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.

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Kennedy Center at night

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Events

11.30.21

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program

November 30, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm ET

Thank you for watching the recorded livestream of the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary celebration broadcasted from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Be sure to join the conversation online using #Fulbright75. We hope you enjoy the show.

The Fulbright Program, celebrating its 75th anniversary throughout 2021, held a spectacular event on November 30 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. 

Alumni, friends, and supporters of the Fulbright Program joined us virtually to celebrate the accomplishments of the past 75 years and to look ahead to the exciting future of the U.S. government’s flagship program of educational and cultural exchange.

The event included personal stories and performances by some of our most extraordinary alumni, including recent participants and those who have had long and distinguished careers. The celebration highlighted the Fulbright Program’s impact in five important areas: the environment; education; public service; science, technology, and public health; and the arts.

Read more about the event and view more photos.

Featured Speakers

The Honorable Antony Blinken
United States Secretary of State
See the remarks.  Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, has helped shape U.S. foreign policy to ensure it protects U.S. interests and delivers results for the American people over three decades and three presidential administrations. He served as Deputy Secretary of State for President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, and before that, as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor. During the first term of…
Renée Fleming
1984 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany
Renée Fleming, one of the most celebrated sopranos in modern history, has expanded on her brilliant career performing in opera, concerts, recordings, theater, film, and at major public occasions, by becoming a leading advocate for research and broader application of discoveries at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience. As Artistic Advisor-at-Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she has spearheaded a collaboration with the…
Renee Fleming Headshot
Ruth J. Simmons
1967 Fulbright U.S. Student to France
See the remarks. Dr. Ruth Simmons is the president of Prairie View A&M University and a former president of Smith College and Brown University, with a lifelong passion for cross-cultural understanding and showcasing Black excellence in academia. When she was named president of Smith College in 1995, she became one of the first African American women to head a U.S. college or university and created…
Ruth Simmons
Lee Satterfield
Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
Lee Satterfield is Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), leading the State Department’s global efforts to engage individuals through academic, cultural, professional, sports, and youth exchanges. Previously, Assistant Secretary Satterfield was President and Chief Operating Officer at Meridian International Center, a non-profit center for diplomacy that strengthens engagement between the United States and the world. At Meridian she…
Douglas Emhoff
Second Gentleman of the United States
Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is a devoted father, experienced lawyer, and proud husband. Emhoff was a prominent entertainment lawyer for nearly 30 years. As Second Gentleman, he devotes his time to the causes of justice, equality, and human rights. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Matawan, New Jersey by his parents Mike and Barbara with his…
Paul Winfree
Chair, Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
See the remarks. Paul Winfree is Director of Economic Policy Studies, Acting Director of the Center for Data Analysis, and the Richard F. Aster Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. His research focuses on public finance and US economic history, especially the history and political economy of U.S. fiscal policy. He is author of a book on the evolution of economic and fiscal policy from colonial…
Paul Winfree headshot

Learn more about the program and Featured Fulbright Alumni


With a message from Congress

The United States Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, and its members have sustained that support for the past 75 years. Today, thanks to Congress, Fulbright continues to develop future leaders representing the talent and diversity of all U.S. states and U.S. territories, and of partner countries around the world.

  • Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont. 
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee, 13th District of California.
  • Congressman Tom Cole, 4th District of Oklahoma, 1977 Fulbright U.S. Student to the United Kingdom
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota.
  • Congressman John Sarbanes, 3rd District of Maryland, 1984 Fulbright U.S. Student to Greece.
  • Senator John Boozman, Arkansas.
  • Former Congresswoman Nita Lowey, 17th District of New York.

Read More


With Live Performances by

Sam Nester
2010 Fulbright Student from Australia
Sam Nester is a trumpet player, music educator, and “eco-composer.” He has performed at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the BAM Next Wave Festival, the Paris Opera Ballet, Wordless Music Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Center, and the Festival of New Trumpet Music. As a Fulbright student from Australia, he completed a master’s degree in Music…
Sam Nester
Alito Alessi
2009 Fulbright U.S. Specialist to Mexico
Alito Alessi is a dancer and choreographer who has changed the world of contemporary dance through his pioneering work with people with disabilities as the founder of DanceAbility International. Inspired by his mother, a wheelchair user, and his sister, who suffered from polio, Alessi developed an improvisational and inclusive dance methodology to promote artistic expression between people with and without disabilities. His journey towards inclusive dance began at the…
Alito Alessi

75 Years of Global Impact

75 Years of Fulbright Impact on the Arts

The Fulbright Program has supported many artists over its 75 year history.

Read about the featured alumni

75 Years of Fulbright Impact on Journalism

Fulbright journalists have been recognized with some of the highest honors across digital and traditional media.

Read about the featured alumni


Host

Jonathan Rabb
2012 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany
Jonathan Rabb is the founder and CEO of Watch The Yard, a digital platform for Black college culture. Rabb launched his career as a journalist and entrepreneur with his experience as a Fulbright Young Professional Journalist in Germany after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in German and international relations. His Fulbright award allowed him to research digital audience development and cross-platform…
Jonathan Rabb

The Fulbright Program was founded as a means of creating connections between the people of the United States and other countries, attaining mutual understanding, and establishing peaceful relations between nations. The Program has always been a key and impactful part of U.S. soft diplomacy. As such, several U.S. Presidents, Secretaries of State, Members of Congress, and foreign diplomats and leaders have commented on Fulbright’s impressive alumni and impact on communities both large and small. We are pleased to share the following list of statements made by U.S. and world leaders about the Fulbright Program. 

This Program is vitally important in widening the knowledge and technical ability of the peoples of the twelve participating countries.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman

Today it is vitally important that we and others detect and pursue the ways in which mutual and economic assistance the ways in which cultural and economic assistance will mean more to free world strength, stability, and solidarity than will military measures.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower 

This [Fulbright] program has been most important in bettering relations of the United States with other parts of the world.  It has been a major constructive step on the road toward peace.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy

….I think of the wonderful things about the (Fulbright) Program you represent is its contributions to the barriers of culture, events, religion, and ethics, having been broken down….

U.S. President James “Jimmy” Earl Carter, Jr.

There is a flickering spark in us all which, if struck at just the right age…can light the rest of our lives, elevating our ideals, deepening our tolerance, and sharpening our appetite for knowledge about the rest of the world. Educational and cultural exchanges, especially among our young, provide a perfect opportunity for this precious spark to grow, making us more sensitive and wiser international citizens through our careers.

U.S. President Ronald Wilson Reagan

For hundreds of thousands of scholars here and abroad, [the Fulbright Program] has cemented America’s mission as a nation that cares about and is engaged in the world community.

U.S. President Bill Clinton 

The Fulbright Program strives for excellence, with an emphasis on mutual understanding.  The program’s prestige among leaders in government, business, and education makes it unique.

The many exchanges made possible through the Fulbright Program have contributed to common understanding and common cause to defeat terrorism.

The Fulbright dialogue has enriched nations, helping us to learn about each other and from each other.

U.S. President George W. Bush

Fulbright has been a cornerstone of the United States’ engagement abroad […]. In 1946, the world looked very different than it does today, but the principles that the Fulbright Program was founded upon on still ring true. Fostering stronger relationships between peoples, communities and countries takes far more than government-to-government cooperation, it takes individuals working to find common ground.

U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary R. Clinton (2009-2013)

Today, every American studying abroad is an ambassador for our nation, an individual who represents the true nature of our people and the principles of freedom and democracy for which we stand. Similarly, every foreign student attending one of our universities represents an opportunity to enhance democracy in America and to strengthen the cause of freedom abroad. Our citizens learn from the different perspectives that foreign students bring to our classrooms. And when these students ultimately return to their home overseas, they have new friends that they have met and memories of America that they will never forget […]. We must work together to expand existing programs with proven records of success – One is the Fulbright Scholarship Program.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009)

….Fulbrighters have all carried with them a better understanding of cultures [in addition to] their own, and as a result, they serve as agents of change, they shape opinions, and they contribute to the advancement of both knowledge and international understanding.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell (2001-2005) 

The Fulbright Program is the cornerstone of our nation’s public diplomacy efforts.  Now more than ever, the efforts of people, individuals, and groups of citizens are essential in addressing the critical issues of our time.  From climate change to refugees and migration, to disability rights, Fulbright scholars are central to promoting cooperation on the many challenges that face nations around the world, and they represent accomplishments in so many fields.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State (2013-2017)

…I firmly believe that people-to-people contacts are what make the countries of the world a true international community.  The Fulbright Program has thus proved to be a blessing not only for generations of scholars but for our international relations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The Fulbright Exchange program is a model for the kind of dialogue among cultures and civilizations that the United Nations has been promoting around the world. Today, perhaps more than ever, international understanding is essential to world peace-understanding between faiths, between natis, between cultures.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annon

The Fulbright Program has had a positive and important impact on generations of young Spaniards and Americans.  If we are looking for ways to reinforce the transatlantic relationship this is something we must do more of.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana (1995-1999), 1966 Foreign Student from Spain 

I’m pleased to be a Fulbright alumna and am determined to promote the values and principles of this program and our joint endeavors in our countries around the world…

President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015-2020), 2002 Foreign Student from Croatia 

Those relationships, those friendships, the depth of understanding are really the grease that keeps the wheels of international understanding.

Tom Cole, U.S. Representative, Oklahoma; Fulbright U.S. Scholar to UK 1977-1978 

Fulbright has always been the flagship of U.S. public diplomacy because it has a very high profile internationally.  So, keeping it strong means we are going to be betting on the future of public diplomacy and support for that in the United States.

U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (Maryland), 1984 U.S. Student to Greece 

I saw first-hand the value of the Fulbright Program.  And it is a great investment for the United States and the people of the United States. [….] The Fulbright Program, in particular, allows for an exchange of people and ideas. And that is essential to our success.  [….] Let’s invest more up-front to try to prevent conflict in the first place, to try to strengthen understanding, and that’s what the Fulbright Program is all about.

U.S. Senator Chris van Hollen (Maryland) 

A Fulbright is an open window not only to public service, but to international comity.

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana, 1977-2013) 

While the world is full of beautiful places, only the most unique and spectacular earn the distinction of being named a national park. These parks have served as a source of inspiration, wonder, and research for Fulbrighters over the past 75 years. The national parks of the United States have been popular destinations for Fulbrighters to explore and work for decades. Fulbright has helped foster cultural and scholarly exchanges between the National Park Service (NPS) and national parks around the world, in an effort to ensure that the world’s natural heritage is protected. 

Fulbright’s close relationship with the NPS was strengthened this year with the announcement of the Fulbright-National Parks Partnership. The Fulbright Program and the NPS pledged to combine efforts, resources, and ideas to increase environmental and cultural awareness around the world through Fulbright exchanges.

As we celebrate the 105th anniversary of the National Park Service, we invite you to take a tour of the different parks Fulbrighters have visited or worked in, from the volcanic landscapes of Haleakalā in Hawaii, to Acadia, the crown jewel of Maine’s Atlantic coast.

If you have trouble viewing the StoryMap below, please click here for the full-sized version, which will open in a new tab on your browser.

The Fulbright experience has been life-changing for me. .. Fulbright changed my life. It opened my eyes .. It opened my heart and it opened my perception.

Pedro Castillo García, 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia

On August 3, 2021, the Fulbright Program, in collaboration with National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), hosted Rights and Representation: Alumni with Disabilities Reflect on Fulbright’s Global Impact. The panel discussion took place during the NCDE Joining Hands Symposium, and included four Fulbright alumni: Pedro Castillo García (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia), Inocencio Zandamela (2013 Fulbright Foreign Student from Mozambique), Adriana Pulido (2011 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia), and Uyanga Erdenbold (2007 Fulbright Foreign Student from Mongolia).

I used to be someone, I use canes and I use prosthesis as I was born with a condition without legs. I was the kind of person with a disability that when I saw another person with a prosthesis or a wheelchair, I would change the lane. I made my life’s endeavor to be disassociated with my disability. Most of my friends did not know I used prosthesis. I did not want people to know. I thought it would make me less of an artist. I thought it would make me less of what I am. The [2015 U.S. Disability Rights Fulbright Seminar] opened my eyes.

Pedro Castillo García, 2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia

Moderated by Mobility International USA’s CEO and co-founder, Susan Sygall, the event highlighted the work and achievements of the alumni.  The alumni reflected on the continued impact that their Fulbright experiences in the United States had on shaping their perspectives disability rights advocacy, and how they contribute in their home countries.

My experience from the Fulbright Program really gave me the skills and the knowledge to understand different communities and how they are working with their students and bring that kind of knowledge here to Mozambique and improve our deaf literacy here as well. To help them understand deaf rights and be fully part of the society.

Inocencio Zandamela, 2013 Fulbright Student from Mozambique

The Fulbright alumni discussed their Fulbright experience in the United States was influential in their work on disability issues, as well as in their post-Fulbright work to advance disability rights in their home countries. Attendees discovered how necessary disability advocacy is to ensure access and inclusion in all environments. The event concluded with a live Q&A with the audience members where Fulbright alumni elaborated on their experiences including their thoughts on disclosing their disability status as well as their continued work to promote access.

what Fulbright did for me was basically Fulbright freed me in the intellectual and the physical sense. .. In addition to a lot of life-changing things, one thing that happened to me was in America, I owned a key to my apartment for the first time. That is because before coming to America, I had never traveled on my own. I did not have independent mobility. I often traveled with a sibling, classmates or friend. Only in America I was given an opportunity to have the mobility training. I was able to come and go on my own.

Uyanga Erdenbold, 2007 Fulbright Student from Mongolia

Meet the Panel

Pedro Castillo García (2014 Fulbright Foreign Student from Colombia) – Pedro Castillo García is a writer and musician from Bogotá, Colombia. After completing his undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in Literature, Pedro’s first job was as a high school English teacher in one of Bogotá’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, through “Enseña por Colombia” (organization of the Teach for All/Teach for America global network). In the evenings, Pedro channeled his creativity into writing poetry, plays and songs.

In 2014, after a suggestion from a friend, Pedro applied for and received a Fulbright Foreign Student Program grant to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, where he pursued an M.F.A. program in Writing for the Screen & Stage. There, he had the chance to study the craft of play and screenwriting, as well as the history of musicals, under masterful instructors. Upon graduation in 2016, Pedro stayed for a year to teach and to work in the theatres of Chicag, assisting in great productions at the prestigious Goodman and Victory Gardens theatres; the latter in fact, did a small production of Pedro’s musical “Dorian” (a jazz adaptation of Wilde’s celebrated novel). After a year in OPT (Optional Practical Training), Pedro returned to his native Colombia with a universe of knowledge and experience ready to share and put to service.

Pedro’s first visit to the United States was at a young age to receive his first prosthesis, having been born without legs. He traveled there with his mother, Maria Luz García, whom Pedro cites as an important influence on his development as a young person with a disability exploring new passions in teaching, theatre and music.

Inocencio Zandamela (2013 Fulbright Student from Mozambique) – Inocencio Joao Raul Zandamela is from Maputo, Mozambique, a country on the eastern bank of Southern Africa. He describes himself as a Deaf person who is dedicated to developing the cultural identity and improving the quality of education for Mozambique’s deaf children and youth. His methods focus on teaching, capacity-building, psychology, counseling, sign language acquisition, and more.

Inocencio became a deaf person early in his childhood and attended mainstream schools throughout his life. As a deaf learner in these schools, Inocencio struggled due to the lack of access to accommodations such as sign language interpreters. Despite these environmental barriers, Inocencio completed his high school studies in Mozambique and went on to attend the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa to pursue his undergraduate degree. Upon graduation, Inocencio qualified as a teacher and officially started working in his dream profession in 2008, serving the deaf community and schools. There, he counseled students and guided them in their psychological development. To advance in his profession, Inocencio received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue graduate-level studies in psychology in the United States. From 2013-2015, Inocencio attended the College of St. Rose in New York, where he earned his Master’s in Education, specializing in Educational Psychology.

In the education field over 12 years, Mr. Zandamela has had teaching experiences in five different schools for the deaf in South Africa and worked as a teacher for three special schools for the deaf in Mozambique. With his expertise in Sign Language, he has been assistant researcher for the African Studies Center at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique where he authored a Mozambique Sign Language Dictionary. He also has been a Sign Language trainer for many education institutions both public and private on appointed by Mozambique’s Department of Education and has presented during many conferences, workshops and seminars.

Apart from education, Mr. Zandamela has been actively involved as a leader for many organizations such as the International Students Societies at Wits University, National Association of the Deaf’s board and the Association Educating the Deaf of Mozambique, etc.

As a member of the Deaf community, Inocencio enjoys sharing a common cultural identity. Inocencio is married to a Deaf woman named Suzete Zandamela, with whom he has five children who are hearing and bicultural sign language users. As a follow-up dream, Mr. Zandamela is eager to engage in research about linguistic and deaf culture by getting a scholarship to fulfill a doctoral degree, conducting research and coursework at a prestigious university in his home country or abroad.

Adriana Pulido (2011 Foreign Fulbright Student from Colombia) – Throughout her career development, in her home of Bogotá, Colombia and abroad, Adriana Pulido Camargo has been strongly committed to the full inclusion of people with disabilities, both as an activist and as part of the public, private and the international cooperation sectors. While working for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, she was able to lead a Pioneer initiative in the world to promote the inclusion of individuals with visual impairment around the country through the use and adoption of technologies. Currently, she works as the disability Inclusion Advisor for the International Committee of the Red Cross, where she has the opportunity to foster the inclusion of individuals with disabilities who have been affected by the armed conflict and urban violence.

In 2011, Adriana received a Fulbright grant to pursue a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida, the first Colombian with a disability to win this scholarship. After winning the Fulbright Scholarship, she defeated her fears as a blind woman and made the decision to travel alone for the first time. While doing her Master’s, she was able to expand her academic and cultural knowledge, as well as to share one of her greatest passions with her friends: playing music.

Adriana has also played an important role as an activist regarding the rights of visually impaired people. She belongs to the National Network of Women with Visual Impairment, a group that gathers women coming from different regions who are blind and low-vision. The purpose of this Network is to promote women’s empowerment, social and political participation.

Undoubtedly, the Fulbright scholarship has had a strong impact in Adriana’s life, both personally and professionally. She could widen her world view and build a network of friends, as well as acquire enough tools and skills to promote inclusion projects in her country. She is convinced that, thanks to the scholarship, she has been able to create a trust and credibility environment around her in every place she has worked as a project leader or inclusion advisor. She has shown that the Fulbright scholarship for people with disability is worthy, and that those with disabilities add value to the initiatives they are involved in, which in turn contributes to a more inclusive society for all.

Most recently, Adriana was named the Winner of the Fulbright Excellence Award in 2021. Name:

Uyanga Erdenbold (2007 Fulbright Student from Mongolia) – Uyanga was born and raised in Mongolia. Through marriage, she has immigrated to the U.S. she is also mother to a mixed-race son. She values her intercultural experiences and works to promote meaningful diversity, one not solely based on external attributes, but more on our shared human experiences, respect, and dignity, so that she can contribute to leaving her son a world in which everybody matters.

Uyanga Erdenebold is a public relations and diplomacy professional with over-nine-years-of experience working for the U.S. Department of State and in non-profit NGOs. Working in charge of educational exchange and scholarship programs such as Fulbright fellowship at the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Uyanga standardized scholarship selection process, enhanced selection transparency, and launched successful outreach programs to rural, and other disadvantaged, audiences to diversify the applicant pool. Through this program, she and her guide dog Gladys have traveled to all of the 21 provinces of Mongolia and had direct conversations with thousands of rural youth, educators, entrepreneurs, and professionals. This program, now standardized and held annually, has recently been recognized as the top best-practice for the U.S. State Department’s Education USA initiatives worldwide. She also served as the U.S. Embassy’s main point of contact for over a thousand alumni of various U.S. Government-exchange programs, and directed and supported numerous alumni-led social projects. She also served as an advisor and manager for the board of directors of the Mongolian Association of State Alumni (MASA), an active and dynamic association that she helped to build.

Uyanga is the first blind Mongolian to receive the Fulbright scholarship, and completed her graduate studies in Library and Information Science at the Louisiana State University (LSU). She conducted professional internships at the Library of Congress and at the Maryland State Library. Most recently, Uyanga worked as the Program Manager for the Tomodachi MetLife Women’s Leadership Program at the U.S. Japan Council in Tokyo Japan (until July 2020). She currently serves as an executive board member for the Council on Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.

An avid dog lover, Uyanga is one of the founding board members of Lucky Paws, the first animal rescue/advocacy group in Mongolia. Uyanga’s first guide dog Gladys went on to become the first ever guide dog to live and work in Mongolia.

Watch Uyanga’s TED talk on “Understanding and acceptance in a challenging world”

MODERATOR

Susan Sygall (CEO and Co-Founder, Mobility International USA) – As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange, international development, and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, and especially women with disabilities. Susan, a wheelchair rider, has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights and women’s issues for more than 30 years. She has co-authored numerous publications and has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange opportunities for persons with disabilities, women’s empowerment, and disability rights.

Susan has received numerous awards for her passionate advocacy for disability rights. In 2013, she became an Ashoka Senior Fellow and received recognition of her work in 2011 by being awarded the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Matusak Courageous Leadership Award and receiving an honorary doctorate from Chapman University and the University of Portland. In 2000, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. In 1995, Sygall received the President’s Award from President Bill Clinton for her dynamic leadership in international exchange programs for people with disabilities, for her mentorship of young people with disabilities, and for her active role throughout our country and the world in empowering people with disabilities. Sygall has also been honored with the Rotary Scholar Alumni Achievement Award. She was also awarded a Graduate Rotary Scholarship and the Kellogg National Fellowship.

White text on blue splotchy background: Celebrating 75 years of Fulbright

On August 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the act that launched the Fulbright Program to enhance mutual understanding and help people and nations work together towards common goals. We invite all Fulbright Program partners and alumni to celebrate with us by sharing your Fulbright experiences with the world.

#Fulbright75 Social Media Templates

Use our custom #Fulbright75 templates to display your favorite photo of your Fulbright experience. Simply insert your image, then post on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to share the impact the Fulbright Program has made on you. Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you use one of the templates below.

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Add a #Fulbright75 Facebook Frame

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We’re asking all Fulbright alumni and supporters to show their support of Fulbright’s 75th Anniversary by adding a celebratory filter to their Facebook profile during the 75th Anniversary year. Follow these step-by-step instructions and share your story using the hashtag #Fulbright75.

  1. Click on the camera on your profile picture and select “add frame”
  2. Search “#Fulbright75” in your search bar and select one of the three unique frames listed.
  3. Adjust your profile picture, and you’re set!
  4. Add #Fulbright75 to the description bar and share your new profile picture on your feed.

Tell Us Your Fulbright Story

Are you a Fulbright alumnus, or someone whose life was impacted by a Fulbrighter in some way? Let us know how Fulbright made a difference by filling out this survey. If you know a Fulbrighter, be sure to send them this link!

Get Involved With Your Community

Cliff Long (right), a 2017 ETA to South Korea, taught English to North Korean refugees, and supported other ETAs through the Korean Adolescent Mentoring Program (KAMP).

During this year of celebration for the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary, we encourage all program alumni and partners to engage with their local communities and schools and join the diverse and dynamic network of Fulbrighters around the world. Learn about more ways to get involved.

Are you a U.S. educator in a K-12 school or a U.S. Fulbrighter looking to share your international experience with younger students? Read more about opportunities for Fulbrighters to get involved and volunteer in local schools and/or learn about how teachers can invite Fulbrighters into their classrooms.

Join a Fulbright Day Celebration

Fulbright Day: South Africa Quiz screenshot of participants
A screenshot from Fulbright Day: South Africa’s online activity.

Throughout 2021, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, Universities, and other Fulbright partners and supporters are celebrating the 75th Anniversary with a wide and varied range of activities taking place around the world. Many Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassies are holding Fulbright Days this year to celebrate their program alumni and history. Check the 75th anniversary calendar for upcoming Fulbright Days and how to join them.

Blue text on background with orange and yellow star-like splotches: HBCU Fulbright Alumni! Every Fulbrighter has a story and we want to hear yours.

Are you a proud alumna/us of the Fulbright Program and an HBCU? Help us celebrate the fruitful connections between HBCUs and the Fulbright Program by sharing your high-resolution photos, telling us your stories, and reflecting on your experience as an HBCU-affiliated Fulbright participant.

Need some ideas?

  • Tell us what Fulbright means to you.
  • Because of Fulbright, I…
  • How has international collaboration impacted your research?
  • How did your Fulbright impact your research or teaching?
  • What piece of advice would you give your pre-Fulbright self?
  • How did your identity change on Fulbright?

Guidelines

  1. Submit all photos, videos, and/or written testimonials here.
  2. When submitting, please provide as much information as possible in the caption – it doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, but we’d like to know when and where the photo was taken, and for what occasion.
  3. All photos should be high-resolution (300 dpi). If you are sending photos or video taken by a professional photographer/organization, please include this information in the caption and make sure you have permission to share.
  4. If you’d like to share a video, be sure to capture a high-quality clip by stabilizing your camera or phone on a table in front of you, recording in a quiet, well-lit place and film horizontally.
Call for submissions: Fulbright 75th Virtual Art Exhibit, Deadline August 1st. Black and white text on a splotchy background of orange and blue

The Fulbright Program is proud to announce a call for submissions for the Fulbright 75th Virtual Art Exhibit, which will launch in October 2021 to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month. The virtual exhibit will be open to the public.

Questions? Reach out to: [email protected] or [email protected].

Guidelines

1. Artists are invited to submit 1-3 high-definition images of relevant work. Film and other video content must be limited to 3 minutes and linked to a full project. Selections from a larger piece of work should include a link to the larger piece.
2. All art submitted to the exhibit must have been created during your Fulbright, or inspired by your Fulbright experiences in a meaningful way. Collaborations are welcomed, so long as non-Fulbright collaborators are from your host institution or country. Please provide a short description of your submission, including the details of your Fulbright, and how this work is related to your Fulbright experience.
3. While we appreciate the creative talents of all Fulbrighters, only alumni and current participants who formally pursued an arts grant are being asked to submit art at this time.
4. All submissions must contain #FulbrightVirtualExhibit within the description on the upload page in order to be considered.
5. The deadline for submissions is August 1st, 2021. Upload your submissions here.

Fulbright really requires you to be bold, and to explain your project to people, and to interact with the local community and use those foreign language skills. That is really, really valuable.

Sasha Velour

Overview

On June 3, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a special event to kick off Pride Month and celebrate the career of 2009 Fulbright U.S. Student to Russia, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, and internationally recognized drag queen, artist, and producer, Sasha Velour. The discussion was moderated by Christian Flores, 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil and founder of Projeto Memoria LGBT – Bagé. The conversation spanned many topics including Sasha’s Fulbright experience in Moscow, the international influences on her drag aesthetic and performances, the importance of uplifting and celebrating queer voices, and the details of her creative process and current projects.

Sasha Velour and Christian Flores

In discussing queer stories, Christian and Sasha talked about the changing ideas around non-binary figures in history. “Unfortunately, the physical research about queer existence is about times when people have been destroyed, or times that people were arrested or punished,” Sasha noted during the event. “I think about Leslie Fienberg’s Transgender Warriors about where things changed from trans and nonbinary people being seen as spiritual figures or folks who had an access to a fluidity that would be considered an asset to society, when that changed to be something that people are afraid of or disgusted by, and then reclaiming that positivity.”

Sasha and Christian discussed the importance of telling and recording queer stories, which are often remarkable and just as often lost. Sasha reminisced about working with a drag queen who impersonated Shirley Temple in the 1970’s and 1980’s at Finniochio’s Club, a drag dinner club in San Francisco. “One of the most historic drag dinner clubs that’s been closed my entire lifetime… Only later did I realize what vital oral history it was, the stories she told me about Bette Davis visiting Finnochio’s I will never forget, and it’s nowhere written down.”

The audience heard about the status of upcoming projects from the House of Velour, including the resumption and extension of the Smoke and Mirrors European tour, and the upcoming NightGowns: the Musical.  

Featuring

Sasha Velour: 2009 Fulbright Student Researcher to Russia

Sasha Velour is a genderfluid drag queen, theatre and television producer, and winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Season 9). Since her debut on the international stage in 2017, Velour has bewitched sold-out crowds on five continents. Her internationally renowned solo theatrical work, “Smoke & Mirrors,” has toured The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, selling out theaters in New York, LA, Auckland, Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and more. The show will return to Europe for a 34-city tour in early 2022. Last year, Velour adapted her long-running drag review, “NightGowns” into a docu-series that she Executive Produced for Quibi. “NightGowns” with Sasha Velour was hailed by “The New York Times” as being “among the most life-affirming shows you could find on any platform.” She won a Realscreen Award for the show, which will come to the Roku Channel later this year. Through her genre-defying work, Velour is creating new business models for drag as art, which “Fast Company” says is “disrupting the business of drag.” “Variety” named Velour to their “Power of New York List” in 2019 and she has been honored in “Out Magazine’s” OUT100, twice. Velour studied Modern Literatures through the independent program at Vassar College and Cartooning at the Center for Cartoon Studies. In 2009, she received a Fulbright grant to study the role of political art in contemporary Russian life. As a public speaker, she has spoken at the Smithsonian, the Teen Vogue Summit, colleges and universities, and on behalf of the U.S. State Department abroad. Velour recently starred in the short art-opera film, “The Island We Made” (commissioned by Opera Philadelphia), and her first book will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2022.

Christian Flores: 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil

Christian Flores is a 2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil. While on his Fulbright, he inaugurated “Projeto Memória LGBT – Bagé,” a public history project designed to highlight and celebrate queer voices and experiences at the Federal University of Pampa in Bagé, a small, conservative city in Brazil’s southern countryside. Flores, an Illinois College alumnus, is based in Chicago, IL where he works as a Program Administrator in the Research Division at Safer Foundation, a non-profit that assists individuals with arrests and convictions to access job opportunities.

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.

We still have our voices and we still have our pens and pencils, and those three things can create massive change

Alyea Pierce, 2019 Fulbright-National Geographic Storyteller to Trinidad and Tobago

Overview

On March 18, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event in celebration of World Poetry Day and the Fulbright Program’s 75th Anniversary.

Hosted by 2019 Fulbright-National Geographic Storyteller to Trinidad and Tobago and spoken word artist, Alyea Pierce, the evening kicked off with readings and reflections from 1993-1995 U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove, 1974 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany. Rita Dove shared excerpts from her collection of poetry, Sonata Mullatica, and described how her Fulbright experience in Germany informed the work.

Alyea welcomed accomplished Fulbright poets and writers Elisa Gonzalez, Ruth Behar, and William Langford to reflect on themes raised by Rita Dove’s work and to share their own original works of poetry. The panel of Fulbright poets addressed themes of exploration and discovery stemming from their Fulbright experiences, representation in art and literature, and making an impact as an artist, scholar, and advocate. The evening concluded with readings of original works from audience members Muriel Harris, a Fulbright U.S. Scholar alumna to Ghana, Nan Jackson, a member of the Lansing Poetry Club, and Humna Naveed, a current Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan.

Meet the Poets

Rita Dove, is a poet, writer, 1993-1995 U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. Her poetry has earned her fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, among others. She holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia where she has been teaching since 1989.

Alyea Pierce, Ed.M., is an educator and international performance poet who has performed her spoken word poetry internationally from the U.S. to South Africa. Her work has appeared online and in print publications, including the GuardianNew York Daily NewsCaribbean Writer, and Autism Speaks.

Ruth Behar is an anthropologist, professor, poet, writer, MacArthur “Genius” fellow and John Simon Guggenheim fellow. She is the author of the Pura Belpré Award-winning book, Lucky Broken Girl. Her new novel, Letters from Cuba, is soon to appear in Spanish as Cartas de Cuba.

Elisa Gonzalez is a poet, essayist, fiction writer, and 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award recipient. Her work appears in The New YorkerAdi MagazineMississippi ReviewThe Literary ReviewThe Boiler Journal and elsewhere.

William Langford is a poet, teaching artist, and 2017 Motown Mic Spoken Word Artist of the Year who divides his energy between education and community development projects in the U.S. and East Africa. He is pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan State University, and his work has appeared in The Detroit Neighborhood GuidebookIlanot ReviewWork/6Falling Hard and 2 Bridges Review and is forthcoming in Finishing Line Press.

I had been somewhat defined a little bit in 2003 by the fact that I hadn’t completed the biography [The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke] that I had been working on for many years. I lost touch with it, and being outside the country, being in Italy that semester was really important for me to get back to who I was, and so I thank the Fulbright Program. That was just an incredible experience for me.”

– Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart

Overview

On February 25, 2021, the Fulbright Program hosted a virtual event celebrating the accomplishments of Fulbright alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, and exploring the themes of his acclaimed biography, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke. Dr. Stewart presented a brief overview of Locke’s biography before engaging in conversation with Fulbright alumna Dr. Joanne Braxton, a prominent scholar of African American Literature and Culture.

The event began with a short lecture by Dr. Stewart introducing the cultural and historical foundations of Alain Locke’s life through photographs, book excerpts, and fragments of Locke’s personal correspondence. Dr. Stewart also explained the ways in which Locke’s race and sexuality played key roles in his academic experiences and philosophies. Following the presentation, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Joanne Braxton discussed Locke’s time as a Rhodes Scholar, his philosophy of cosmopolitanism, and the idea of “the new negro.”

The discussion drew a clear connection between Locke’s experiences and ideas to the present, with implications for art, culture, religion, and the current realities of international exchange experiences for students and scholars of color.

Meet the Panelists

Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, (2003 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Italy) – Jeffrey C. Stewart, PhD, is the author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Oxford University Press, 2018. It is one of the few books of history that has won the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, along with five other national awards in history, biography, and gay nonfiction. Stewart attended graduate school at Yale University, where he received a M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. in American Studies. He now serves as Professor of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, after numerous fellowships, lectureships, and professorships at Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Tufts University, Howard University, George Mason University, and the University of Rome III, where he was Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies in 2003.

Dr. Joanne Braxton, (2001 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Germany) – Joanne Braxton, PhD, is Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of the Humanities Emerita at William & Mary (W&M) and a distinguished scholar of African American Literature and Culture. She is a former Fulbright Professor (Germany, Italy, France and Spain, 2001) and the proud mother of a Fulbright daughter, Mycah (Japan, 2018). More recently, Dr. Braxton has served as David B. Larson Fellow in Spirituality and Health at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center and is currently director of “Tree of Life: Black Faith Matters in a Time of Dual Pandemics,” a project sponsored by the Center for African-American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice at Columbia University and funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. In 2021, Dr. Braxton will deliver the 27th Annual Shallenberger Lecture “On the Outrage of Black Mothers: Healing the Past in the Present” at the invitation of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee and the Berman Institute of Bioethics.