Mekiya joined the Fulbright Association in 2022.
When and where did your Fulbright take place? What did you do during your grant year?
I haven’t done a Fulbright yet, but I hope to apply in the future. I’m a novelist with an interest in a range of genres including international literary fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction, all of which can demand months or years of intensive, on-site research of the kind that Fulbright grants fund.
How has your Fulbright experience impacted your life and career?
My experience has consisted mostly of meeting Fulbrighters, which has been life-changing in and of itself. I lived for seven years in Arkansas, and that could easily have been a repressive experience, but thanks to all the Fulbrighters I met there, I continued to feel connected to the international community and inspired to go on learning, growing, pushing beyond my comfort zone, and keeping up with all the extraordinary things that leaders and scholars are up to around the world.
What is your most memorable experience as a Fulbright Association member?
My membership in the Association is still quite young, but even before I joined, I had the privilege of supporting my life partner, Itto Outini, as she’s worked to get the new chapter Fulbrighters with Disabilities up and running. I currently serve as the chapter’s communications specialist, and it’s been a joy to coordinate with the board members, the Fulbright Association, and the Fulbright community at large, publicizing the chapter’s work and its goals for the future.
Have you met any Fulbright alumni as a Fulbright Association member?
I’ve had the honor of meeting many Fulbright alumni, most notably Itto and our mutual friend Tri Murniati, who played a pivotal role in introducing us and continues to support us and share opportunities whenever she can. That’s probably what I most admire about all the Fulbrighters I’ve met: the eagerness with which they support one another and the people around them and manifest the guiding ethic of peace through education with selflessness and generosity.