Chapter Spotlight: Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania

Chapter Spotlight: Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania

The Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania Chapter of the Fulbright Association is dedicated to spreading the ideals of the Fulbright Program across the region through its programming and communications. The chapter serves both alumni and prospective Fulbrighters through a variety of partnerships within the broader international exchange community in the WNY/NWPA region.

Four students playing the drums

SUNY Fredonia drummers perform

The chapter frequently collaborates with local universities to host small-scale conferences related to international exchange topics. Last spring, the Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania chapter hosted a conference titled “Globalization Matters: You Can Make a Difference” at The State University of New York at Fredonia, an institutional member of the Fulbright Association. The speakers, among them multiple Fulbright alumni, spoke about the lasting impact of their Fulbright experiences. The keynote speaker, Mayor of Fredonia Village, Dr. Athanasia Landis, shared how her time studying in Cambridge, England as a Greek native changed her life, illustrating how her own international experiences have helped her learn how to better serve others. Other highlights of the event included having a current Fulbrighter in South Africa speak to the audience via Skype, and a performance by an intercultural drumming group from SUNY Fredonia.

A woman in a dress speaks at an event

Eva Hasset of the International Institute of Buffalo

The chapter also hosted a conference at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. Designed around the theme of “Advancing the Power of International Educational Exchange,” the conference programming showed the many faces of Fulbright scholarships and the types of available exchange opportunities. Fulbright alumni and experts in the Fulbright Scholar, Specialist, and U.S. Student programs spoke to the audience about the distinctions among different scholarships and grants. Eva Hasset, Executive Director of the International Institute of Buffalo and keynote speaker, discussed the importance of international understanding in the Buffalo area specifically, noting how she has seen global issues impact the Buffalo business community in a positive way.

To engage and inform its membership, the WNY/NWPA Chapter designs and circulates a seasonal newsletter. This publication contains includes articles that highlight recent chapter events, stories about visiting Fulbrighters, and short opinion essays penned by alumni about their unique experiences abroad. The newsletter is an innovative communications initiative that incorporates viewpoints from local alumni and contributes to a strong sense of community among Fulbrighters in the area.

“The Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania Chapter board is a dedicated group that brings new approaches to connecting with their membership. The use of a chapter-curated newsletter helps share information and stories from the community within an alumni chapter that bridges two states,” notes Kelsey Poholsky, Chapter Relations and Membership Manager at the Fulbright Association.

If you reside in the Western New York/Northwest Pennsylvania region and are interested in joining the WNY/NWPA Chapter, please visit fulbright.org/membership.

—Noor Dabbas

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