Fulbright Ambassador Program

I may be involved with the Fulbright program again. I was nominated to be a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador for 2012-14. Now, I have no idea what that means, so I went to an orientation meeting in Washington D.C. last week and got the scoop. I took the picture you see to the right just in case it's my last opportunity.

What I found out is the Ambassador program was developed in 2009 as part of an outreach program on the part of CIES (Council for International Exchange of Scholars). Former Fulbrighters go out and talk about their experiences and what the Fulbright program is all about to audiences of interested people. Sounds easy, right?

Here's more. The Fulbright Ambassador program is a U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy program, although this, like the Fulbright Scholar experience itself, is not political. The program is still to promote "mutual understanding," and Ambassadors are educational and cultural ambassadors. Secondly, this effort that began in 2009 was part of trying to diversify the Fulbright applicant pool. Who knew but many people have the false idea that the Fulbright is for elites and is unattainable. Well, I am here to tell you that you do not need to be a tenured faculty member with a fancy PhD background. The Fulbright program is looking for regional diversity, cultural diversity, and institutional diversity.

On the left, I took a picture of some of the ideas tossed out by recent Fulbright Ambassadors on what to do or expect while "out in the field." All of these bullet points spoke to me and are useful but "People will come armed with excuses" is one I've already heard. Since I was awarded a Fulbright in early 2009, I've talked up the program with all sorts of people, especially non-traditional academics, also known as #alt-ac types, whom I feel would be perfect for a Fulbright. Most have some sort of excuse for why not to apply. People, if I get to do this Fulbright Ambassador thing, I am coming after YOU.

So, I really hope I can do this program. I will be the first in line to cheer-lead for Fulbright. The Fulbright experience is a remarkable program in countless ways. Oh, and I was put up at the Sofitel Hotel (TripAdvisor review) right next to #OccupyDC (before it was shut down).

More soon.