Fulbright Mongolia logo

Observing the Fulbright Program’s 75th Anniversary, along with Fulbright alumni and partners, the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia celebrated the anniversary with various virtual activities. Closing the year-long celebration, Fulbright Mongolia highlighted their amazing alumni and partners and their contributions to foster mutual understanding between the United States and Mongolia, share knowledge across communities, and improve lives around the world.

The Fulbright Program started in Mongolia with the very first Mongolian Fulbright Visiting Scholar traveling to the U.S. in 1994 and the first Mongolian Fulbright Foreign Student traveling to the U.S. in 1995, and since then the U.S. Department of State has supported and funded almost 400 two-way Fulbright exchanges between the two countries. In 2009, the Government of Mongolia initiated discussions to establish a bi-national Fulbright Foreign Student Program and sides signed the initial funding agreement on December 15, 2010. Since its inception, the program has enabled over 100 Mongolian young professionals to pursue graduate studies in the United States in various on-demand fields including education, environmental science,  public health, geology, mining engineering, and more.

The United States and Mongolia share a strong friendship and commitment to promote and protect human rights, democracy, good governance, sovereignty, peace, and prosperity through educational and professional exchange programs and alumni engagement.

To meet the alumni and join the celebration, check out Fulbright Mongolia’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Six people standing in front, some in traditional Saudi Arabian wear. Two people stand in the back on a staircase.

Mission Saudi Arabia commemorated the Fulbright 75th anniversary though a series of engagements at the Embassy and consulates. PAS Riyadh organized a Fulbright reception, where CDA Martina Strong hosted Fulbright alumni who had notable research achievements and collaborate with PAS Riyadh on alumni engagements and Fulbright programs implementation at local institutions. PAS Riyadh also organized media outreach through a TV interview for PAO Melissa Clegg-Tripp with local Saudi TV channel El-Ekhbariya to discuss the Fulbright program’s history and recruitment. PAS Riyadh also highlighted Fulbright alumni through a video shared on the Mission’s social media accounts.

The U.S. Consulate Dhahran hosted an alumni reception for Eastern Province alumni to celebrate the history of positive impact of Fulbright programs on the lives of individuals and communities. The event allowed alumni to reconnect and share experiences of how the program influenced their individual lives. The consulate presented a video showcasing the history of the program since its inception in 1946 and its impact on people from diverse backgrounds, including researchers, scientists, professionals, teachers, artists, and community leaders. During the reception, one of Dhahran’s Fulbright Visiting Scholars gave remarks and shared how his experience in the program shaped his future and continues to inspire future generations of students.

Black and white photo of person with sunglasses with white text overlaid. Promotional graphic for Fulbright Day: Poland

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program, Fulbright Poland presents a tribute concert honoring the life and memory of pianist and Fulbright Poland alumna Pamela Howland (1956-2021). Renowned musicians and Fulbright alumni, Stan Breckenridge and Karol Radziwonowicz, will join hands to pay tribute to Pam and her lifelong work of making cross-cultural connections, values that lie at the core of the Fulbright Program. Among others, you will hear Stan’s musical arrangements. He used to perform with Pam, while Karol’s Chopin interpretations will bring you closer to Pam’s beloved Polish composer.

To continue Pam’s work of connecting people and cultures through music, this concert inaugurates the creation of the Pam Howland Fund for Cross-Cultural Musical Connections.

Watch the concert here.

Find more information about the concert and the Fund here.

Combining Language Skills and Satellites to Break the Story of the Year

Megha Rajagopalan
Journalist
2010 Fulbright U.S. Student to China

Person standing against wall, smiling and with arms crossed, in a black dress with quarter sleeves

In a series of stories published in 2020, Megha Rajagopalan harnessed geospatial technology and old-fashioned reporting to expose the scale of the internment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Province. For this piece of groundbreaking journalism Rajagopalan, along with her BuzzFeed News colleagues Alison Killing and Christo Buschek, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. She became one of 89 Fulbright alumni who have won a total of 95 Pulitzer Prizes.

Rajagopalan previously reported on the links between Facebook and religious violence in Sri Lanka, for which she won a Mirror Award in 2019. She is also the recipient of the Asia 21 Young Leader Award (2019) and the Human Rights Press Award (2018). In her spare time, she volunteers as a career mentor for the Coalition for Women in Journalism and Report For America.

Rajagopalan’s work has been translated into 7 languages, read in classrooms at Columbia and New York Universities, and anthologized in 2018’s What Future: The Year’s Best Writing on What’s Next for People, Technology, and the Planet. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME, WIRED, CNN.com, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

Rajagopalan, who speaks Tamil and Mandarin Chinese, says she was inspired by her time living and working in China. As a Fulbright U.S. Student in Beijing, she conducted research on the Chinese news media. This experience assisted her during her first job in international reporting at Reuters in Beijing, allowing her to better understand some of the major issues in China and to develop new sources.

While on her Fulbright in China, she received a Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award (CLEA), which enabled her to undertake Chinese language immersion at the Inter-University Program at Tsinghua University, strengthening her language skills to the point that she could carry out interviews and consume Chinese news. She also had the chance to meet and learn from accomplished Chinese journalists and scholars whose knowledge and advice helped to shape her career path. 

Rajagopalan has reported from 23 countries in Asia and the Middle East on stories ranging from the North Korean nuclear crisis to the peace process in Afghanistan. She has covered stories across the region from the Philippines to North Korea, with her recent work focusing on technology and human rights. As a staff correspondent for BuzzFeed News for five years, she was previously based in China, Thailand, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Prior to her time at BuzzFeed, she worked as a political correspondent for Reuters in China, where she reported on diplomacy and security. She was previously a research fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute in Washington, D.C., and an intern at ProPublica, reporting on digital privacy, security and freedom.

Rajagopalan, born to parents from India, was raised in Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland. She is grateful for her supportive family, but she understands the importance of getting outside of one’s comfort zone. To that end, she provides some advice for students considering going on an international exchange program like Fulbright stating, “I would encourage [students] to acquire language skills if they can because that’s a great thing to spend time on in college … Also, keep an open mind and try not to spend all your time with your American friends.”

The Fulbright Program congratulates Megha Rajagopalan on her 2021 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and salutes her for shining a light on stories that offer readers a chance to be better informed about the world that we all share.

Promotional graphic for Fulbright Day: France

This event has been postponed and will be rescheduled in 2022.

After COP26, how can we be a part of the solution to climate change? Join Fulbright France alumni experts, Columbia University researchers and Institute for Ideas and Imagination artists in an interactive exchange of ideas. The event, which is in English, will be held in person and also livestreamed.

Fulbright alumni panelists and artists:

  1. Raphaël Pouyé, Climate Activist at Democratic Society (2003 Fulbright Foreign Student)
  2. Marta Torre-Schaub, Professor of Environmental Law at Université Paris 1 (2004 Fulbright Foreign Student)
  3. Marie Oppert, Singer and Actress, (2015 Fulbright Foreign Student)

December 10, 19:00 CET / 13:00 EST
Columbia Global Centre, Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris

Fighting Against Invisibility in Indigenous Health Care

Victor Anthony Lopez-Carmen
Indigenous Health Advocate
2017 Fulbright U.S. Student to Australia

Person wearing a tan polo with a design standing in front of a backdrop of people dressed in traditional cultural clothing

Victor Lopez-Carmen is all too aware of the disparities Indigenous Americans encounter in the U.S. healthcare system – as a child he suffered third-degree burns that could only be treated at a hospital many miles away from his village. As he told The Harvard Gazette: “I know that invisibility in the field of health care can be life or death for my people.” His decision to become a doctor is rooted in his desire to challenge that invisibility and ensure that Indigenous Americans have equal access to health care. Lopez-Carmen is a member of both the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Pascua Yaqui Nation. He was raised among a passionate community of activists who have dedicated their lives to preserving their cultures and languages, and to raising awareness of the vast inequities many Indigenous communities face.

As an undergraduate student at Ithaca College, Lopez-Carmen was a vocal activist for increased Native American representation on campus. His leadership among the student body resulted in the establishment of a Native American Studies program at the college.

In 2018, Lopez-Carmen was selected for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program – the first recipient of a Fulbright grant from his tribal nation. His Fulbright took him to Western Sydney University in Australia, where he completed a master’s in public health with high honors. His research focused on Indigenous health equality and increasing culturally sensitive care for Aboriginal youth and their families.

The scope of Lopez-Carmen’s accomplishments as a Fulbrighter extended well beyond his academic achievements. He leveraged his time in Australia to connect with Indigenous community leaders, key decision makers, and policy makers in higher education and the private sector to maximize the impact of his research. He received an award from the Lois Roth Endowment in 2018 to extend the scope of his research to the Lokono-Arawak Tribe in Barbados and spoke at a TEDx event about the philosophy behind the Seventh Generation Earth Ethic, the Indigenous idea of making environmental decisions in accordance with how those decisions will impact the land for the next seven generations.

Since 2018, Lopez-Carmen has also served on the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus (UNGIYC) as a representative of his tribal nation. The UNGIYC works with policy makers and organizations to participate in international decision-making processes and to raise awareness of the issues that will impact their lives, especially regarding the effects of climate change on Indigenous communities.

Lopez-Carmen’s goal has always remained to become a doctor and provide his community with comprehensive physical and spiritual healthcare. When the onset of COVID-19 emphasized the scarcity of proper resources, guidance, and care for Native communities in the U.S., he raised thousands of dollars in relief funds for Native communities and founded Translations 4 Our Nations, an initiative to translate critical COVID-19 information into Indigenous languages. Within the first six months of the pandemic, his organization had recruited 140 translators from around the world with experience in at least 100 languages.

Lopez-Carmen is currently in his third year at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and is the first member of his tribal nation to attend medical school. He is co-president of the HMS Native American Health Organization and has collaborated with faculty and students to make HMS and the U.S. healthcare system a more inclusive place by developing modules on Indigenous health for the HMS curriculum and working with faculty to create an Indigenous youth pipeline to the medical school. Earlier in 2021, he was recognized for his advocacy for Indigenous rights and health and his efforts to increase inclusivity in medical education by becoming the first Indigenous American to be awarded the national Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship. 

Giving Back Beyond the Laboratory

Nataly Naser Al Deen
Cancer Researcher and
Pink Steps Founder
2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Lebanon

Person in a lab wearing a white lab coat and blue gloves, smiling at the camera as they hold a lab tool

Nataly Naser Al Deen has dedicated herself to the fight against cancer, both as a leading researcher and as the founder of an NGO that encourages fitness for breast cancer survivors. A three-time recipient of U.S. Department of State-funded scholarships, she is currently conducting postdoctoral cancer research at the Ding Lab at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Naser Al Deen is also an outspoken advocate for women in STEM and a proponent of cultural exchange and study abroad for personal and academic growth. She credits her scholarships for helping her to become the woman and researcher she is today.

Naser Al Deen first found her passion for cancer research while studying as a Lebanese student at the American University in Cairo. Since childhood, she has been fascinated by science and medicine, looking up to her family members in the medical profession. “I was impressed by their work and wanted to impact the medical and research field myself,” she said. Her studies, funded by the U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, introduced her to medical research, and inspired her to pursue it as a career.  She was selected in 2014 for a Fulbright Foreign Student grant, which allowed her to earn her M.Sc. in tumor biology from Georgetown University Medical Center and join a research team at Lombardi Cancer Center testing the efficacy of a treatment for triple negative breast cancer. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the American University of Beirut.

While studying at Georgetown, Naser Al Deen learned that her cousin had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This inspired her to start what eventually became the NGO, Pink Steps. “Through my experiences in the U.S., I learned the importance of providing for the community, especially when it comes to cancer prevention and lifestyle changes,” says Naser Al Deen. Pink Steps empowers women cancer survivors by offering a healthier lifestyle and better quality of life. Funded by a Fulbright Alumni Community Action Grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Pink Steps encourages increased fitness levels in cancer survivors through daily walks monitored by pedometers. Pink Steps is Naser Al Deen’s way of effecting immediate change in her community while working steadfastly in the laboratory to contribute to a cure for the disease.

Before she became a cancer researcher and the face of young women scientists in Lebanon, Naser Al Deen studied abroad in Hawaii for a year through the U.S. Department of State-funded Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Program. She credits her experience studying at an American high school for turning her into an outspoken, independent woman. And since that first exchange opportunity, she has never missed a chance to build her skills, nourish her passions, and spread awareness through collaboration with people from all over the world. Reflecting on what she regards as her gratitude and the responsibility she feels to her community, Naser Al Deen said “being awarded various scholarships that fully supported all of my higher education journey thus far has been my greatest driving force for me to achieve more and give back to my community and the research and scientific fields.” 

Back

Leila Cobo

Connecting Cultures through Music

Leila Cobo
Musician, Journalist, and Novelist
1988 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia

A person leaning on a table with arms bent at the elbow, looking into the camera

Leila Cobo is a classically trained concert pianist, a novelist, and perhaps her country’s preeminent journalist focusing on Latin Music. As Latin Music has increasingly taken over the U.S. charts, Cobo has been there to document its meteoric rise. Along the way she has worked with artists such as Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Maluma, Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee, and Rosalía; has published two award-winning novels; and was named the inaugural “Leading Latin Lady” by the Latin Grammys in 2017. Prior to these impressive accomplishments, Cobo was a 1988 Fulbright Foreign Student, pursuing a master’s degree in communication and media studies at the University of Southern California.

The multi-talented Cobo was born in Cali, Colombia and has degrees in journalism from Bogotá’s Universidad Javeriana and piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, in addition to her master’s degree from USC. Cobo is currently Billboard’s VP of Latin music and is known as one of the world’s leading experts in Latin music. In this role, she’s been able to build media coverage of Latin music in the United States, and she made Billboard the first, and only, English-language media that covers Latin music in-depth. Prior to her Fulbright grant, Cobo performed extensively in Colombia, with orchestras including Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, Orquesta Sinfónica del Valle, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Antioquia. Cobo believes that “music is far more than entertainment; it’s an essential ingredient for the soul and as essential as humanity itself.”

In addition to her musical pursuits and accomplishments, Cobo is an accomplished author focusing on the Colombian-American experience. Tell Me Something True, Cobo’s debut novel about a Colombian-American woman who uncovers the truth about her deceased mother’s past, won the National Latino Book Award. Cobo’s second novel, The Second Time We Met, features an adopted Colombian-American boy seeking more information about his biological mother in Bogotá. The novel won the Latino Book Award for Best Popular Fiction. Cobo also writes non-fiction, penning a biography on Mexican-American songwriter and artist Jenni Rivera, which was the top-selling Spanish language book in the United States for more than two months in 2013. Her most recent book, Decoding “Despacito:” An Oral History of Latin Music was featured in the New York Times.

Woven throughout Cobo’s remarkable career is a desire to have an impact on Latin music and culture within her native region, in the United States, and across the world. Cobo enthusiastically credits Fulbright with making her “a citizen of the world and part of a global community of excellence and leadership…[being a Fulbrighter] has indelibly shaped my career and opened countless doors.” Through her work, Cobo has connected cultures to promote mutual understanding, underscoring the tremendous impact her Fulbright experience has had on her life.

Two people standing back to back wearing graduation regalia and holding diplomas
Hassane Laouali, 2019 Fulbright Foreign Student from Niger (left), and Monyneath Reth, 2019 Fulbright Foreign Student from Cambodia (right), celebrate their graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Through research, teaching, and host country engagement, Fulbrighters work to empower communities and forge mutual understanding. Throughout 2021, we have shared the impact that Fulbrighters and alumni have made through the first 75 years of the program’s history. As the end of the anniversary year approaches, we are taking a moment to imagine how Fulbright will grow, adapt, and inspire in the years to come. 

What will the next 75 years bring? Through Big Talk, a uniquely Fulbright invention by a program alum that “facilitates meaningful connections in life,” Fulbright 75th Legacy Alumni Ambassadors answer big questions to reflect on their Fulbright experiences and imagine the future of the Program. This group, which includes scientists, teachers, changemakers, and young leaders, discusses how the Fulbright Program will meet a complex and changing world.

What is Big Talk?

Headshot of person sitting in a wooden chair

Big Talk is a communication approach that facilitates meaningful connections in life—with family, friends, coworkers, classmates, teammates, strangers, and even oneself—by skipping small talk to ask more open-ended and thought-provoking questions. In turn, Big Talk elicits conversations that help people build empathetic relationships and share their life stories.

Pictured here is Big Talk creator Kalina Silverman, 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student to Singapore and 2019 Alumni Ambassador.

Kalina Silverman started Big Talk as a social experiment and video series while studying broadcast journalism at Northwestern University. When she first arrived at Northwestern, she met new people each day, yet felt a sense of loneliness and disconnection, which inspired her to rethink the way that people communicate with each other. Silverman continued to develop her Big Talk project through her 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to Singapore, aptly titled: “How to use Big Talk to establish empathy across cultures.”

The Future of Fulbright with Big Talk: Q&A

We asked Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors to respond to several Big Talk questions about Fulbright and its future. See their responses below.

If you could go back, what advice would you give to yourself before beginning your Fulbright?

“Take every opportunity to explore and learn as much as you can in your host country. It’s easy to pass on an opportunity thinking that there’s still time. One year flies by really quickly and before you know it, it’s over.” – Kristine Lin, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Korea

“My best advice would be to stay flexible! Even when we think we have everything sorted out, things change. To be successful as a Fulbrighter, we need to be open to embracing the changes that crop up. More often than not, these changes turn out to be terrific opportunities. So stay open to the unexpected!” – Kendall Cotton Bronk, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Greece

“Breathe. There are many life decisions that will need to be made, some of which relate to your research and other decisions that may seem to take you further away from your inquiry/scholarship/artistic practices. Don’t worry–even the smallest challenges will enrich your life and perspective as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar working in a non-U.S. context.” – Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico

“Learn as much of the local language as possible, spend as much time among the people as possible, gain as many new experiences as possible, strive for new and different interactions. Try to live like a local!” – Jeffrey Withey, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to India

“Be bold & proactive! Fulbright is a remarkable opportunity to represent the United States while also furthering your own work and ambitions for a more peaceful and prosperous world. Take advantage of every opportunity because many are once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and you can always sleep or rest more once you return!” – David Bernstein, Fulbright U.S. Student to Luxembourg

“Don’t overthink it!  Some of my best interactions were just talking about things that are second-nature to me…things I do day-in and day-out that didn’t require a lot of formality or prepping to share with my German counterparts.” – Leigh Lassiter-Counts, Fulbright International Education Administrator to Germany

How do you envision Fulbright in 75 years?

“Part of me hopes that in 75 years, we won’t need Fulbright.  That all people will be able to, and encouraged to, explore cultures and academies of learning over the world; and that the threat of war between nations – if nations still exist – is non-existent.  If we do not live in that kind of world in 75 years, then I envision Fulbright guiding us towards it.” – Vince Redhouse, Fulbright U.S. Student to Australia

“I envision Fulbright having a deeper reach. While remaining prestigious, Fulbright will offer more awards designed specifically for HBCUs, community colleges, and other underrepresented groups. There will be more diversity.” – Suzanne LaVenture, Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) to Russia

“I envision Fulbright to be even more expansive – offering more opportunities to students, artists, etc. around the world for cultural exchange. I really hope that it can continue to grow – the opportunities that Fulbright provides are incredibly invaluable. It is my highest hope that even more people will be able to experience what Fulbright has to offer.” – Kristine Lin, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Korea

“I envision it to be a platform of diverse voices, where we leverage our position in making better policies and advocating for social causes, while promoting diplomacy. I see Fulbright becoming a flag bearer in finding solutions for the environment and living with changing climate, where we develop ideas and technology to support us.”- Syeda Sahar Naqvi, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Kosovo

What life lessons has Fulbright taught you?

“Fulbright has really helped illustrate that people around the globe are more alike than they are different.  It has helped me appreciate the nuance between cultures and individuals while providing the opportunity to meet new friends and colleagues.” – Drew Ippoliti, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Korea and Fulbright U.S. Student to China

“Through my time as a Fulbrighter, I’ve learned to take a more critical look at my own culture. Cultural practices that I took for granted before my Fulbright, are now up for constant re-evaluation after.” – Kendall Cotton Bronk, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Greece

“To be humble and uncertain about what I might “naturally” consider “normal” or “appropriate” and to constantly ask myself how I might see very simple to very complex phenomena from different vantage points.” – Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico

“We are all fundamentally the same, despite cultural differences. Everyone wants safety, health, and happiness for themselves and their friends and family members. Differences in perspective and culture can lead to profound advances in knowledge when there is free and open exchange of ideas and experiences.”- Jeffrey Withey, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to India

“Fulbright has taught me many lessons; however, three key lessons that have stayed with me and will always find their way into my career as an orthopaedic surgeon include: 1) empathy; 2) drive to be bold and always be better; and 3) compromise for the greater good.”- David Bernstein, Fulbright U.S. Student to Luxembourg

How did Fulbright make you brave?

“I learned to sing in languages I could not speak, in a tonal system I did not understand, and in a place I had never been. But slowly and surely, the songs settled on my heart and the field became home. Fulbright taught me that bravery is a daily act, and as we practice, our ability to be courageous grows.” – Geetha Somayajula, Fulbright U.S. Student to India

“I have learned that even when my family home runs out of water, is overrun by insects I don’t recognize swarming on the bed; when strikes block transportation and commerce–there’s always a way to be creative, to be in community, to persist, and thrive.  I have learned to be brave with being out of control of things in my environment and to embrace precarity.” – Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Mexico

“Fulbright taught me the value of putting myself out there to form new relationships, even when the cultural divide in terms of life experience and world view may seem wide.” – Courtney Welton-Mitchell, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Malaysia

“Fulbright definitely gave me the courage to share and launch some new ideas on my campus, which have turned out to be really meaningful for our students. There’s something about getting a Fulbright that just puts a little wind in your sails – I felt like I had a leg to stand on, and that I had a more receptive audience in the faculty because I’d been selected for such a prestigious academic award. It truly changed my professional trajectory. –  Leigh Lassiter-Counts, Fulbright International Education Administrator to Germany

“I went to a tiny country, 9,000 miles away from home where I knew nobody…By the end of nine months, I had achieved more than my wildest dreams toward my Fulbright project goals.”- Annette Jackson, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Eswatini

Why does Fulbright matter to you?

“Fulbright programs have not only impacted me personally, but have helped internationalize my campus and bring the world to our students. I believe that if Fulbright had a budget as big as the military’s, we might not need a military!” – Suzanne LaVenture, Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) to Russia

“It opened my world and gave me the confidence to expect more from myself, and it continues to do those things for others.” – Vince Redhouse, Fulbright U.S. Student to Australia

“If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us it is how we are all interconnected on the planet and how only looking out for ourselves cannot work. Isolationism has never been a successful strategy and all the more so today. If we are all interconnected, we desperately need to understand each other…Fulbright is an incredible exchange program, which helps both Americans and non-Americans bridge the cultural divides.” – Susan Sharfstein, Fulbright Global Scholar to Australia and Ireland

“Fulbright is a mechanism to share and learn.  The ability to travel to teach, teach, do research and technology transfer may be unavailable through other means for those who are not financially able to fund themselves. Through Fulbright, those who have skills and are willing to share are matched with institutions in need of those skills. This is a definite winner for everyone involved. And clearly, it’s not just the research, the technology transfer, and the teaching. The Fulbrighter and the host country, institution, and people all learn about each other. When the Fulbrighter returns to the U.S. all her future students and colleagues will also be exposed to what she learned as a Fulbrighter. The dividends are endless.”- Annette Jackson, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Eswatini

Tell us about the one thing that you shared about yourself or your community during your Fulbright experience that added to the host community’s understanding of what it means to be “American.”

“As a community college administrator, I spent a lot of time talking about the American concept of community colleges. The idea of higher education being available to everyone at any time in their life is quite a novel concept in many countries.” – Suzanne LaVenture, Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) to Russia

“I spent lots of time explaining the incredible diversity within the U.S. This was often appreciated and surprising to those I encountered in Malaysia.”- Courtney Welton-Mitchell, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Malaysia

“There is a lot of misunderstanding in other countries of what the U.S. is really like, largely based on depictions in the media or popular culture. I made it clear that the U.S. is not just full of rich white people- it is a very diverse country, with rich and poor, and people whose origins are from all over the world as well as an indigenous group that has been poorly treated for centuries. I gave insight into American history and why things today are how they are.”- Jeffrey Withey, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to India

“During my Fulbright year in London, we discussed, in the classroom and in various workshops, how the British and Americans use different vocabularies to talk about racial relationships. As an Asian American woman, I hope my presence enabled British students of color to feel represented, and inspired them both to examine exclusionary practices in our own times and to reevaluate Shakespeare as a gender-inclusive and anti-racist canon.” – Alexa Alice Joubin, Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the United Kingdom

“That being an American is not one thing, we come in all colors, faiths and backgrounds. There is no one America, but what unites us is our love for progress and innovation.” – Syeda Sahar Naqvi, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Kosovo

The Next 75 Years

The Fulbright Program’s impact is far-reaching and diverse. It shapes health, science, and technology; transforms communities; strengthens education; protects the planet; advances opportunity; strengthens HBCU institutions; celebrates the arts; highlights partner organizations and Fulbright Commissions; witnesses and builds history; advances public diplomacyinnovates solutions through technology and business, and champions international education.

We look forward to the next generation of Fulbrighters continuing to foster mutual understanding, share knowledge across communities, and improve lives around the world, one connection at a time.

A group of younger students with their teacher in the center. All are wearing masks.
Rachel Murphy (center back), 2020 Fulbright U.S. Student to Spain, on her last day of teaching 4th grade.