of Iceland, the Agricultural University of Iceland, and the University Centre of the Westfjords, while also working as an Iceland park ranger. From 2011 to 2017, Mr. Guðbrandsson served as CEO of Landvernd, the Iceland Environment Association, while simultaneously conducting research in ecology, environmental sciences, and global studies at the University of Iceland and The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI).

Mr. Guðbrandsson is heartened by the recent shift in thinking surrounding climate change. He believes people are willing to see governments take bold action. As climate-forward thinking continues to evolve, he stresses that adaptation and mitigation are essential: the more we limit emissions and increase ecosystem resilience and international cooperation, the more successful we will be in combating adverse effects. By working under the United Nations’ model for climate biodiversity, for example, Iceland can lead the way on conserving and restoring nature, in turn increasing food production and mitigating natural disasters.

Mr. Guðbrandsson notes that he keeps his Fulbright experience “close to my heart, because it meant a lot to me personally and professionally…You grow in knowledge, you grow in problem-solving.” Most significantly, he met like-minded people from around the world. His classmates’ points of view were shaped by their own backgrounds, which in turn broadened Mr. Guðbrandsson’s worldview. To create global change, particularly involving the climate, he stresses that we must practice vision, courage, and patience.

After years in climate-based work, Mr. Guðbrandsson emphasizes that “each individual can make a difference, no matter how small. Baby steps become larger steps, and we all must believe that our participation matters.” 

Far Beyond the Lab: Decoding Our Future with Climate Change

Dr. Andrea Dutton
Carbonate Geochemist and Sedimentologist
2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to New Zealand

Dr. Andrea Dutton in the lab

In her own opinion, Dr. Andrea Dutton is less of a scientist and more of an “earth detective.” As an undergraduate music major at Amherst College in 1991, she could never have imagined herself, 30 years later, as a renowned sea level and climate change expert, and the recipient of back-to-back Fulbright U.S. Scholar and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship awards.

At Amherst, Dr. Dutton was surprised to take a geology course and love it. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music, and pursued a new field after graduating: she taught science at Saint Ann’s School, a private school in Brooklyn Heights, New York City. After several years of teaching, Dr. Dutton returned to academia, completing master’s and doctoral degrees in geological sciences at the University of Michigan. From there, Dr. Dutton spent seven years as a postdoctoral and research fellow at The Australian National University. Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Dutton continued her research and teaching as an assistant professor at the University of Florida.

Her research has taken her around the world, from the Seychelles, the Bahamas, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, and most recently to New Zealand through the Fulbright Program. There, Dr. Dutton conducted research at Victoria University of Wellington’s Antarctic Research Centre, analyzing models and geologic records of Antarctic ice sheets for paleoclimatology research. This research helped to better understand the contribution of ice sheets to sea-level change and predict future changes caused by global warming. 

Committed to spreading the word about sea-level and climate change, via NPR, TEDx Talks, Fulbright lectures, and Rolling Stone Magazine, Dr. Dutton’s mission is to ensure that her research moves far beyond the lab. She speaks passionately about combating glacial ice melt and sea level rise, while acknowledging the immediacy of the crisis. She continues this work as a professor of geology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is excited to nurture students and build new relationships with colleagues in the Department of Geoscience.

In the face of widespread climate change, what is a geochemist to do? Dr. Andrea Dutton distills her mission to this: “A lot of people think of my work as trying to save Planet Earth. But I’m a geologist, and the earth has been here for four and a half billion years. I’m actually not worried about the planet, it will still be here—it will be a different place. What I’m worried about is how we are going to exist in that new world.”