Sophia Danenberg, 1995 Fulbright U.S. Student to Japan, became the first Black woman from any country and the first African-American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Photo: Sophia Danenberg.

Fulbrighters not only enrich their educations and advance their careers, they also make meaningful contributions abroad and at home, often in unexpected ways. Throughout the program’s 75-year history, Fulbrighters have borne witness to world-changing historical moments; in some cases, they have even made history themselves. 

Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, and 1981 Fulbright Foreign Student, receiving the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Photo: BBC.

Some Fulbrighters change the course of history: Juan Manuel Santos, 1981 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia, returned to his home country and eventually became president and negotiated a peace deal to end more than five decades of conflict. For his efforts he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

Other Fulbrighters make history: Sophia Danenberg, 1995 Fulbright U.S. Student to Japan, became the first Black woman from any country and the first African-American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. 

 Gorongosa National Park rangers Macane Costa Alberto Jornal (left) and Zacarias Muchambique (right) stack food kits in the park’s buffer zone as they prepare to distribute the kits to families. Photo: Dr. Jen Guyton

Working Together to Solve Complex Challenges

When Fulbrighters have found themselves facing natural disasters, they have sprung into action to help communities recover. 

A flooded household in Gorongosa National Park’s southern buffer zone, still inundated two weeks after Cyclone Idai. People stand on the island in the top left corner. Photo: Dr. Jen Guyton.

Fulbrighters React to Natural Disasters

Dr. Jen Guyton, 2018 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Mozambique, traveled to Gorongosa National Park to capture conservation efforts through the lens of her camera. While on her Fulbright, she photographed images of an unexpected threat: Cyclone Idai. One of the deadliest storms in history, it affected more than 3 million people, displaced thousands, and killed more than 1,300. Dr. Guyton used her storytelling skills to document the storm, as well as the resilience of human and animal residents to raise awareness and raise funds to mitigate the storm’s impact.

Edward Shippen “Ship” Bright, 2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Bahamas, a social entrepreneur, encountered Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, while on his Fulbright. Bright pivoted from teaching to supporting the Bahamas during recovery, including through volunteering with World Central Kitchen, sending University of the Bahamas students to Hampton University in the United States, and working with the U.S. Embassy in Nassau. Bright reflects: “We were up close and personal with Bahamians during some of their darkest days. We endured what they endured, and we pitched in side-by-side with them. When you suffer and recover with someone, it becomes a special bond. Seems like cultural diplomacy to me.”

Fulbrighters Confront Public Health Challenges

Fulbrighters use their expertise to confront the public health challenges of our time. During the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, Dr. Cheedy Jaja, 2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Sierra Leone, returned to his native Sierra Leone and served two tours with Partners in Health (PIH), providing clinical care to Ebola patients. Dr. Jaja reflects: “Each patient I treated, I told myself that I was treating myself. Empathy, compassion, and the ability to make do with very little is so important.”

In a world profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulbrighters continue to show flexibility, resilience, and a desire to do their part. Through research, public webinars with experts in public health and nursing, articles, and on the ground efforts, Fulbright physicians, researchers, nurses, healthcare workers, volunteers, and others continue to support those affected around the world.

Youssef Hilmi, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) from Morocco to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, volunteered at the Coastal Bend Food Bank at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, where he helped sort and package 3,000 boxes of food for a local community. Photo: Youssef Hilmi.

Documenting Critical Moments in History

Fulbrighters sometimes find themselves at critical junctures in world history, bearing witness to major events. On their journeys, Fulbrighters encounter the people, ideas, and movements that transform societies, moving us towards a more peaceful and just world.

Bellamy Pailthorp, 1989 Fulbright U.S. Student to West Germany. Photo: Bellamy Pailthorp.

Bellamy Pailthorp, 1989 Fulbright U.S. Student to West Germany, recalls the fall of the Berlin Wall, a seminal moment in contemporary German and international history. Removing physical and ideological divisions and embracing democracy, Germany was reunited for a brighter future. As the Wall fell, she was working as a translator for an American journalist. Pailthorp vividly remembers November 9th, 1989: “The streets were crowded for days, and after a certain point you could not buy any more bananas […] People were lining up at the banks to get their greeting money and [it was] just a big massive party for several days in the streets.”

Dr. Mary Christopher, 2010 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Egypt, used her Fulbright to teach Damanhour University veterinarian students about veterinary practices in the United States.

Dr. Christopher found herself in the midst of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, seeing demonstrations, exploring Tahrir Square between protests, and experiencing a communications blackout. During this time of uncertainty, Dr. Christopher strengthened her bonds with Egyptian colleagues and students. She explains that “The revolution stimulated discussions about oppression and democracy—people felt free to share opinions and ideas they might not otherwise have voiced […] One goal of a Fulbright is to enable you to view and understand your work in a new environment. The revolution added a unique and indelible context to this understanding.”

Harris Wiltsher, Associate Professor of printmaking and design at Florida A&M University. Photo: Harris Wiltsher.

Harris Wiltsher, 1993 Fulbright U.S. Student to South Africa, witnessed the birth of a new era of democracy. In 1993, Wiltsher’s Fulbright took him to the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, South Africa, where he witnessed the crumbling of apartheid. As a result of his Fulbright experience, Wiltsher created a print series, delivered various talks, and constructed a traveling exhibition, “South Africa: A Better Life for All.” Wiltsher’s firsthand experience allowed him to communicate South Africa’s rapidly changing society to the United States.

Megha Rajagopalan, 2010 Fulbright U.S. Student to China, is a 2021 Pulitzer Prize recipient for International Reporting. Photo: Megha Rajagopalan.

Megha Rajagopalan, 2010 Fulbright U.S. Student to China, is an award-winning international correspondent for BuzzFeed News, who has reported from 23 countries in Asia and the Middle East throughout her career. For her in-depth reporting on the internment of Uyghurs in China, Rajagopalan, alongside colleagues Allison Killing and Christo Buschek, won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. Her keen journalistic skills were honed during her Fulbright when she researched the evolving role of enterprise journalists in Chinese society.

Bringing History To Life Through Stories

In addition to making history, Fulbrighters also share important stories to keep cultures, memories, and ideas alive. Destry Maria Sibley, 2017 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Mexico, documented the oral histories of Los Niños de Morelia, a group of child refugees who fled the Spanish Civil War and settled in Mexico in 1937, including Sibley’s grandmother. Interviewing this now-elderly population and their descendants, Sibley developed a podcast series and website dedicated to their stories to discover the past and raise awareness of the millions of child refugees today.

Fulbrighters also assess archives and reexamine the past for greater understanding. Paul A. Shapiro, 1973 Fulbright-Hays Fellow to Romania, served as the founding director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. for 19 years (1997-2016), where he led the museum’s effort to provide focused leadership to the field of Holocaust Studies in the United States and abroad. Shapiro currently serves as the first director of the museum’s new Office of International Affairs, with the goal of enhancing the museum’s international presence and impact. A leader in the field of Holocaust studies, Shapiro has dedicated much of his career to increasing awareness about and accountability for the Holocaust, working to open archives and make them accessible for education and research, and ensuring understanding of the contemporary relevance of this defining historical event of the 20th century.
Tsione Wolde-Michael, 2015 Fulbright-Public Policy Fellow to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a historian and curator with a primary focus on African American history. Wolde-Michael worked with a small team as co-curator of the landmark Slavery and Freedom exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which has been publicly recognized for the ways it has transformed American understanding of slavery and the African American experience.

Slavery and Freedom exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo: Smithsonian Institution.

Making History Beyond Earth

Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt, 1956 Fulbright U.S. Student to Norway, on the surface of the Moon. Photo: NASA.

Fulbrighters have used their knowledge to expand our understanding of the world around us; some have gone even farther. Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt, 1956 Fulbright U.S. Student to Norway and geologist; and Dr. Joseph P. Allen, 1959 Fulbright U.S. Student to West Germany and nuclear physicist;were selected by NASA as Scientist-Astronauts in 1965 and 1967, respectively. Dr. Schmitt flew in space as Apollo 17’s Lunar Module Pilot, landing in the Moon’s Valley of Taurus-Littrow on December 11, 1972. He is the only scientist and last of 12 people to step on the Moon. Dr. Allen flew on two space shuttle missions, which were both milestone flights: the first operational mission on Columbia in 1982, and the first satellite salvage mission on Discovery in 1984.

Earth’s top minds are reimagining space exploration for the future. Dr. Eduardo Bendek, 2008 Fulbright Science & Technology Fellow from Chile to the University of Arizona, has more than 10 years of experience in state-of-the-art opto-mechanical systems for ground and space-based telescopes. Dr. Bendek works at NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC), where he focuses on the search for habitable planets beyond the solar system. In 2015 he was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal for his contributions to the agency on the development of exoplanet detection technologies. Dr. Elizabeth Jens, 2010 Fulbright Foreign Student from Australia to Stanford University, is a propulsion engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). An expert in rocket science, she worked on a subsystem for the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover, which is currently searching for signs of ancient microbial life. She also researches hybrid rocket technology to enable a new class of small spacecraft.

Tomorrow’s Story

Over the 75 years of the Fulbright Program, Fulbrighters have witnessed historic events during their exchanges and some Fulbrighters have been the drivers of history themselves. Fulbrighters have answered calls to action and have led others during defining moments in history when creative solutions for complex global or local challenges were required.  Each Fulbrighter is part of a network of hundreds of thousands of alumni serving as leaders and changemakers in communities across the world.  And, through each Fulbright experience and Fulbright-created connection, we are hopeful that the activities that Fulbrighters are carrying out today will be written in the next chapter of the history books as having a positive impact on future generations in the U.S. and around the world.

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Lee Evans

Raising a Fist for Equality, On and Off the Track

Lee Evans
Olympic Athlete and Humanitarian
1986 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Cameroon

Lee Evans, Larry James, and Ron Freeman of the United States, winners of the 400 meter run in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, stand on the podium in their black berets, worn to represent Black Power. Evans raises his fist in a “power to the people” gesture. Many African American athletes boycotted or protested the 1968 games in protest of racial discrimination and human rights issues.

At the 1968 Summer Olympic Games, after winning two gold medals and setting a world record, Lee Evans participated in one of the most famous displays of activism in Olympic history. On the medal podium, Evans donned a black beret and raised his fist in the Black Power salute. Along with his teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Evans’ silent protest was a brave statement against segregation, Jim Crow, and mistreatment of Black people in the United States and throughout the world. In addition to his medals, records, and activism, Evans also made his mark as a Fulbrighter. In 1986, Evans traveled as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Cameroon and completed a project at the intersection of sociology, education, and international development. 

The child of African American parents who fled the Jim Crow South, Evans spent his childhood summers working in the fields of Southern California with his family, noting that the work gave him “[his] special endurance.”

 Lee Evans (center) crossing the finish line of the 400-meter race at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games where he won gold.

Evans excelled at track and field from a young age. During his time at Overfelt High School in San Jose, California he received several college athletic scholarship offers, choosing to train with coach Bud Winter of San Jose State University, who inspired him to elevate his training in an attempt to compete on an international level. On track and field’s largest stage, at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, Evans earned two gold medals for his record-setting performances in the 400 meter dash and 4×400 meter relay. In addition to his historic performance on the track, Evans was a member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He wore a black beret on the medal stand to raise global awareness of racial inequality and segregation in the United States, South Africa, and elsewhere, and advocated for an end to segregated housing policies. His actions elicited death threats from individuals and hate groups.

Lee Evans (center), raising the Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Evans’ determination extended beyond the Olympics. Because he identified as a member of the African diaspora, he felt compelled to understand and support his ancestral home, explaining: “As soon as I learned about what Jim Crow meant and I found out that my ancestors were Africans, I wanted to go back to Africa. So that’s what I did […] I worked there for about twenty years and I was fortunate to coach three Olympic medal winners on Nigeria’s team.” 

As an athlete, Evans not only competed but coached sprinters in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, and Qatar. As an educator, Evans represented the United States as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Cameroon, as a professor of Biomechanics at the National Institute of Youth and Sports in Cameroon, and as an associate professor of physical education at the University of Ife in Nigeria. As a humanitarian, he promoted local access to fresh water, electricity, farming, transportation, and medical care as part of The Madagascar Project in the 1980s.

For his distinguished career and service, Evans received numerous honors including: the 1991 Nelson Mandela Award, the 1994 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Athletic Excellence Award. He was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1983, and the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1989.

Witnessing and influencing change, Lee Evans serves as an inspiration to generations of athletes and changemakers.

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Bay Fang

Recording History in Real Time: Ensuring Independent Journalism Across Asia

Bay Fang
Journalist, President of Radio Free Asia
1995 Fulbright U.S. Student to Hong Kong

Over the course of her 20-plus year career as a journalist and diplomat, Bay Fang has never wavered in her belief in the importance of a free and independent press as an empowering force. Fang, the newly re-appointed President of Radio Free Asia (RFA), has traveled the world reporting on history in real time, from covering wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to reporting on foreign affairs as the diplomatic correspondent for The Chicago Tribune. Her experiences on the ground, including her 1995 Fulbright U.S. Student award to Hong Kong researching Asia-Pacific economic cooperation (APEC), have given her first-hand knowledge of the importance of free press, and positioned her on the front lines of the fight to protect free and independent media around the world.

Fang reflects on the impact of her Fulbright in Hong Kong: “My Fulbright year in Hong Kong launched me on the path to becoming a foreign correspondent and helping to give voice to the voiceless. I was just out of college and it was the year before the handover, and I had the chance to witness firsthand how ordinary people’s lives can be thrown into upheaval by major policies, in which they often have little or no say. I understood then how much it mattered to listen and to tell their stories. From that eye-opening experience, I learned more than a skill or a vocation, but to embrace the world and its challenges, in pursuit of the truth.”

As President of Radio Free Asia (RFA), Fang oversees award-winning journalism with the mission of bringing free press to countries across Asia. Upon her re-appointment as President in January 2021, Fang commented, “RFA both informs and empowers the citizens of countries where authoritarians continue to spin webs of disinformation. As President, I look forward to ensuring RFA continues to shine as a beacon of quality, independent journalism in Asia and beyond.” Fang first joined RFA in 2015 as Managing Director for East Asia, before being appointed President in 2019. During her tenure at RFA, Fang spearheaded investigative reporting on North Korea and China and oversaw exclusive reporting on China’s extrajudicial detention of more than 1 million Uyghur people that led to the U.S. labeling it as a genocide. RFA is funded by the U.S. Congress under the oversight of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

Prior to her work with RFA, Fang garnered considerable expertise in Asia and the Middle East through her work as a foreign and war correspondent. She started her journalism career as Beijing Bureau Chief for US News and World Report, where she won The Robert F. Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism award for her story “China’s Stolen Wives.” She began covering the war in Afghanistan in October 2001, as one of the first journalists on the ground with the Northern Alliance, and later became the Chief Iraq Correspondent for US News, during which time she was one of the first reporters to be allowed into the training camps of the PKK, an extremist Kurdish guerrilla group. In 2006 she returned to the US and transitioned to be the Diplomatic Correspondent for The Chicago Tribune. In this role, she traveled extensively with the U.S. Secretary of State, reporting on such issues as diplomatic efforts in North Korea and Turkey’s involvement in northern Iraq.

Fang’s depth of experience in foreign policy and communications led her into public diplomacy, where she had the opportunity to shape U.S. communications strategies abroad. She served as Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of State, directing U.S. strategic communications efforts for southern Afghanistan based in Kandahar, and then was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, overseeing the offices of Press and Public Diplomacy. Fang earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford.

These experiences throughout her career, beginning with her fellowship, shaped her belief in responsible journalism. At a time when facts themselves are at stake, with people’s health and safety hanging in the balance, it is ever more essential to record and report the truth accurately. “A robust and independent press is a crucial part of the bulwark of civil society, and help prevent abuses by those in power,” Fang said of journalism’s role today. By reporting on events and policies that expose authoritarianism and human rights abuses, Fang’s work helps give voice to the voiceless, and brings truth to the recording of history.

From Fjords to Lunar Valleys: A Fulbright Astronaut Reaches New Heights

Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt
Astronaut
1957 Fulbright U.S. Student to Norway

Dr. Harrison “Jack”  Schmitt.

Most Fulbrighters travel internationally to study, research, and promote international understanding; however, a select few go beyond international borders. Dr. Harrison Schmitt was the first scientist on a U.S. spaceflight, and is one of only 12 people to set foot on the moon.

As part of the Apollo 17 crew, Dr. Schmitt landed in the Moon’s Valley of Taurus-Littrow on December 11, 1972, and collected more than 240 pounds of lunar rock samples to bring back to Earth. His unique career as an astronaut, geologist, and U.S. senator was built upon the cornerstone of his Fulbright experience.

Jack Schmitt was a Fulbright U.S. Student to Norway, studying geology at the University of Oslo for the 1957-1958 academic year. While in Norway, Dr. Schmitt heard news of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite launched into space. In his own words, “Even this naïve Fulbright student from a ‘small mining town in the West’ could not miss the profound impact Sputnik was having on my student friends from around the world. I also could not help but conclude that Sputnik and the space age it heralded would have a profound effect on human history. Thus, the philosophical seed of interest in spaceflight was planted in my mind.”Dr. Schmitt’s work in Norway made a lasting impact on his career, serving as the foundation of his Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University. In 1965, shortly after receiving his doctorate, he was recruited by NASA to join the first group of scientists who would train to become astronauts. Following his selection, Dr. Schmitt spent his first year in the Air Force learning to become a jet pilot. He then worked at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, developing geological field techniques that would be used by the Apollo crews. After several years of flight training and instructing mission crews on lunar science and the development of lunar surface exploration hardware and procedures, Dr. Schmitt participated in the final Apollo mission to the Moon. In addition to the research the crew conducted and the rock samples that were extracted as part of NASA’s last manned mission to the Moon, the Apollo 17 astronauts are credited with capturing one of the most famous images of Earth from space, referred to as “The Blue Marble.”

“The Blue Marble,” the Apollo 17 mission’s famous image of Earth.

As a firsthand witness to history, Dr. Schmitt reflects on the experience: “The Apollo explorations of space and the Moon, which we have watched and lived on, were man’s first halting, but clearly personal, look at his universe. Our unique character among the living species of nature is carried forward in many ways. One outward reflection of this character is that we have had the audacity to try to understand our place in this universe and in its future.” 

Dr. Harrison Schmitt on the Moon’s Valley of Taurus-Littrow in 1972.

Shortly after he returned from the Moon, Dr. Schmitt served as an international representative of NASA and returned to Norway, presenting a 3.8-billion-year-old moon rock to the people of Norway. During his visit, Dr. Schmitt spoke of his Fulbright experience in Norway, crediting it as a “turning point” in his life that inspired his “path to the moon.”

Following his NASA career, Dr. Schmitt represented his home state of New Mexico as a U.S. Senator from 1977 to 1983. Dr. Schmitt served as the first natural scientist in the United States Senate since Thomas Jefferson served as Vice-President. He continued his career in public service as a speaker and specialist for the U.S. Department of State and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council. In recognition of this service, in 2003 the U.S. Department of State established the Harrison H. Schmitt Leadership Award, for U.S. Fulbright alumni who have served their country in the military and demonstrated leadership and dedication to public service, learning, and mutual understanding.

Dr. Schmitt’s legacy in the field of geology, space exploration, and public service makes him an exemplary representative of the positive impact of the Fulbright Program. He reflects on his Fulbright experience by noting that, “The Fulbright Program is many things to many fortunate people. For me, the Fulbright experience clearly shaped the broad framework of my life.”

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Zahi Hawass

Witnessing and Discovering Ancient Egyptian History

Dr. Zahi Hawass
Archaeologist
1983 Fulbright Foreign Student to the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Zahi Hawass.

Dr. Zahi Hawass is a witness to history. A renowned archaeologist, Egyptian government official, and public intellectual, Dr. Hawass received his Ph.D. in Egyptology in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a master’s degree as a Fulbrighter, which Dr. Hawass believes “changed [his] life,” making him a good Egyptologist with a “vision for the future.” Dr. Hawass has been the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities and Director of Excavations of historical sites. For 30 years, he has been excavating, preserving, and protecting Egyptian heritage and human history. 

Following his return to Egypt from the United States, Dr. Hawass was named General Director of Antiquities at Giza, Saqqarah, and Bahariya Oasis and Research Director for the Egyptian Mummy Project (EMP). The EMP uses modern forensic techniques to investigate ancient Egyptian royals, making significant findings ranging from uncovering the mummified remains of Queen Hatshepsut and the family of King Tutankhamun, to resolving Ramesses III’s mysterious murder. Alongside his fieldwork, Dr. Hawass taught Archaeology and Egyptology at Alexandria University, the American University in Cairo, and the University of California, Los Angeles, and continues to work as a guest lecturer.  

Among Dr. Hawass’ numerous discoveries are the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis, and the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders and the Osiris Shaft at Giza. Once found, these precious monuments, tombs, statues, and artifacts must be cared for, and Dr. Hawass has done important work as Director of Restoration and Director of Conservation at multiple sites, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx Temple, the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, the statue of Ramesses II at Memphis, and Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish monuments in Old Cairo. 

 Dr. Zahi Hawass at the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt.

In 2002, Dr. Hawass was appointed as Egypt’s Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which became the Ministry of State for Antiquities in 2011. During Dr. Hawass’ tenure, he revolutionized site management in Egypt and revitalized the museum system, opening 15 museums to the public and initiating the construction of 20 more, including The Grand Egyptian Museum, slated to open in 2021 as the largest archaeological museum in the world. Dr. Hawass is known for reclaiming Egyptology for Egyptians and has successfully repatriated more than 5,000 artifacts. He continues to advocate for the return of Egyptian relics, such as the Rosetta Stone and the bust of Nefertiti. 

Dr. Zahi Hawass as a young student.

Dr. Hawass’ vibrant personality and sense of showmanship were honed at the University of Pennsylvania: “I went as a quiet young man, I didn’t know my talents, but I learned how to choose my words, and how to become a public lecturer.” He is a prolific writer of books and articles that have been published in multiple languages, and has made numerous appearances on TV shows and documentaries, nurturing a global interest in ancient Egypt. He currently serves as the World Tourism Organization’s Ambassador for World Tourism and Ambassador for Responsible Tourism.  

Dr. Zahi Hawass surveying the newly discovered Dazzling Aten lost city in Luxor, Egypt.

After a lifetime of uncovering ancient history, Dr. Hawass’ work continues to make history. In April 2021, Dr. Hawass discovered an entire lost city in Luxor. The city, called Dazzling Aten, dates back 3,500 years to a golden age in ancient Egypt. Dr. Hawass said on site, “I’m proud to be a Fulbright. I learned a lot about how to be a good lecturer, how to write books, and also how to educate people all over the world.” Dr. Hawass’ work, including his latest discovery of Dazzling Aten, demonstrates a spirit of adventure and discovery as well as the desire to share knowledge and culture that exemplifies Fulbrighters from across the globe.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica celebrated Fulbright Day on August 19. For this important celebration it was necessary to adapt to the security measures and protocols due to Covid-19.

The Cultural Affairs Office set the goal of updating the information available in CRM to include as many alumni as possible in a virtual activity. For this reason, we carried out a campaign that included a survey and a video from the Cultural Attaché, Lauren Garza. The survey was sent to more than 400 alumni and 241 of them responded.

The office prepared a video to commemorate Fulbright’s footprint in Costa Rica and was broadcasted on all embassy social media.

The video shows a message from the Cultural Attaché Lauren Garza, as well as messages from former grantees who have made great contributions on issues of human rights, environmental conservation and technology development. A participant from the 1970s and a grantee that just finished her program also participated to show that Fulbright has made an impact through the generations. Finally, we showed the greetings of five former US ambassadors and their appreciation for the contribution of the Fulbright program. The video had 150 live viewers, there was an interaction with 521 people, and had a reach of 8,000 people.

On the same day, there was an activity at the University of Costa Rica, organized by the Fulbright Alumni Association, which was attended by 55 people. The guest of honor was the Rector of the university, who is a former Fulbright LASPAU Scholar. CDA Marcos Mandojana and PAO Kristin Haworth, who have just arrived in Costa Rica, participated in this activity and this was their first public activity. After the ceremony, there was an exhibition of photographs that tell some stories of Fulbright in Costa Rica. View photos from the alumni association event here.

The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) celebrates 75 years of the Fulbright Program and 70 years of the commission in 2021.

Fulbright Pakistan Launches Fulbright Talks Season 2

To mark the 75 years of the Fulbright Program and 70 years of the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), season 2 of the Fulbright Talks has been launched – featuring exceptional alumni and their achievements. Fulbright alumni are blazing new paths in diverse fields and contributing to the socio-economic development of Pakistan. The twenty-two-part video series releases weekly, highlighting alumni’s work and research in education, health, energy, human rights, climate change, entrepreneurship, and the arts.

Link to the videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaW9ggcwoYKbbbrE5arVkXDOKzMAfnvpO 

A Pakistani man and woman standing next other with their arms crossed.
Dr. Izza Aftab (left) and Dr. Mohsen Ali (right.)

Alums Bring Home Prestigious Google Research Scholar Award

Fulbright alumni Dr. Mohsen Ali and Dr. Izza Aftab, both professors at the Information Technology University in Lahore, have bagged the coveted Google Research Scholar Award worth USD 60,000 – and they are the only Pakistanis to have won this year.

The 2021 Google Research Scholar Award supports early-career faculty who are doing impactful research. The winning project, for which Dr. Ali is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Dr. Izza is the co-PI, is titled ‘Is Economics from Afar Domain?’. It falls under the category of Machine Perception and involves designing interpretable machine learning algorithms to predict economic and development indicators of a region from satellite generalizable imagery and geo-spatial datasets.

Grid of 14 headshots of Fulbrighters who have been appointed vice chancellors in Pakistan.
The 14 Pakistani Fulbright alumni who have been appointed as vice chancellors.

14 Fulbright Alumni Appointed Vice Chancellors 

The Pakistani Fulbright alumni community represents a diverse and dynamic pool of professionals working in the field of higher education. 14 Fulbright scholars have been appointed as vice chancellors of leading public and private universities across Pakistan. As VCs, they are developing centers of excellence for imparting higher education, introducing diverse academic programs, and providing quality education and research opportunities to address global challenges.

Grapbic with the Pakistani and U.S. flag and the text: U.S.-Pakistan Agreement Expands the Number of Pakistani PhD Students Studying in the United States

U.S.-Pakistan Agreement Expands the Number of Pakistani PhD Students Studying in the U.S. on the Fulbright Program

In a step toward expanding U.S.-Pakistan educational cooperation, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support 125 Pakistanis to pursue PhD studies in the United States, 25 per year for five years. The MoU extends an agreement that funded 125 Fulbright-HEC PhD scholarships between 2016 and 2020. Acting HEC Chairman Dr. Shaista Sohail and USEFP Executive Director Ms. Rita Akhtar signed the MoU on June 16, through which the Government of Pakistan will contribute USD 5 million per year to the Fulbright-HEC PhD Program.

Computer-generated design of a building

As a symbol of binational cooperation, USEFP has been allotted one-acre land in Islamabad by the Government of Pakistan to build its first-ever head office. Located in the center of the capital, the head office will be accessible to students, Fulbright alumni, prospective applicants, and test-takers. Since 1950, the Commission has been operating from rented premises. We are pleased to unveil the exterior design of the office building on the occasion of the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary. The construction of the building will tentatively commence in November 2021.

Fulbrighters Dr. Konstantinas Andrijauskas (left) and Dr. Austė Kiškienė (right) receive Fulbright certificates of completion from the Deputy Chief of MissionMarcus Micheli (center). December 13, 2019. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy in Lithuania.
Fulbrighters Dr. Konstantinas Andrijauskas (left) and Dr. Austė Kiškienė (right) receive Fulbright certificates of completion from the Deputy Chief of MissionMarcus Micheli (center). December 13, 2019. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy in Lithuania. See the bottom of this article for more photos from the Fulbright Program in Lithuania.

Lithuania joined countries around the world in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. The U.S.-Lithuania Fulbright Program began in 1992 and has funded the exchange of approximately 500 Lithuanian and U.S. citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Lithuania congratulates all Fulbright alumni in Lithuania and the United States on this important milestone of educational and cultural exchange.  

To celebrate the Fulbright 75th anniversary, Lithuania presented: 

● A reception for Fulbright alumni and grantees. See the Facebook post about the event here.

● A press release: “The Fulbright Program – Celebrating 75 years of Global Impact.”

● A photo collage/video of Lithuanian and U.S. Fulbright alumni with their printed books and publications resulting from their Fulbright exchange: https://www.facebook.com/222708185581/videos/155047633313876  ; https://www.facebook.com/vilnius.usembassy/photos/a.10151435546310582/10165492417540582/?type=1&theater

● A broadcast interview with Lithuanian National Television channel (LRT) (in Lithuanian-language) with the first Lithuanian Fulbrighter (Dr. Egidijus Aleksandravicius) and a current U.S. Fulbrighter in Lithuania (Jonas Kulikauskas) about the Fulbright program’s impact. Fulbright alumna Zivile Raskauskaite (Foreign News Editor at LRT) helped to set up this interview.

● An English-language webinar co-hosted by the U.S.-LT Alumni Association in Lithuania and the Finnish ASLA-Fulbright Alumni Association in acknowledgement of international Fulbright alumni collaboration called, “Building international alumni communities for support and resilience.”

● The first episode of the podcast series “75.30” (in English) with Fulbright alumna Auste Valinciute. The podcast will be published as soon as the editing will be finished.

Photo of a TV recording studio with Fulbright alumni.
APAO Caitlin Nettleton and Dr. Auste Valinciute at Mazvydo National Library recording studio.
Two Fulbrighters, both men in suits, holding small Lithuanian and American flags
Dr. Aurimas Švedas (Fulbright Scholar 2015-2016 at Stanford University) and Dr. Saulius Grybkauskas (Fulbright Scholar 2012-2013 at Stanford University) celebrate 25th anniversary of the U.S.-Lithuania academic exchanges. Vilnius, Lithuania, 2017. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy in Lithuania.
Group of Lithuanian, American, and Finnish Fulbright alumni
Lithuanian, American and Finnish Fulbright alumni and grantees joined their first meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius to explore opportunities for alumni collaboration. December 13, 2019. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy in Lithuania. 
Photo of the Vilnius Cathedral taken by a Fulbrighter
One of the winners of the 2021 U.S. Embassy in Lithuania PAS photography contest – best Vilnius cityscape: Petras Staselis, Vilnius Cathedral  
Photo of the Lithuanian landscape taken by a Fulbrighter
One of the winners of the 2021 U.S. Embassy in Lithuania PAS photography contest – best Lithuania landscape: Andrius Ignotas
Photo of winter on the Neris River taken by a Fulbrighter
One of the winners of the 2021 U.S. Embassy in Lithuania PAS photography contest – miscellaneous: Jonathan Ammerman, Winter on the Neris River 
Old Town in Lithuania, taken by a Fulbrighter
One of the winners of the 2021 U.S. Embassy in Lithuania PAS photography contest: Crystal Rodgers – Old Town  
Promotional flier for Fulbright Day: Ghana - Preservation and Innovation in Visual Art and Music. Panelist headshots are on the side in front of a stylized brushstroke background.

Fulbright Day Ghana: Preservation and Innovation in Visual Art and Music is a roundtable that will explore contemporary developments in the arts in Ghana and their growing influence on the global stage. The 90-minute program brings into conversation Ghanaian artists and organizers who are contributing to cultural and social trends so to spark a meaningful conversation about social and cultural connections between Ghana and the United States. Each panelist brings their unique perspective on topics including legacies of slavery, equality in the post-colonial era, music preservation, and creative processes in traditional and urban music. 

Panelists include Judith Opoku-Boateng, Director of the J.H. Kwabena Nketia Archive at the University of Ghana, Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, renowned Ghanaian sculptor and activist, music conservationist and Fulbright Alumnus DJ Antonio Cesar, and Ghanaian TV and Radio personality Eddy Blay, Program Director of 107.9 FM. This esteemed event is moderated by Dr. Ebony Coletu, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, African Studies and English at Pennsylvania State University and Fulbright U.S. Scholar. Join us for this special occasion! The event will be held July 29th. RSVP via this link. We hope to see you there! 

Zoom login details are as follows:

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Note: This event will be held on Tuesday, July 27, from 9:00 a.m. KST (Korean Standard Time). Depending on your time zone, the event may be on Monday night – for example, those in the EDT time zone would tune into the event on Monday, July 26 at 8:00 p.m. Please plan accordingly.

Creating Connections Beyond Differences: Fulbright and the North Korean Defector Community

In celebration of the worldwide Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary, Fulbright Korea is pleased to host a webinar exploring the impact of the Fulbright Program among members and friends of the North Korean Defector (NKD) community.

This event will bring together a panel of current and former Fulbright NKD grantees who have pursued their studies in the U.S., as well as a panel of current and former U.S. grantees who have worked with the NKD community in Korea during their Fulbright experience. Panel discussions will be accompanied by a brief introduction to Fulbright Korea’s history and efforts toward creating connections between different cultures.

July 27th in Korea (July 26th in the U.S.) represents the end of the Korean War as it was on this date in 1953 that military representatives signed an agreement “…in the interest of stopping the Korean conflict, with its great toil of suffering and bloodshed on both sides, and with the objective of establishing an armistice which will insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved….” Thanks to the armistice agreement, the South and the North have been able to maintain peace on the Korean peninsula.

By creating connections beyond differences, the Fulbright Program seeks to continue the pursuit of peace as it supports understanding and collaboration with members and friends of the NKD community.

Date & Time

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 – 9:00-10:30 AM (KST)
Monday, July 26th, 2021 – 8:00-9:30 PM (EDT)

The event will be in English and streamed through Zoom. Please register for the webinar here (https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JV-pv4AoSgOqARWJL_17fQ).

Visit Fulbright Korea’s official website: https://www.fulbright.or.kr/

Narrating the Stories of the Syrian Diaspora

Hiba Dlewati 
Film and television producer and writer 
2015 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow to Jordan, Turkey, and Sweden 

A woman standing on a hill. She is turned to the camera; in the background are several trees and the outline of mountains.

Hiba Dlewati was born in Flint, Michigan, and grew up in Damascus, Syria. She was a student at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Damascus when the Syrian conflict broke out. As the war escalated, Dlewati and her family moved back to the United States, where she pursued a degree in communications and international relations at the University of Michigan-Flint. After seeing the devastating impact of the war, Dlewati decided to focus on sharing the personal stories of those affected by political upheaval. Over the years, she has covered the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis from ten countries, working as a multimedia journalist and producer with online, TV, and documentary filmmaking teams across the Middle East and Europe. 

While still in college, she worked with Women Under Siege to document sexual and gender-based violence in areas of conflict, conducting and translating interviews at the Turkish-Syrian border. After graduating, she spent the summer teaching English to Syrian students in Urfa, Turkey. Dlewati then moved to Istanbul, where she worked as a local freelance producer for publications including NPR, The Daily Telegraph, and ABC News Australia.  

Hiba Dlewati (left) walks with a group of Syrian men, women, and children from war-torn Kobani as they trek to the Serbia-Hungary border after hours of walking in the baking sun.
Hiba Dlewati (left) walks with a group of Syrian men, women, and children from war-torn Kobani as they trek to the Serbia-Hungary border after hours of walking in the baking sun. They carry as little as possible: documents, cash, food, water and sleeping bags. (Credit: Sophia Jones/Huffington Post)

In the summer of 2015, Dlewati traveled from Turkey to Germany with Syrians seeking asylum in Europe for a WorldPost multimedia project, “A Thousand Miles in Their Shoes.” Reflecting on this journey, she told Huffington Post Middle East, “I honestly wish I were still there. The route may be changing, but more people are bound to keep trying to make it to Europe as long as the root causes pushing them to leave are not changing. And all these people have stories. They are not just numbers.” 

As the conflict in Syria intensified, more than half of the Syrian population was displaced. Determined to find a way to tell their stories, Hiba worked as a Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow, traveling throughout Jordan, Turkey, and Sweden to share nuanced and underreported stories from the Syrian diaspora. The partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society brings together new digital media tools and platforms to share personal narratives with global audiences to “expand our knowledge of pressing issues and build lasting connections between Americans and citizens of other countries.” By documenting their hopes, fears, and dreams, Dlewati was able to “share snapshots of the Syrian diaspora’s everyday realities, expressing the frustrations and triumphs of a people without a place, or perhaps, a people of many places.” 

Woman standing at a podium
Hiba Dlewati, 2015 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow, speaking at a Fulbright-National Geographic event.

Her in-depth stories on the National Geographic Society Newsroom paint vivid portraits of the resilient men, women, and children of the Syrian diaspora: exploring sports, music, education, immigration and trauma. Locals and refugees who were brought together by a Jordanian skatepark; displaced Syrian women who launched an entrepreneurship initiative in Jordan; the despair of restrictive borders in Turkey; testimonies from survivors of torture and gas attacks; an inspiring account of asylum-seeking restaurant owners in Sweden; and many more.  

While completing her Fulbright, Dlewati joined Parched, a National Geographic documentary series on the intersection of climate change, displacement, and conflictShe also worked on the documentary film Sky and Groundresearching and casting migrants who were on their journey from Aleppo, Syria to Berlin, Germany. 

Dlewati reflects on her Fulbright experience: “My Fulbright experience impacted me beyond my career. It gave me the space and confidence to pursue a cause and project I was passionate about, something that I carry with me to this day.” 

After completing her Fulbright, Dlewati spent a year as the Beirut-based deputy managing editor of Syria Deeply, a website dedicated to in-depth coverage of the Syrian conflict. There, she specialized in covering the effect of foreign intervention and proxy powers on the Syrian war, the state of public health during the conflict, war economy, and truces.   

Dlewati then returned to the United States to earn a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism (CJS). She was selected for a third semester documentary program, where she co-directed, produced, and edited the short documentary Mi Isla, about a Puerto Rican teenage boxer displaced by Hurricane Maria, and his journey between the island and New York. Mi Isla premiered at the Harlem International Film Festival, and screened at the Enfoque International Film Festival and the Seattle Latino Film Festival.  

After graduating from CJS, Dlewati worked as an Overseas Press Club Fellow at AP Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon, where she reported stories on Lebanese politics, trade, agriculture, and the Syrian conflict. She also completed a fellowship with Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar, where she edited the award-winning film, Sons of Jerusalem, which focuses on Palestinian youth detention and forced displacement in East Jerusalem as told through the story of one family. Dlewati later spent time in the field as an International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Fellow covering sexual health education and women’s reproductive health and rights in El Salvador. Building off her work from the field, Dlewati completed a communications consultancy on migration and displacement for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Dlewati has spent the past year at Sesame Workshop, working as an associate producer of Ahlan Simsim, an original Arabic language TV program and part of a groundbreaking humanitarian initiative between Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). While at Sesame Workshop, Dlewati worked on seasons three, four, and five of the award-winning show, which centers on the early childhood development needs of displaced children and their host communities through socioemotional learning, numeracy, and literacy.  

In summer 2021, Dlewati is focusing on obtaining her certification as a yoga teacher, which she hopes to use with marginalized communities and survivors of trauma.