The Massachusetts Chapter of the Fulbright Association designs its programming to immerse visiting Fulbrighters in American culture while also catering to the many interests of its members. Based in a state that is home to many historical sites that are deeply rooted in the fabric of American history, as well as several universities, the Massachusetts Chapter ensures that their events foster cultural exchange, share details about American history and government with visiting scholars, and create a friendly environment for members to engage with one another.
The Massachusetts Chapter kicked off the 2017-2018 academic year with a Welcome Reception in November, held in collaboration with our institutional member Tufts University. Congressman Michael Capuano and Vice Provost and International Director of the Tufts Fletcher School of Diplomacy Diana Chigas spoke to the attendees about the importance of Fulbrighters sharing their education and experience to make the world a better place and help further the Fulbright mission. Attendees were also treated to a buffet of traditional New England staples, and newcomers and chapter veterans had the chance to mingle and catch up.
Many of the Massachusetts Chapter’s events give visiting Fulbrighters the opportunity to familiarize themselves with different facets of American culture. In January, the chapter held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend Celebration, co-hosted by WorldBoston and the International Center of Worcester. Attendees honored the proud legacy of Dr. King on the Harvard University campus by giving back to Boston and Cambridge communities in need. They also enjoyed a performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir. In February, the chapter organized a Bill of Rights Tour and Briefing event, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association. Attendees visited sights on the Freedom Trail and the Old State House in Boston, and toured local museums. The group also had the unique opportunity to hear a lecture from Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, about the intricacies of the American bipartisan system. This educational chapter program brought U.S. history to life through site visits and presentations that were given firsthand by local leaders.
Members and visiting Fulbrighters are also able to get some hands-on experience with the inner workings of American government through the chapter’s programming. During an educational event at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, attendees participated in a Senate Immersion Model program, which is a two-and-a-half-hour session where attendees take on the role of senators to work on a piece of legislation based on a real life historical or recent scenario. This allowed visiting Fulbrighters to learn about how American government works by trying their hand at it themselves. The visiting Fulbrighters in attendance then spoke about the similarities and differences they noted between American government and the way their own countries’ governments function. You can learn more about the outing by viewing this video (which is also embedded below).
The chapter’s programing also includes regular social events designed to give members the opportunity to meet up, keep in touch with one another, and stay informed about the chapter’s upcoming events and plans. On the third Friday of every month, the Massachusetts Chapter hosts a Fulbright Pub Night, where attendees meet up at a local bar and enjoy the company of their fellow Fulbrighters. This event has been a long-standing tradition that alumni enjoy. Most recently, the chapter visited the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island to learn about the conservation efforts of the refuge. Through this program, Fulbrighters were able to experience Park River’s coastal habitat and local wildlife while socializing with fellow alumni and visiting Fulbrighters from the area.
“The Boston area is home to a large and diverse community of Fulbrighters, and the Massachusetts Chapter does a great job cultivating friendships and connections among members. Through a mix of educational and historical programming, advocacy visits, and social gatherings, Fulbrighters in Boston have many special opportunities to get to know one another and live out the Fulbright mission,” says Kelsey Poholsky, Manager of Chapter Relations and Membership at the Fulbright Association.
If you currently reside in Massachusetts and are interested in becoming a member of the Massachusetts Chapter, please visit fulbright.org/membership.