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.