A core pillar of American life – from the boroughs of New York to the districts of Los Angeles – remains volunteerism. Through the act of giving back to the local community, participants embrace various kinds of service, build strong relationships, and impact society in innumerable positive ways, both large and small.
The 2016 Atlanta Fulbright Enrichment Seminar, held in Atlanta, Georgia, embodied this ideal of civic duty, in tandem with exploring U.S. electoral processes and traditions, from February 4-7, 2016. Over four engaging days, the 133 foreign Fulbrighters convened to explore U.S. political values, participated in a range of volunteer activities throughout Atlanta, and truly put “Democracy in Action.”
The Fulbright Program drew on the wisdom of Kerwin Swint, PhD, Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University, to guide and inform student discussions. A reputable writer and author, Swint’s work on electoral politics, media studies, and political history has been published on the BBC, Slate, and The Wall Street Journal.
During the keynote address, held at The Jimmy Carter Center, Fulbrighters enjoyed remarks from Jim Galloway, current political columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and accomplished foreign editor and reporter whose assignments have included Germany, Russia, southern Africa, and the West Bank, among others.
Key highlights from Atlanta Fulbright Enrichment Seminar 2016:
- On Friday, February 5, Fulbrighters took the opportunity to visit one of a number of cultural spots around Atlanta, including The Atlanta History Center, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the WSB News Station, and The Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Nearly a million people each year make pilgrimage to the “The King Center” which was envisioned by its founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, to be a living memorial filled with vitality and committed to the causes for which Dr. King lived.
- Fulbrighters shared dinner on Friday evening with local Atlantans. Various groups of locals hosted dinner for groups of Fulbright Foreign Students, and provided a chance to build connections, share stories and learn more about respective cultures and countries.
- On Saturday, February 6, Fulbrighters put democracy in action while volunteering with Hands On Atlanta: Discovery Programs. Through this opportunity Fulbrighters were able to tutor young students at Parklane and Russell Elementary Schools. The Discovery Program offers one-on-one and small group enrichment activities for at-risk children. Fulbright volunteers lead activities and help with reading and math skills for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
- A closing dinner was held at Alma Cocina, a contemporary Latin and Mexican restaurant in Downtown Atlanta and provided an energizing close to the seminar.
We certainly enjoyed seeing everyone who participated in the Atlanta Fulbright Enrichment Seminar!