The Fulbright Association has also been an effective advocate for the returned alumni by contacting elected officials and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for additional support. There has been wide support from many alumni and organizations wanting to assist initially in evacuation and then professional mentorship. We also commend the work the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs have done to support the returning Fulbrighters. The ECA COVID-19 resource page outlines how ECA has supported affected Fulbrighters, with special emphasis on U.S. participants:
- Covering the cost of transportation back to the U.S. after the March 19 suspension, including 24/7 hotline to arrange that travel;
- Funding equivalent to stipend payments through June 30 for participants who started in fall 2019 and through October 31 for those that started their programs in 2020;
- Providing an additional $1000 transition allowance to help pay for health insurance and other unanticipated needs;
- Conferral of Fulbright alumni status on all participants affected by the program’s suspension.
For 2019-20 Fulbright participants interested in another Fulbright opportunity, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has waived any restrictions on reapplication privileges for 2019-2020 U.S. participants and encourages U.S. participants to consider Fulbright again in the future.
We have also been providing one year of free membership to all newly returned Fulbrighters, and have made sure all these young professionals are connected to the chapters close to them. It’s a tough time to be back, with economies struggling and unemployment at record high levels, but we are doing what we are best at: supporting the Fulbright alumni community and serving these newly returned Fulbrighters. If interested in our professional development programs please email Shaz Akram at firstname.lastname@example.org