News & Events
Some of you may have happened upon it already but if you haven’t, have a mooch around our new site after you've read this article. It’s been a labour of love over recent months and while many organisations might refer to their website as their ‘shopfront’, we see ours more akin to that of a library with detailed application processes requiring significant and comprehensive content and the potential to navigate among our extensive stacks. While honouring our national identities represented by the red, white, and blue, we've also embraced new colours in our 75th logo, reflecting our dedication to progress and evolution beyond the borders of our two nations.
A regular milestone in the Commission’s calendar is our annual Forum event, bringing together our 2022/23 US cohort of postgraduate and scholar grantees to the UK, over a number of days to support a meeting of minds and networks that will last way beyond the life of the award. This year we hosted them in Northern Ireland, touring Belfast, visiting the Peace Murals, the Giants Causeway and the Corrymeela Reconciliation Centre where under the guidance of its former director, Fulbrighter Derick Wilson, we heard more about what they do and the Nurturing Hope project. Derick also spoke at our 75th anniversary discussion at Ulster Museum on Friday 31st March. He was joined by fellow Fulbrighters, Paul Lee (M.Phil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, Trinity College Dublin) and Katelyn Barnes (PG award in Global Security & Borders, QUB) who Chaired a panel discussion between public theologian, civil & community activist Lucas Johnson, Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, Monica McWilliams, and Youth Programmes Manager at the inspirational R-City, Pierce McConnell. Following the discussion, we gathered with partners from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University to celebrate 75 years of education exchange at our Evening Reception at QUB’s Great Hall against the backdrop of the Belfast Community Gospel Choir’s uplifting harmonies that chime with the message of positivity and hope the forthcoming Good Friday Agreement commemorations signal. Photos to come very soon!
In other news, our Advising team are gearing up to welcoming UK high school students to a preparatory residential at Nottingham University next month, prior to them going to the US for a week in July as part of our Sutton Trust US programme. Now in its eleventh year, ‘STUP’ offers talented 16 – 17 year old state school students from lower income backgrounds the opportunity to explore studying at leading US colleges and universities and see if it is the right fit for them. In the opposite direction of travel, applications for our Summer Institutes programme totaled 680 for 36 spaces at one of five UK universities offering US undergraduates a 3 – 4 week induction to academic, social and cultural life in the UK. The calibre of applicants has been humbling, as ever, and demonstrate not just academic dedication & ambition but formidable civic engagement in extra-curricular activities. All this makes the selection process for our reading panels very challenging but also very inspiring.
In alumni news and on the subject of reading panels, in a recent US postgraduate interview, two panellists, Libby and Brian informed programme manager Bakari Ukuu that they met during their UK Fulbright year in 2017/18 and are now married, a wedding that included other members of their cohort that they’re still close to. A tribute to the transformational and enduring connections a Fulbright experience can bestow, it seems the sense of ‘family’ our networks can achieve should never be underestimated!
To mark Women's History Month, we highlight the work many of our grantees and alumni are undertaking in specialist areas of research and delivery, raising awareness and building dialogue beyond closeted spaces and this month, our Communications Assistant Marina Martinez unpicks the issue of Menstrual Justice with Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Marcy Karin, currently studying at the University of Edinburgh in our Fulbrighter spotlight feature.
Writer and Director Laura Ferri, recipient of the Queen’s University Belfast award in Creative Writing 2021/22, shares news of her play "The Ruins of Memory: Women's Voices of the Holocaust," which premiered in October 2022 and places the unheard oral histories of women survivors at the fore of what the Seattle Times described as “a performative tapestry that celebrates the strength and triumph of the human spirit, even in the face of unimaginable horror” Seattle Times. There will be a reading of sections of the play at the Remember the Women Institute's annual "Women, Theatre and the Holocaust YomHaShaoh" program in NYC on the 20th of April, 2023.
Staci Strobl and Sammi Buzzard, recipients of our Global Challenges Teaching Awards, which supports teaching faculty on both sides of the Atlantic to co-deliver a virtual exchange course for undergraduate students, get a shout out in Shenandoah’s University News on the success of their programme exploring climate change. Across the pond, Queen Mary University of London recognized its 2022/23 winners of Education Excellence Awards and President & Principal Prizes, celebrating innovative approaches to implementing teaching excellence and engagement through co-creation. Again, US-UK Fulbright’s Global Challenges Teaching Award featured in the award of the President and Principal’s Prize, recognising Dr Jonathan Kennedy, Danielle Thibodeau and Ceri Bevan for the development of a virtual exchange program between global public health students and pre-med students at UC Santa Cruz, which focused on the theme of pandemics.
On a similar theme, Imperial College London hosted an International Scholarship Reception on March 21 and the new president, Hugh Brady, met with current grantee, Darius Graham, who is undertaking his postgraduate studies in Public Health. 6 months into post, Hugh Brady, discusses his ambitions for ICL with Dr Jess Wade and the reasoning behind undertaking a new strategic direction at a time ‘when the confluence of stresses and pressures on the world’ emphasise the role ICL can play in meeting global challenges and particularly, public health crisis.
Two of our current grantees Gretchen Coleman and Judith Fortunova-Russell were nominated to attend the EU-NATO seminar hosted by the Fulbright commission in Brussels between 28 February and 4th March leaving Gretchen with the following reflection: “This week has been a highlight of my Fulbright experience so far, and it has really helped me contextualize what I’ve learned in the UK. Before I arrived in Manchester, my work in elections was limited to the US, and learning about British elections has really broadened how I understand democratic processes. It was fascinating to see this expanded even further to a supranational level with the European Parliament — both in terms of the political implications and its democratic legitimacy”.
And lastly, we extend congratulations to Dr Nick Axten who advocates for a ‘long, hard think’. Dr Axten was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in 1970 for a PhD in mathematical sociology at the University of Pittsburgh but returned to the UK without completing his studies. “What I was trying to do in the early 70s was exceptionally difficult. Some problems are so great it takes the best part of a lifetime to get your head around them. They need a long hard think. This one has taken me 50 years." Dr Axten’s research builds on the ideas he was working on in America five decades ago and presents a new theory for understanding human behavior based on the values each person holds; a perspective that Dr Axten believes has the potential to change our view of behavioural psychology.
We love to hear your news and stories, particularly any memories you’d like to share that help us celebrate our 75th anniversary. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you're up to.
On the subject of staying in touch, it seems that the US-UK Fulbright office has been subject to an issue with Gmail accounts being blocked by Outlook recipients – if you’ve tried to email us in recent weeks and your messages have pinged back, do try to alert us through the contact form on our website. It’s an issue beyond our control, occurring on a global scale, and we’re doing everything we can to get the folks who can, to resolve the situation.