Dear Fellow Fulbrighter,
Like all of you, I have watched with alarm, concern, and heartbreak as conditions in Afghanistan continue to unravel. The return of a repressive regime that is hostile to women, religious freedom, and universal education is abhorrent to our community. Fulbrighters believe that the world is better when we build people-to-people relationships, so we are outraged when regimes restrict those relationships and threaten violence to anyone who questions, explores, and disagrees.
More specifically, the Fulbright Association—its members, chapters, volunteers, Board, and national staff—stands with all those affiliated with the Fulbright Program in Afghanistan. We are concerned for Afghans now on a grant in the U.S. and their families back home, those who administer the Program there, American alumni who have friends in-country, and especially Afghan alumni and their families who now face an uncertain and even dangerous future.
We are taking action. We have already reached out to partners and allies in the Department of State. Every member of Congress will receive our letter on Monday, drawing their attention to the plight of these Program affiliates. We want to ensure that Fulbrighters remain high on the list of those who may need evacuation, asylum, and other forms of support.
I can report that the Department of State has taken many actions to protect Afghan Fulbrighters, such as ensuring their anonymity, determining their needs, and connecting them to the DOS Task Force on Afghans at risk. They are contacting all alumni to offer assistance. Afghan Fulbrighters are highly connected and supporting each other. Nearly all the current Afghan cohort has arrived in the U.S. or is in transit.
Note that, as Afghanistan does not have a Fulbright commission, the Program is supported there by the U.S. Embassy, which is obviously under great strain. Also note that the Program does not send U.S. Students to Afghanistan, so there are no current American student Fulbrighters to evacuate. We will continue to monitor this highly fluid situation, ready to take whatever actions we can and passing on to you more opportunities to help Afghan students and scholars.
In the meantime, you can help:
You well know that the situation in Afghanistan is volatile and dangerous. Our fellow Fulbrighters are in peril, as is the impact and future of the Program there. Do what you can to help, keep the Fulbright light lifted high, and pray that the suffering people of Afghanistan will see better days.
Yours in solidarity,
Fulbright to India