Fulbright Day: South Africa
On April 21, 2021, the United States Mission to South Africa and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) celebrated the signing of the NRF – Fulbright Fellowship Funding agreement at an event co-hosted by the NRF’s CEO, Dr. Fulufhelo Nelwamondo and U.S. Embassy to South Africa Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Todd Haskell. The event was attended by representatives from academic institutions, government departments and staff from both the NRF and the U.S. Mission to South Africa.
Approximately 15 additional guests, many of whom are Fulbright alumni, joined virtually via Zoom to share in the celebration and congratulate the NRF and U.S. Embassy on formalizing a long-standing partnership. The NRF’s financial support to enable PhD students registered with South African Universities to conduct one year’s research in the U.S. as visiting student researchers, is expected to greatly increase the total number of South African students selected to participate in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program over the next five years, with a total commitment of $1.8 million USD. In his address to the gathering of approximately 30 guests, Mr. Haskell emphasized the impact of the Fulbright program internationally over the past 75 years and thanked the NRF for their commitment and financial contribution to the development of South African PhD students. In his opening remarks, the NRF CEO, Dr Nelwamondo, expressed his appreciation to the U.S. government and the Fulbright program, remarking that the quality of a program that has been in existence for 75 years, with the history of the Fulbright program, is self-evident and wished the Fulbright program a further successful 75 years.
At a second activity on April 21, 2021 to celebrate the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary and impact in South Africa, the U.S. Mission to South Africa hosted an interactive online quiz where four South African Fulbrighters (two current students, two alumni) were put to the test by quiz master, Kerri Spindler-Ranta (Cultural Affairs Officer for Exchanges, U.S. Embassy Pretoria). The quiz was held from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm to accommodate U.S. based current Fulbright contestants and in line with U.S. Embassy South Africa social media followers/participation trends. Questions were solicited from university contacts and via Embassy South Africa social media platforms, with more than a hundred questions received. These were narrowed down to the top fifteen questions on U.S./South African pop culture, history, art and geography to test the knowledge of the quiz contestants. Audience members were very engaged with comments and answer suggestions, and nine participants joined in the online quiz. During the live quiz, lucky draws were held and two of those who had submitted questions were selected to receive Fulbright gift baskets from the U.S. Embassy. The quiz was hosted on Zoom and streamed to the Embassy Facebook page, where U.S. Embassy Fulbright coordinators answered questions in the chat section on the current application cycle for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the Fulbright South African Research Scholar Program. A total of 71 peak live viewers were recorded, which is a record number when compared to other similar events the Embassy recently offered.