I have always believed that chapters are the heart of the Fulbright Association. More than 200 chapter events each year power our programming and advance our mission to promote international education. Chapter leaders—all of them volunteers—spend countless hours in strategizing, planning and executing events of all kinds, from social gatherings to Fulbright Forums (a new way to label speaker/panel/issue events).
One of our most active chapters is based in New Hampshire, led by their amazing president Ann Ackerman. Ann and her committed board offer many programs throughout the year despite the challenges of a scattered membership and limited resources. They have been engaged with advocacy, both in meeting local members of Congress and including the New Hampshire delegation—notably Sen. Jeanne Shaheen—in events that show the local impact of Fulbright. They partner with the Massachusetts Chapter regularly—a model of regional cooperation.
The New Hampshire chapter’s latest triumph was a World Affairs Council event focused on the future of U.S. foreign policy, featuring Amb. Nicholas Burns and hosted by Institutional Member Southern New Hampshire University. The Fulbright Association co-sponsored this event, attended by over 300 students, faculty and Fulbrighters, with Ann making sure that our branding was prominent. The presentation, preceded by a reception, provoked many interesting questions and debates. It serves as a model for the Fulbright Forum.
I was honored to offer opening remarks on behalf of the Association and the chapter, where I stressed the importance of public diplomacy at a time when New Hampshire voters are making important decisions. Senator Fulbright, I argued, believed in the power of all of us to own the future of the planet, to take our role as “citizen ambassadors” seriously.
Our New Hampshire chapter takes that role very seriously, and we are grateful for their hard work, and we celebrate their ongoing successes.
-John Bader, Executive Director