The New Mexico Chapter has worked diligently to establish a strong, state-wide network of Fulbright alumni and supporters of international exchange. Through a mutually beneficial relationship with the University of New Mexico and proactive leadership, the chapter has brought Fulbrighters from across the state together for internationally-focused events.
The chapter co-sponsored an event with the Abrepaso Flamenco Company, which is directed by Alice Blumenfeld, who studied flamenco in Spain on a Fulbright grant and was the 2013 recipient of the Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award. Blumenfeld gave a presentation on the historical development of flamenco at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The event was attended by over 250 people, including members, visiting Fulbright scholars, and their families, and highlighted a unique part of New Mexico’s cultural heritage while engaging members from across the state.
Partnering with the University of New Mexico has given the chapter a platform to connect with former, current, and potential Fulbright recipients. The chapter sponsored the opening event for the University of New Mexico’s International Education Week programming, enabling them to increase campus awareness of the Fulbright Program. In January 2018, the chapter had the chance to interact with sixteen Fulbrighters from Argentina who were on the University of New Mexico campus to participate in a leadership and innovation program. The chapter co-sponsored a reception for these students with the university’s Global Education Office and Honors College. The chapter also collaborated with the University of New Mexico’s English and American Studies departments to co-sponsor a lecture by Dr. Mikheil Barnovi, a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor from the Republic of Georgia. Dr. Barnovi’s lecture, titled “The Vanishing Frontier: 1865-1890,” highlighted his thorough research on the interactions between white and Hispanic settlers and Native Americans in New Mexico.
The chapter collaborated with several local partners, including UNM and a community group called Bridges to Tajikistan, to host a series of internationally-themed events featuring Dr. Sherry Mueller, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the American University School of International Service. Dr. Mueller spoke about the role of Fulbright and other international educational and cultural programs in citizen diplomacy and international relations. She also discussed the funding challenges facing federal exchange programs and the importance of students and community members contacting their representatives to show their support for international education and exchange. The day’s programming increased awareness of the Fulbright Program and the challenges of the budget process, and gave alumni a new perspective for developing chapter advocacy strategies.
“The New Mexico Chapter’s programs appeal to a wide range of interests, including advocacy, culture, local history, and higher education. The chapter has a dedicated group of board volunteers at the helm who facilitate meaningful connections with visiting Fulbrighters and the University of New Mexico,” shared Kelsey Poholsky, Fulbright Association Chapter Relations and Membership Manager.