Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich, Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
Dear Fulbright Program Alumnus/a:
I write to you in my capacity as Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, because you are a distinguished alumnus/a of the Fulbright Program. Senator Fulbright believed that the Fulbright effect is a life-long experience that demands continued engagement after scholars return home. Networking among alumni is critical to the long term vitality and success of the Fulbright Program: you have much to share with your fellow alumni and with broader audiences in the United States and abroad. That type of engagement has never been more vital, or more possible, than it is today. It is for this reason that I am writing.
Although over 370,000 Fulbrighters have completed their scholarships since the program started, there is currently no comprehensive way for all Fulbright alumni to find one another and connect on-line on projects of mutual interest. In the vast majority of cases, we do not even have email addresses, or an efficient way to share critical information or offer opportunities for you to engage with your fellow alumni. To address this, we have engaged the help of the Fulbright Association, which advocates for the Fulbright Program and offers programming through their network of 60 chapters nationwide. You can receive important information about Fulbright activities and ways to engage with other distinguished Fulbright alumni by joining a mailing list on the Association’s website. Because privacy considerations do not permit our Board to share your contact information without your permission with the Association or any other entity, we invite you (if you haven’t done so already) to provide your email and updated contact information via this link so that your colleagues may keep you up to date on alumni activities and the global Fulbright Program. You do not need to join the Association itself in order to be updated on these Fulbright activities going forward. Simply go to www.fulbright.org to learn more about the Association, and to join the mailing list.
Thank you for everything you do to keep the International Exchange Alumni community strong. With your help, we look forward to engaging you and other distinguished alumni to keep the Fulbright effect burning bright.
From left to right, back row: Mia Warren, Shondrea McCargo, David Bernstein, Benjamin Simington, Aaron Sayama, Lyuba Basin, Ben Cohn, Ryan Bell, Gwyneth Talley; front row, left to right: Mia Warren, Tanisha Williams, M Jackson, Samantha Costello, Shayak Sengupta, History Estill-Varner, Lin Shi and Katlin Kraska (Not pictured: Sarah Lightfoot-Vidal, Michael Verlezza and Yuriy Veytskin); Photo courtesy of Lee Rivers Photography
On Thursday, February 9, 2017, 19 newly selected Fulbright U.S. Student Program Alumni Ambassadors met in Washington, DC to receive training on how to promote and recruit for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Staff members from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education (IIE), along with previous Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors, shared tips on effectively presenting the impact, innovativeness, and inclusiveness of Fulbright Program opportunities. The orientation workshop emphasized the unique and important role that Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors play in inspiring a diverse range of students, artists, and early career professionals – as well as the Fulbright Program Advisers and college administrators who support them – to learn more about the Fulbright Program and the power of educational and cultural exchange.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassador Program was established in 2008 to identify, train and engage a select group of approximately 15-20 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni to serve as representatives, recruiters and spokespersons for the Fulbright Program. They are selected annually through recommendations from Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassy staff, area managers, and the Fulbright Student Program Outreach Division, and approved by the Fulbright Program’s sponsor, ECA. Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors come from an array of different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, states, fields of study, and institutions and have participated in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in all world areas.
To learn more about the Fulbright Alumni Ambassador Program, please click here.
Are you a Fulbright U.S. Student Program alum and want to share how your Fulbright grant was a life-changing experience and why others should pursue international exchanges or study abroad? Participate in the 2016 U.S. Alumni Citizen Diplomacy Challenge!
This year, there are three ways to participate. You can choose your favorite or participate in all three for a chance to win a professional development trip to Washington D.C. and other exclusive prizes!
- Instagram Photo and Caption Challenge: Upload your most inspirational original study abroad photo that showcases the value of international exchange to Instagram. The photo caption should finish this sentence: ‘#StudyAbroadBecause ______.’
- Share your Story Challenge: Write your study abroad story! Share a brief, compelling personal narrative that demonstrates the benefits of international exchange and would inspire more people to go abroad.
- Back to School Challenge: Go “back to school” in order to give presentations to students on what participating in an exchange program meant to you and share information about relevant U.S. government-sponsored exchange opportunities.
To learn more, visit: https://alumni.state.gov/cdc-2016
All three challenges open on September 27, 2016 EDT and close at noon EDT on November 18, 2016. Good luck!
Sarah Sanderson Doyle, 2012-2014, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil, with her husband in Rio de Janeiro
In 2011, my husband and I were ecstatic to find out that I was selected as one of thirty Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) to Brazil for the 2012-2013 academic year. We spent an incredible ten months in Ilhéus, Bahía, teaching English, giving cultural presentations and volunteering in the community. I was even more excited to learn that I was chosen to be one of ten Fulbrighters asked to return to Brazil the following year to serve as mentors as the Brazilian Fulbright ETA program expanded from thirty to one hundred and twenty grantees. We were relocated to the north of the country and spent another challenging and fascinating ten months in Belém, Pará, right at the edge of the Amazon.
Though I have plenty of stories and experiences to share about my time as a Fulbright ETA, what I would like to highlight are the amazing opportunities that I’ve had because of my Fulbright experience, along with how valuable it is to stay connected to the U.S. Department of State’s and the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) alumni communities after the grant period ends. Some of the many advantages include having stories to share in interviews and applications, increased chances for professional development and volunteering, networking and internships.