On April 20, 2023, 92 Fulbright Advocates from nearly 30 states and foreign nations made their way to Washington, D.C., for Fulbright Advocacy Day!
In meetings with 75 Congressional Offices, advocates urged for support of the Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international exchange program. Through global collaboration with 49 binational Fulbright Commissions and 110+ U.S. embassies, Fulbright’s has developed a diverse network of scholars, alumni, and global partners that foster mutual understanding, shared knowledge, and national security. This event and continued Chapter-led advocacy marked an unprecedented act of commitment and engagement by our community in support of the Fulbright Program.
The Fulbright Program is supported through Congressional appropriations made to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The program continues to be leveraged with an additional average total of $100 million from partner countries, nearly all of it from the 49 countries with Fulbright Commissions. Funding for the Fulbright Program currently sits at $287.5 million (FY23). Since 2010, the Fulbright Program has lost 28.5%, even after a $12.5m increase for FY23. Our advocacy is crucial in sharing the impact of the Fulbright Program and encouraging increased appropriations; an ask of $369.5 million for FY 2024.
John Bader, executive director of the Association, was inspired by the passion of advocacy volunteers. “I am so grateful to the many Fulbrighters and friends who came to Washington for advocacy. Their dedication to the Fulbright mission is unshakeable, and so evident to every congressional office. Their stories and conviction were crucial to ensuring the future of the Fulbright Program.”
Following the day’s meetings on Capitol Hill, advocates reconvened at the Embassy of Uruguay for a debrief and reception. The embassy boasts strong ties with the Fulbright program; Ambassador Andrés Durán and his wife, Isabel, were both Fulbright recipients! We are extremely grateful for the embassy’s hospitality in hosting this reception.
During the debrief session, John Bader discussed the importance of our continued advocacy efforts and gratitude to our participants. Advocates then had the opportunity to discuss takeaways from their Congressional meetings and experience navigating Capitol Hill.
Our Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill has been bolstered through national level advocacy, led by Fulbright Chapters. This year, Chapter Advocacy Directors have organized 60 Fulbright advocates in meetings with 30 congressional offices in their home states. In these meetings, Fulbright advocates shared their stories of the impact that the Fulbright Program has had both at home and abroad. To join in on these continued local efforts, please contact your chapter’s leaders: https://fulbright.org/chapters/.
Advocacy Day and Fulbright Chapter advocacy is only the beginning! Many thanks to all who joined us on April 20, 2023 and those who have been advocating at home – we have certainly shared the importance of the Fulbright Program!
For information shared with Congressional offices check out our Virtual Leave Behind. Use the hashtag #StandForFulbright to share your Fulbright story on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter)!
Fulbright to Italy, 2019-2020
Bruce A. Fowler Advocacy Fellow
Advocacy Day in Washington, DC