Fulbright Connects with Alumni and International Educators at NAFSA 2023

The Fulbright Program and Fulbright Commissions from around the world connected with the international education community as they gathered in Washington, D.C, from May 31 through June 3 at the 75th anniversary conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Secretary of State Blinken opened the event with remarks acknowledging the importance of international education and exchange.  The conference was also attended by important representatives from the Department of State and Fulbright, including Assistant Secretary of State Lee Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary Ethan Rosenzweig, and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board Chair Donna Brazile. They connected with Fulbright alums, NAFSA CEO and Executive Director Fanta Aw, and representatives from higher education in the United States and abroad, and shared the Department’s commitment to building mutual understanding through programs like Fulbright.

During the opening and closing plenaries, attendees to the conference were greeted with a video produced by Fulbright, highlighting the program’s values for international and intercultural exchange.

Executive Directors of binational Fulbright Commissions around the world were also present to discuss the power of Fulbright to expand people-to-people exchanges, and to build collaborations to advance international study and research through bilateral exchange.

Directors held country-specific office hours at the Fulbright pavilion, to discuss priorities and opportunities for partnerships on exchanges between their countries and the United States.

Many alums of Fulbright return to work in international education, and every year NAFSA’s annual conference is an opportunity to reconnect and network, and to see the impact that Fulbright exchanges have throughout the field. At the Fulbright pavilion, Fulbright alumni swapped stories about continuing their connections with their host universities and communities in the United States and abroad, their visions for helping students and colleagues gain international experience, and their lifelong passion for advancing international teaching and learning.  

Fulbright U.S. Student Alumni Ambassadors, including Alyea Pierce (2019 Fulbright-National Geographic Award recipient to Trinidad and Tobago) and Janika Berridge (2019 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia), joined other Fulbright alums who drew on their experiences to help share information on the Fulbright application, and how higher education institutions in the U.S. can benefit from hosting visiting Fulbrighters on their campuses.

Fulbrighters including program alums and Fulbright Commission directors actively contributed to the knowledge and experience generated through the NAFSA conference. Fourteen panels featured the research and reflections of Fulbrighters in various capacities, and Fulbright alums presented four research posters on topics like the effect of previous credentials on future competitive award selections, virtual language instruction’s implications for student access, and gender-inclusive housing policy on college campuses.

View the full list of Fulbright presentations and posters here. 

Fulbright Training Builds Capacity for Diverse International Education Offices

In conjunction with the NAFSA conference, the Fulbright Program held a day-long training program for advisors and administrators from American higher education institutions. This Fulbright Institutional Training (FIT) brought together Fulbright Student Advisers and Scholar Liaisons from 54 colleges and universities across the United States. Hosted at Washington, D.C.’s Martin Luther King Jr.  Memorial Library, the training covered topics including the support for diverse participants on the Fulbright Program, and introduced attendees to the U.S. and in-country selection process for the various Fulbright awards. It provided insight into specific topics including doctoral research, participation on the program with family members, and post-award engagement.

The training was also attended by Executive Directors of Fulbright Commissions abroad and Fulbright’s regional Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Coordinators, who engaged directly with representatives of the U.S. institutions that produce and host their students and scholars.

Fulbright’s DEIA Coordinators support Fulbright participants and Commissions in the different world regions. Together they work to further Fulbright’s diversity initiatives and strengthen the program’s institutional capacity to support the success of Fulbrighters from traditionally underrepresented communities. They engage in staff trainings, orientations, events, outreach and communication activities, and strategic planning initiatives. They described their outreach, communications, training, and support activities in each region and met with campus representatives to discuss diversity and inclusion needs and how the Fulbright Program can support students and scholars before, during, and after their experiences abroad. 

See more photos from the event.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram