The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognized 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities as Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders for their noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program during the 2019-2020 academic year. Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders understand the benefit of developing a Fulbright culture on campus, send U.S. students and faculty from all fields and backgrounds abroad, and welcome and learn from foreign students and scholars. The development of these international and institutional networks enhance mutual understanding among participants and students, faculty, administration, and campus and community members.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Matthew Lussenhop congratulated the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leaders and noted “Fulbrighters from HBCUs carry their identities and school pride with them abroad, allowing people from other countries to learn about these accomplished individuals and about this dynamic group of American institutions and their distinguished legacy.”
Through virtual events, articles, and social media, the Fulbright Program and HBCU Institutional Leaders shared success stories and encouraged all HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that Fulbright offers.
Didn’t catch everything during the campaign? Not to worry, here are 5 takeaways from HBCU Institutional Leaders 2019-2020:
1. Celebrating Black Excellence (Virtually)
We celebrated, you celebrated! Institutional Leaders, HBCU faculty, alumni, students, and others took to social media to celebrate HBCU impact in the Fulbright Program. Watch the Yard, created by Fulbright alumnus to Germany Jonathan Rabb, highlighted the 2019-2020 HBCU Institutional Leaders via stories and videos, while HBCU and Black-related organizations, including HBCU Pride Nation, Support Black Colleges, HBCU Alum, My Degree is Black, and Black Biz Directory, amplified the message.
Several media outlets, such as Diverse Issues in Higher Education, University Business News, Yahoo News, Black Engineer, and Newsbreak, as well as the HBCU Campaign Fund, spread the word of what HBCUs mean to the Fulbright Program, and how HBCUs and MSIs can get involved.
On Twitter, Fulbright hosted #HBCUFulbrightChat with Fulbright HBCU, an alumni affinity group created and led by Fulbright and Morgan State University alumna Ashleigh Brown-Grier. The chat, which featured Fulbright alumni sharing about their exchange experience, highlighted Fulbright’s long-standing engagement with HBCUs and provided resources for interested applicants. The chat had more than 87K impressions! Special thanks to Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Bluefield State College, Fayetteville State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Alabama A&M University, University of North Texas International Affairs, as well as the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, and HBCU students and faculty for attending.
2. The HBCU Institutional Leaders Tell Their Fulbright Story
HBCU presidents, Fulbright Program Advisers and Scholar Liaisons, and HBCU alumni shared how Fulbright impacts their campuses and communities.
“Howard University is delighted to be recognized as an HBCU Institutional Leader by the Fulbright Program. The Fulbright experience has made a significant positive impact on our Howard scholars, helping them to become better global leaders who are prepared to be servant leaders with an international perspective.” – President Wayne A. I. Frederick
Morgan State University
“We hold the Fulbright Program and all it represents with the highest regard, and to have that level of reverence reciprocated by way of Morgan being distinguished as a Fulbright Institutional Leader truly reaffirms our commitment to the Fulbright mission. […] This year marks Morgan’s 70th year working in partnership with the Fulbright Program to advance the global perspective of our scholars and promote the inherent value of teaching, studying, and research in a foreign milieu. I applaud the efforts of our Division of International Affairs team and the many other faculty, staff and student Fulbrighters who have made exemplary contributions to the success of Morgan’s Fulbright program.” – President David K. Wilson
“Spelman and Fulbright are similar in their interest in students who are curious. Like Fulbright, the College puts an emphasis on preparing students to be global leaders by making available opportunities for them to conduct research and engage in study abroad experiences.” – Michelle Hite, associate professor, Honors Program director, and International Fellowships and Scholarships director
Texas Southern University
“Texas Southern University is pleased to be recognized as an HBCU Institutional Leader by the Fulbright Program for a second year. This distinction speaks to TSU’s commitment to foster connections with students and culture worldwide and serves as a testament to TSU’s legacy of Excellence in Achievement.” – Interim President Kenneth Huewitt
“This recognition reflects the commitment of our faculty and staff to provide global opportunities that advance the student experience and further the University’s mission. This distinction recognizes TSU’s continued dedication to faculty excellence and its legacy of international engagement.” – Kendall T. Harris, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Research
3. The Fulbright HBCU Symposium
On June 3rd, the Fulbright Program hosted the Fulbright HBCU Symposium to discuss Fulbright opportunities and resources for HBCUs, the benefits of a Fulbright experience, and the role that the Fulbright Program plays in supporting HBCU campus internationalization, global awareness, and engagement. The symposium was open to all, and specifically designed for HBCU faculty, staff, and stakeholders. More than 250 people registered, including representatives of 38 HBCUs and 16 non-HBCU U.S. colleges and universities, as well as nonprofits, international organizations, and other individuals.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and 1967 Fulbright U.S. Student to France, welcomed attendees and shared the benefits of the Fulbright Program on her life and career:
The Fulbright Program is built on a very simple principle that if we know others on a person-to-person level, we’ll be better able to stave off the kind of discord and animosity that can so easily arise among peoples of different backgrounds and cultures […] Studying at the University of Lyon became the centerpiece of, and the vehicle for, the shaping of my views on how I could relate to and contribute not just to my small community, but to others across the world. Living and studying in France as a Fulbrighter powered my further study and is one of the primary reasons I’ve been able to lead a wide variety of constituents. I feel comfortable in any setting. Fulbright gave me that, and so I say to my students at Prairie View ‘you simply must have the experience of international education.’Dr. Ruth Simmons
Dr. Dafina Blacksher Diabate, director of International Programs, and Fulbright Program Adviser and Scholar Liaison at Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Dr. Leah Creque, professor of English, director of Honors Program, and Fulbright Program Adviser and Scholar Liaison at Morehouse College, as well as Fulbright Program staff, provided practical information and tips on how to work with the Fulbright Student, Scholar, and Specialist programs.
4. Join the Campaign: Share Your HBCU Stories with Fulbright
Keep the celebration going by sharing your memories and experiences from HBCUs:
Every Fulbrighter has a story to share, and we want to hear yours! To continue our celebration of the valued relationship between the Fulbright Program and HBCU institutions throughout the country, we’re asking our HBCU Fulbright alumni to share their photos and stories with us. Follow the link to upload images or videos accompanied by the experience you’d like to share with us. https://fulbrightonline.org/photouploads
5. I Am Fulbright
The Fulbright Program is committed to making life-changing international exchange opportunities available for scholars and students at HBCUs and all types of institutions – as well as for teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds. Learn more about Fulbright application requirements and deadlines for the Fulbright U.S. Student, U.S. and Visiting Scholar, and Foreign Student Programs, and how to connect with the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary.