News & Events

20 December 2022

Our highpoints of 2022, and building toward our 75th Anniversary by Executive Director, Maria Balinska

This December in London we brought together Fulbrighters recently returned from the US with a group of the postgraduate finalists departing for America next year. It was fascinating and energising to hear about the experiences people had in the US, on and off their host campuses. On top of discoveries in the archives and the lab, there were an impressive number of mountain peaks conquered and at least two long-term romances. As one person described their Fulbright time: “we did quite a lot of life.”   

Looking back on 2022 here at the US-UK Fulbright Commission I would say something similar – we did a lot of life in the past twelve months!

To begin with there was the excitement of returning to in-person events after Covid. For the first time in three years, we were able to welcome our American Fulbrighters to the UK in brick and mortar buildings and not on Zoom; USA College Day, our annual fair of American colleges and universities, returned to a West London hotel; our Sutton Trust US Programme students were able to spend time with one another in residentials across the UK and our Summer Institutes programme for American undergraduates saw students coming to universities in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  

In parallel to the restoration of normal activities, we also unrolled a whole new set of events and initiatives. Here are some highlights: 

  • In March Scottish and American alumni came together in Edinburgh to discuss the transformational impact of international education exchange and how we make sure that talent from every background and every community is able to participate in the Fulbright opportunity.
  • In June we held our first ever virtual conference for Fulbright Advisers from campuses across the US to connect directly with our UK partner universities.
  • As part of our strategic priority of widening participation through inclusive excellence, this spring we introduced a new option to UK student applicants. The Institute of International Education Placement Scheme provides Fulbright candidates with expert, personalised guidance to find an American university that is right for them academically and that can offer a supportive financial package.
  • Finally, I want to highlight our new Global Challenges Teaching Awards that fund and train pairs of professors – one in the US and one in the UK – to co-design and co-teach a virtual exchange on a given global challenge. In this inaugural year the challenges focused on were climate change, pandemics and racial justice and the paired universities were Cardiff and Shenandoah (climate change); Liverpool and Alabama (racial justice) and UC Santa Cruz and Queen Mary University of London (pandemics). We are excited to have launched these awards that have collaboration and dialogue at their very heart. It’s our hope that they will deepen and widen understanding of some of the critical problems facing humanity at the same time as promoting global citizenship and building sustainable relationships between scholars, students and universities across the Atlantic.

As we come to the end of 2022, we want to thank our alumni and our partners for everything you have contributed to making this year such a productive and innovative one. We’re looking forward to working with you next year, a very special year for us because we will be marking the 75th anniversary of the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

Seventy-five may be a venerable age but there is no diminishing of the urgency of our work. The Fulbright mission of advancing knowledge and building empathy and civic engagement through education exchange remains as important as ever.

Over the coming months, we will be celebrating the transformational stories of individual Fulbrighters and of the impact the wider Fulbright community has made on the world. We’ll also be looking ahead to our strategic priorities of widening participation in Fulbright programming and supporting our Fulbright community to tackle global challenges. 

In the meantime, from everyone at the Commission, our very warmest wishes for a peaceful and joyous holiday season,    

Maria Balinska, Executive Director