Chapter Spotlight: Greater New York

Chapter Spotlight: Greater New York

Based in New York City, the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association capitalizes on all the city has to offer. Their events ensure that members are challenged both intellectually and artistically while promoting the Fulbright message of intercultural understanding. Their programming is also focused on making visiting Fulbrighters feel at home, helping them navigate and enjoy life in New York.

To give a warm welcome to visiting Fulbrighters upon their arrival, the Greater New York Chapter organized a Diplomatic Welcome Reception in October 2017. The event was held in the U.S. Mission to the UN Building, and more than 200 guests, including Fulbright alumni, friends of Fulbright, visiting Fulbrighters, and 54 consulate representatives, mingled as they enjoyed the view. The local alumni in the area also extended their hospitality to visiting Fulbrighters by organizing a series of casual dinners, hosted at either the alum’s home or at restaurants in their neighborhoods. The program, orchestrated in partnership with One to World, is called Dinner Diplomats, and last year it allowed for 69 visiting grantees in the area to get to know local Fulbright alumni and learn about living in the city. As Lalitha Sindhuri Yarasuri, a current Fulbright grantee from India, reflects, the program created an organic opportunity to share “a sense of love and brotherhood [with fellow Fulbrighters], since we as international students know what it’s like to be lonely while we are away from home.”

Photo from the Rubin Museum event

The Greater New York Chapter also routinely integrates an ambiance of cultural richness into their events. They organized a networking event at the Rubin Museum in January 2018, where Fulbright alumni and visiting Fulbrighters had the chance to chat as they perused art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions, enjoyed the on-site live music, and dined on pan-Asian tapas. The Greater New York Chapter has also organized internationally-minded events. In collaboration with Flanders Investment & Trade, the Chapter hosted a presentation titled “Reflection on Transatlantic Relations: Current Issues in Trade, Counter-Terrorism, & Cybersecurity” in December 2017 at the New York Times building. Dr. Vigjilenca Abazi — who is a former Fulbright scholar and the 2018 Fulbright Alumna-in-Residence (FAIR) for the Greater New York Chapter — gave a talk on how recent developments in technology, law, and politics are set to shape transatlantic relations in the near future. Through the FAIR program, the Chapter fosters alumni projects that further the Fulbright mission and have potential for high social impact. Each year, one FAIR resident is selected for an innovative project with a focus on social entrepreneurship and international development, and they receive access to mentoring, community connections, promotional support, and other resources through their chapter affiliation.

Another innovative program run by the Greater New York Chapter is the Fulbright Film Series, a showcase of films created by former Fulbrighters or are relevant to the Fulbright mission. Filmmaker Jonathan Goodman Levitt and a selection committee review and curate submissions of both fiction and documentary for inclusion in the series. Screenings are followed by a topical presentation or interactive discussion with a panel of experts, often including Fulbrighters. The Fulbright Film Series is presented in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Brooklyn. In November 2017, the first Fulbright Film Series event was a showing of the film For Akheem, co-directed by Fulbrighter Landon Van Soest. The second event, held in February 2018, was a screening of the film The Gun Shop, directed by John Douglas and produced by Fulbrighter James Rogan.

Chapter President Katie Bakarich (Fulbright to Germany, 2009) shares, “The Greater New York Chapter’s activities are reflective of the wonderful diversity NYC has to offer. Through the hard work of our Board of Directors planning and coordinating events, we are able to showcase the immense talent of our community.”

“The Greater New York Chapter is constantly innovating and creating fresh opportunities for the Fulbright community to engage with and learn from one another. The Chapter benefits from strong leadership and dedicated volunteers who bring their enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity to chapter programming and initiatives,” adds Kelsey Poholsky, Manager of Chapter Relations and Membership.

If you currently reside in New York and are interested in becoming a member of the Greater New York Chapter, please visit fulbright.org/membership.

 

—Noor Dabbas 

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