In a U.S. election year, anything can happen. Understanding the processes behind U.S. campaigns, media relations, and voting are not only highly relevant, they’re vital for the next generation of informed global leaders and scholars.
The 2015 Austin Fulbright Enrichment Seminar, held in Austin, Texas, brought exactly these ideas to the forefront of discussion on December 10-13, 2015. Over four exciting days the 132 foreign Fulbrighters convened to explore U.S. political values, electoral process and traditions, the current presidential campaign and the role media plays in politics, specifically related to elections.
The Fulbright program sought out the expertise of the University of Texas-Austin and The Texas Politics Project’s Director, Jim Henson to facilitate discussion and deliver insights from academia and civil service.
During the keynote address, held at the University of Texas-Austin’s Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, Fulbrighters were presented with an analysis of the current U.S. presidential election and campaign. The seminar also included a moderated panel discussion that explored media and its role and responsibility related to election coverage, including how it influences and shapes public opinion and political discourse.
Key highlights from Austin Fulbright Enrichment Seminar 2015:
- On Friday, December 11, Fulbrighters had the opportunity to visit one of three cultural sites of their choosing in Austin to learn more about the city and the state of Texas. The sites include the LBJ Library, Austin City Hall and the Texas State Capitol.
- Friday evening, Fulbrighters then connected with local Austinites in homes all over the city. Working with Global Austin, locals hosted dinner for groups of Foreign Fulbrighters, providing a chance to build connections, share stories and learn more about respective cultures and countries.
- On Saturday, December 12, Fulbrighters embraced service and gave back to the local community via community service projects with five different Austin organizations: Foundation Communities, Front Steps Shelter, Mobile Art Program, Partnerships for Children and Treefolks.
- Fulbrighters also participated in an election simulation workshop focused on gaining a better understanding of the U.S. electoral process, the current political climate and important political issues in the United States.
- A closing dinner was held at Palm Door on Sixth located in Austin’s Historic Entertainment district.
Through these activities, Fulbrighters developed a better understanding of U.S. contemporary life and culture, the electoral process and U.S. public attitudes on an array of important political issues.
We certainly enjoyed seeing you in Austin!
This weekend, from February 4 through February 7, 2016, Fulbright Students from 71 countries will explore the same theme, “Democracy in Action,” in Atlanta, Ga. Stay tuned for a blog post and photos shared by student participants through the Fulbright Source, next week!