Calling volunteers for online English conversation practice with New Delhi NGO

Calling volunteers for online English conversation practice with New Delhi NGO

Fulbright alumna Holly Wheeler (Fulbright-Nehru ETA to India, 2016-2017) and U.S. Exchanges alumnus Pradeep Kumar (India, Whatcom Community College, Tourism & Hospitality, 2011-2012) are collaborating to provide English education to students in Sanjay Colony, a slum in New Delhi. Wheeler was an English teacher at Shyama Prasad Vidyalaya and is now an Education Abroad Advisor at Northern Arizona University and Co-President of the Fulbright Association Arizona Chapter.

Kumar studied tourism and hospitality at Whatcom Community College through the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, a U.S. Exchanges program, and started his own business, Delhi by Locals, after returning to India. He also started an NGO, Learning by Locals, with fellow CCI Program alumni, Lalit Saini (India, Houston Community College, TV and Film Production, 2018- 2019) and Alka Sharma (India, Northern Virginia Community College, Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, 2018-2019) to give back to the local community. Funded by part of Delhi by Local’s profits, Learning by Locals runs English and computer classes several times per week for youth in Sanjay Colony, a slum in Delhi. The NGO also hosts workshops on social issues, organizes field trips, and helps young people connect to job and internship networks.

In response to COVID-19, Learning by Locals (LBL) transitioned to all online courses at the start of lockdown in March. After engaging more with the community, an urgent need emerged to expand course offerings for free to address mental health and learning motivation for the colony, and now LBL has started teaching over 100 new students in 10 new classes taught by LBL and friends around the world, including Wheeler and playwright Harley Adams (Fulbright Student Researcher to India, 2019-2020). Guests are invited, including Learning by Locals friends in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, as well as Fulbright Association Arizona Chapter Board Member, Larissa Goulart da Silva (Brazil, FLTA to University of Nebraska, 2017-2018). Expanded class topics include not only multiple levels of English, but also computer skills (basic skills, Google tools), art, dance, filmmaking, playwriting, theatre, and emotional/mental wellbeing—all taught online via video conference.

Conversation group leaders are needed for the Advanced English Discussion class taught by Wheeler and Kumar. Fulbrighters and friends of Fulbrighters are welcome, for once or multiple times. The course discussions center around international topics, wellness and crisis response, and global citizenship. The class meets from 6:00-7:00pm India time on Tuesdays and Thursdays now through the month of June.

If you are interested in connecting with India’s next young leaders and supporting the work of U.S. Exchange alumni, please contact as soon as possible to set the date and prep for the informal conversation class.

May 22, 2020 0

Fulbright Association 42nd Annual Conference & Advocacy Day

Fulbright Association 42nd Annual Conference & Advocacy Day

From October 24 to 26, 2019 in Washington D.C., the Fulbright Association held its 42nd Annual Conference & Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

Senator Fulbright, who during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, called for alumni to create an active body to advocate for the program. Today, the main responsibility of the Fulbright Association, which is known for its multidimensional activity supporting programs such as Fulbright Alumni chapters in the U.S., spreading advocacy and organizing an annual conference that gathers hundreds of Fulbrighters to connect mind and hearts for global change.

Cultural diplomacy, including international education exchanges, have become one of the biggest tools of U.S. diplomacy and national power after World War II that provide vitality and substance to international relations built on friendly relations and mutual understanding. This is the main reason why on Thursday, October 24, the Fulbright Association visited Capitol Hill. During more than 100 meetings, Fulbright Alumni shared their stories of the impact of the Fulbright Program at home and abroad.

After a very productive day on the Capitol Hill, participants enjoyed an opening reception at Marymount University’s Ballston Campus, organized in cooperation with the Fulbright Hungary and the American Hungarian Heritage House. During the evening, the Emmy Award-winning Fulbright documentary “Armed with Faith” introduced by producer Haya Fatima Iqbal and shown to attendees.

Friday began with a plenary on “Cultural Exchanges: impact & innovation” with guests speakers Jay Wang, Erik Nibest, Katherine Brown and Kathy Fitzpartick. After this engaging talk, Fulbright alumni had the opportunity to join multiple concurrent sessions that corresponded with this year motto, “connect hearts & minds for global change,” as well as a career counseling panel and discussed current updates for the Fulbright Program.

On Friday evening, in conjunction with the 2019 Fulbright Association’s 42 Annual Conference, we were celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Polish-US Fulbright Program. The event, hosted by Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Piotr Wilczek at his residence, in cooperation with the Fulbright Association and the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, was an amazing opportunity for building on the strong cultural relations between both countries and a great chance to celebrate bilateral educational cooperation.

On Saturday, over 350 registrants had the opportunity to take part in the morning plenary, “Fulbright Talks,” moderated by Ashley Conard, and enjoy a variety of concurrent sessions, research roundtables and an afternoon plenary with Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture with Roman Baca.

Every year, the Fulbright association brings international attention to the program during the Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony, established in 1993, that recognizes individuals or organizations which have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures and nations to greater understanding of each other. This year, the Fulbright Association honored three distinguished figures: the President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, in recognition for her remarkable, contributions as a leader, diplomat, and public servant, Mr. James S. Polshek, in recognition of his accomplishments in architecture and Melissa Block, in recognition of her accomplishments in journalism.

The President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

After the ceremony, Fulbright alumni and distinguish guests had the opportunity to enjoy the closing reception at Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel with food, drinks and live music.

In addition to 42 Annual Conference on Sunday, members of the 54 nationwide chapters discussed the future of community engagement in Fulbright Association and visited National Museum of African-American History & Culture.







Marek Siek, Fulbright Association

November 7, 2019 0

2019 Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

2019 Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

Senator Fulbright, during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, called for alumni to create an active body to advocate for the program. Today, the main responsibility of the Fulbright Association is serving as the unified voice of the Fulbright community in advocating for the program to the U.S. Congress.

The primary source of funding (approximately 65%) for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. We support Fulbright Program funding at the $252 million level for FY2020.

Fulbrighters gathered on the Capitol Hill in the early morning October 24 and had the opportunity to listen of the Bruce Fowler, from the Associate Advocacy Task Force, and watch an advocacy video message from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Bader Association executive director, and Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR-ret) giving their advice before meeting with the representatives. During more than 100 meetings, Fulbright alumni shared their stories of the impact of the Fulbright Program at home and abroad.

The Association pursues a strategic and non-partisan approach to advocacy at the local, national, and global levels. Supporters including Fulbright alumni and friends defend the program by focusing their efforts on the decision-makers in Congress. In 2019, more than 90% of the members of Congress have received letters from their constituents calling on them to prevent cuts. This citizen action aided by the association shows the scale of support for the Fulbright program. The Fulbright Association has been involved in such initiatives as local grassroots campaigns across the U.S. including in many local visits organized by chapters in local congressional offices as well as petition and write in. According to the teams visiting Congress this year, the campaign received positive feedback and bipartisan declarations of support for the program.

Additionally, to physical campaign during the Advocacy Day, the Fulbright Association has run a very effective campaign on social media using the hashtag #StandForFulbright where Fulbright alumni shared a highlight from their Fulbright experience and joined the global Fulbright community in showing their support for one another and the Program on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn highlighting the positive impact of the Fulbright Program worldwide.

This year’s annual Advocacy Day was not only a great experience for supporting the program but also an excellent opportunity for Fulbright alumni to meet with their state representatives in Washington, D.C. and attend in 42nd Annual Conference in the home city of the Fulbright Association.


Marek Siek, Fulbright Association

October 24, 2019 0

2019 Call for Proposals: Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture

2019 Call for Proposals: Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture

Are you a pioneering dance researcher or practitioner with a focus on international exchange and impact? Share your talent and research with the Fulbright community at our 42nd Annual Conference, “Connecting Minds and Hearts for Global Change” from October 24-26, 2019 in the Washington, DC area. Applications for the 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund Lecture will be accepted through June 30, and the awardee will be notified by August 1.

The Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund for International Scholarship on Dance provides a dance researcher or practitioner the opportunity to present a major paper or interdisciplinary presentation, based on research or a body of accomplished work, at the Fulbright Association’s annual conference. The 2019 Cohen Lecturer will be selected based on guidelines developed by the late Dr. Selma Jeanne Cohen, dance historian and founding editor of the International Encyclopedia of Dance, whose generous endowment gift supports this lecture program. We encourage interdisciplinary dance scholars to apply.

About the Selma Jean Cohen Fund Scholarship

  • The competition is open to all dance researchers or practitioners in any field of dance.
  • Applicants may be residents of any country.
  • Lectures can be based on previously unpublished or published research, or on a body of accomplished work, though ideally this research or work would not have been presented at other conferences.
  • Selection will be based on the quality of your narrative, originality, the impact of your research/work on other disciplines and international perspectives, interaction with audience during demonstration, appeal to a wider audience, and references.
  • The Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund provides an honorarium, round-trip travel, and per diem to the selected dance scholar.
  • The awardee must be able to attend the Fulbright Association’s annual conference (October 24-26, 2019) and give his or her presentation on the date requested by the Association. The recipient will be expected to have his or her own health, travel, and other necessary insurance and documents in order.

Application Guidelines

For consideration, all applications must include:

  • A cover letter, not to exceed one page in length, that briefly details your proposal.
  • A resume or C.V.
  • A narrative of no longer than ten double-spaced pages (3,750 word maximum) describing the research, scholarly work, or multi-dimensional presentation to be presented and its significance in advancing dance scholarship. The research or project must show a clear commitment to furthering international understanding through dance and must have already been completed by the time of application.
  • The narrative should include an assessment of the impact of your own Fulbright or other international exchange experience on your work in the field of dance, as well as how your dance research relates to international perspectives and the impact it has on other fields, cultures, and the world.
  • A presentation outline for a conference presentation of no longer than one hour’s length. The presentation plan must include a lecture of no longer than 20 minutes, a dance demonstration of 15- 20 minutes, and a question and answer session of 15-20 minutes. Please note that engaging the audience through interactive presentation is highly valued, and demonstrations that involve audience participation will be given higher consideration.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals well-acquainted with your work as a dance scholar/practitioner and presenter.

Submission Instructions

All applications for the 2019 Cohen Lecture must be received electronically by 5:00pm EST on June 30, 2019. Submissions can be e-mailed to, with the subject line “Cohen Lecture Submission.” Only complete applications will be considered.

March 11, 2019 0

Angela Merkel Awarded Fulbright Prize for International Understanding

Angela Merkel Awarded Fulbright Prize for International Understanding

The 2018 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding was awarded to Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, in a ceremony taking place at the AXICA Congress and Convention Centre located right next to the historic Brandenburg, on January 28, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. With this award, the Fulbright Association honors Chancellor Merkel for her remarkable, compassionate leadership and her strong commitment to mutual understanding, international cooperation, and peace. The Fulbright Association believes that Chancellor Merkel embodies the best of leadership in times of unrelenting global crises and challenges.

For the first time in the award’s 25-year history, the Fulbright Association hosted this event outside of the United States. Fulbright Association members, German alumni, academics, think tanks, nonprofit leaders, politicians, diplomats, current Fulbright grantees in Germany, and friends of international education gathered to honor Chancellor Merkel.

“She has championed the promise of reconciliation in a way that distinguishes her as a Fulbright Laureate that has committed to the issues and ideas that keep the peace on our continent, and in the world,” said renowned news anchor Christiane Amanpour, delivering a special introduction of Chancellor Merkel. Amanpour continued, “I’ve covered Chancellor Merkel from afar, and wholeheartedly second the Fulbright citation that honors her for her remarkable, compassionate leadership and her strong commitment to mutual understanding, international cooperation, and peace.”

During the ceremony a recorded congratulatory message was also delivered by acclaimed opera singer Renée Fleming.  The event also highlighted the history of the prize since 1993 with an inspiring video. Short remarks were also made by Oliver Schmidt, Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission, and Manuel Pauser (German Alumnus). Reflecting on his experience in the US as a German grantee, Manuel said, “if you want to find out what the American soul is, you have to dance in a night club in Mississippi, or listen to a wedding sermon in Kansas, or digest a sumptuous Thanksgiving meal with friends in Idaho or drive down a sheer endless highway in Wyoming. And yes, you may find many contradictions, curiosities, and opinions you may or may not agree with. Indeed, the American soul is complex. But the American heart is good.”

Former Fulbright Association president Manfred Philipp and Fulbright Prize Committee chair Mary Ellen Heian Schmider presented the Prize to the chancellor.

“The Fulbright Prize is the very symbol for how important international friendship is,” said Chancellor Merkel upon receiving the Prize. She thanked the Fulbright Association for its work and stated that she believes “the Fulbright Program decisively contributes to the good relations between Americans and Germans.”

The event venue was filled with over 120 media outlets/journalists, attendees representing the United States, Germany, and a wide range of other countries, and thousands more joined in online to watch the event livestreamed on the Fulbright Association’s media channel. Viewers engaged throughout the globe under the hashtag #FulbrightPrize, and offered their congratulations to Chancellor Merkel. Fulbright Association members organized viewing parties in their cities to share in the celebration through their local chapters and communities.

“The evening was thrilling. The beautiful venue was packed with nearly 350 alumni and distinguished guests, along with over 120 people from the press—giving us unprecedented global coverage,” says Executive Director John Bader, who attended the ceremony in Berlin. “The chancellor was so excited to accept our award and genuinely pleased to be with our community. That is why she stayed for many pictures and the reception. This is unprecedented in the history of the events the chancellor has attended at AXICA.”

The J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding was established in 1993 by the Fulbright Association to recognize outstanding contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others. The inaugural Fulbright Prize was awarded to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Chancellor Merkel joins a list of impressive Prize Laureates, which also includes Jimmy Carter, Corazon Aquino, Mary Robinson, Bill and Melinda Gates, and others.

The Fulbright Association thanks its generous sponsors for making the 2018 Fulbright Prize ceremony a success. We are especially grateful to the University of Maryland University College, the Franz Collection, ASUS, Thrivent Financial, and Auburn University, as well as the National Capital Area and South Carolina Chapters of the Fulbright Association. We also thank the German-American Fulbright Commission for its partnership and support.

Click here to view photos of the event or view the full ceremony below.


January 31, 2019 3