1946 Society Member Cynthia Ackron Baldwin honored Alison at the October 2023 1946 Society Luncheon with the following text:
1946 Society member Alison Gardy embodies the Fulbright Association mission of extending the Fulbright tradition through service. Alison is a Fulbright alumna and a longtime Fulbright Association advocate who has served on the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association (from 2000 to 2002) and as a Fulbright Association Board Director (from 2001 to 2006 and from 2017 to 2022).
Alison’s leadership is grounded in inclusivity; she “works to convene culturally and experientially disparate people to discover common ground and move forward together.” As the leader of the Fulbright Association’s New York Chapter, Alison worked to septuple the chapter budget and expand programming; she organized 33 workshops that served 550 students, organized 100 volunteers, and led an arts event for 250 students. As a Fulbright Association National Board member, Alison served as co-chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, a committee on which she still serves.
Most recently, Alison serves as the Co-Founder and Facilitator of Life Chats. This monthly virtual gathering offers Fulbright Association lifetime members the opportunity to advance cross-cultural understanding by sharing stories of their Fulbright experiences and discussing pressing issues facing the world today. Monthly Life Chats topics have included “Reflections on Freedom,” “Experiences in Nature,” and “Assumptions Shattered during my Fulbright.” These gatherings evoke personal and poignant stories from attendees, who enjoy learning from and about their peers. Alison’s continued commitment to Life Chats exemplifies her curiosity to understand other viewpoints and her respect for the life experiences of others.
Alison also advocates for the Fulbright Program outside of the Fulbright Association community by serving as a resource for students pursuing fellowship opportunities and by finding synergy between Fulbright alumni and other community-oriented projects.
One of Alison’s colleagues shared that “There are few people in the world who exude the passion, love, professionalism, and dedication to their work that is so clear the first time you meet Alison,” and I wholeheartedly agree. I am honored that Alison chooses to serve the Fulbright community, and I am honored to recognize Alison Gardy as a 1946 Society Member of the Year.
Alison Gardy is committed to convening culturally and experientially disparate people to discover common ground and move forward together. She has created educational programming that helps participants question assumptions, benefit from the discomfort of learning, and gain transformative insights. A multilingual relationship-builder, Alison has grown diverse communities and nurtured thriving partnerships with nonprofit and business leaders. In 2023, she became Director of External & Partner Relations at AFMDA. Prior, she had founded Gardy Communication Strategies to help local and global organizations mobilize support around their endeavors. Before then, for 15+ years, she was Director of International Relations at 92nd Street Y, where she launched, led, and executed original programs such as the Ford Motor Company International Fellowship, the Diplomatic Roundtable Series, and International Way of the annual 92Y StreetFest. Previously, Alison taught writing at New York University; reported for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other publications; and, on a Fulbright creative independent study grant, investigated social change in Mexico.
Alison led the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association (2000-2002) and served as a Fulbright Association Board Director (2000-2006 and 2017-2022). Alison has been a 1946 Society member since 2021.