I am glad to report that our community’s many efforts to advocate for the Fulbright Program in the face of threatened cuts–47% in 2017 and 71% this year–have been effective and successful. This spring, we relaunched “Stand for Fulbright,” a coordinated effort at the national and grassroots levels. More than 8,000 of you signed petitions. Together you wrote to 96% of members of both chambers. You joined together in two Advocacy Days. You proudly stood up for the program that changed your life–and is changing the world.
Congress has not made final decisions on funding anything for the fiscal year already underway, and a government shutdown is possible in the coming weeks. But the House appropriations bill for State and Foreign Operations would fund Fulbright at a steady $240 million–no increase, but no cuts. The Senate’s version offers a small boost to $242 million. It’s very likely that funding will fall between these two numbers, which is a great victory when proposed cuts would have destroyed the Fulbright Program. Thank you for all you did to make this happen.
We approach the coming year with a sense of hope and opportunity. While the House may have a new majority, the real opportunity comes with nearly a hundred new House members and Senators, of both parties, who can learn the value and impact of the Fulbright Program directly from you. This coming year will offer many opportunities to teach and explain, starting with Advocacy Day on February 27 in Washington, DC.
You’ll hear much more about this first Advocacy Day in the coming weeks, and you’ll have the chance to register to join us–for free. But whether you can travel to Capitol Hill then or not, you can have your voice heard. And you can be confident that, as we saw for the last two years, Congress will listen. Congratulations for making a real difference and giving us all hope.
I never stop reaping the benefits of Fulbright. Just this Holiday season my wife, son and I spent two weeks in Germany: Berlin and Leipzig and Postsam. I have not
really studies German in many years – almost 50. But so so much was right there and needing just a little dusting off through conversation and my reading around the towns. Germany is a country that is far more important to the US public than we give credit and realize as “she” has been slipping off the radar in favor of budget cuts and shifting attention to other kinds of concentration. Recently I retired from some 50 years as a language teacher and organizer in Europe for North Americans’ study programs. Not out of vanity for myself, at all – not intended, but for the benefit of our society on so so many levels of awareness and development, languages, extended experiences abroad, personal contacts in other than English-only, must become ever more so a priority for thousands of more North Americans. Fulbright is a major enabler of this process and I am so proud to be an alumnus and having sent former students to Fulbright. Sincerely, CJ Everett, Grantee to Spain