This summer, International Programs has experienced two Fulbright “firsts”– brought to us via International Programs’ International Student & Scholar Services.
Below, reprinted from its web site with the permission of the Fulbright Association, is their report of our first Fulbright story:
Washington, DC (July 1, 2009) – The Fulbright Association announced today that it will hold elections for the Board of Directors of a new statewide chapter in Iowa. All interested Fulbright Association members in good standing may submit narrative bios and information about their reasons for seeking a leadership position with the Iowa Chapter here.
Chapter elections follow an inaugural event hosted by the University of Iowa on June 29. Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa, Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of international programs, and Jane L. Anderson, Fulbright Association executive director, spoke to Fulbright alumni and friends from Ames, Bettendorf, Burlington, Des Moines, Fairfield, Hudson, Iowa City, North Liberty, Oxford, Waterloo, and Williamsburg. Among educational institutions represented were Drake University, Iowa State University, St. Ambrose University, Solon High School, Southeastern Community College and the University of Iowa.
“Our aim is for a university education or a higher education career to be transformative, and the Fulbright Program plays an important part in making that happen for many people…. I am very excited at the prospect of forming an Iowa Chapter…. I think that it’s about time that institutions in Iowa take advantage of the incredible Fulbright experiences our people have had and connect them together for continued mutual benefit for many years to come,” said President Mason.
“This meeting provided a strong foundation for our Iowa Chapter of the Fulbright Association, as we saw the commitment of Iowans from throughout the state and with a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds. Iowa colleges and universities host several dozen Fulbright students and scholars annually, and this chapter will not only support these visitors, but also provide more opportunities for our foreign Fulbright participants to share their backgrounds and experiences more widely,” said Scott E. King (Germany 1993, Japan 2002), the director of international students and scholars at the University of Iowa.
On June 30 Ms. Anderson and eight Fulbright alumni met staff of Senators Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin in Cedar Rapids and of Representative Dave Loebsack in Iowa City to discuss the Fulbright Program’s importance to Iowa.
In a message to Iowa Fulbright alumni, Representative Loebsack (Mexico 1983, Brazil 1987) said, “I believe programs that increase understanding and interactions between and among countries are a vital means to connect our graduates and students with the rest of the world….. The Fulbright Program is truly a beacon of light for many people around the world.” For the full text of his message and other information on the Fulbright Program in Iowa, please visit here.
The Fulbright Program, an international educational exchange initiative, was created in 1946 by legislation sponsored by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The U.S. Department of State administers Fulbright exchanges between the United States and more than 150 other countries. There are more than 275,000 Fulbright alumni throughout the world.
The Fulbright Association is a private, nonprofit organization of Fulbright alumni and friends committed to advancing international education and people-to-people diplomacy. It has 46 other chapters throughout the United States and collaborates with more than 70 sister Fulbright alumni organizations abroad.
The second Fulbright story is about an event that is yet to come-the Fulbright Gateway Orientation. The University of Iowa is among only 8 institutions in the U.S. chosen through a competitive solicited bids process to provide an orientation for up to 60 incoming Fulbright students who will be attending institutions throughout the nation.
This orientation is a benefit made available by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The orientation provides an overview of Fulbright goals and traditions and aims to instill a Fulbright identity among students. It provides sessions on survival skills for graduate study and an understanding of current issues in U.S. society with the goal of assisting students in developing an understanding of U.S. social values for successful intercultural communication in their host communities.
The Gateway Orientation has no language component and has been designed for students who have an advanced level of English language proficiency. There will be three main components to the orientation: Academic Skills, Graduate Student Life and Cross-Cultural Awareness. Academic skills will include sessions on the U.S. Academic System, Academic Integrity and Research Skills. Graduate student life will focus on topics essential to graduate student adjustment such as stress management, legal rights as a non-citizen and getting settled including tips on banking and housing. Cross-cultural awareness will consist of a workshop that focuses on understanding both academic and American culture.
Students will arrive at The University of Iowa on Monday, August 31, and will depart on Friday, September 4. Dean Downing Thomas has extended a welcome to all of them, on the web site dedicated to these incoming students:
International Programs connects UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public to the world. Our degrees and certificates, scholarships, and programming offer remarkable opportunities on campus and abroad, generate intellectual excitement, heighten cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge.
International Programs has an ambitious vision for global education at The University of Iowa. Our goal is for every UI student to reach global competence through life-changing experiences, both on and off campus. Global competence is the key to every citizen’s future. It ranges from a basic understanding of global conditions to foreign language proficiency to an ability to function confidently in multiple cultural environments and value systems. Globalization affects every walk of life, from the arts to the health professions, and from business to government. The American Council on Education has recently affirmed that “instilling global competence should be recognized as part of the core education of all American citizens in the 21st century, along with reading, writing, math, science and history.” This is in part because when citizens are able to function confidently in diverse environments and value systems, those abilities become the foundation for the economic and political well-being of the State. Multicultural perspectives and global competencies go hand in hand. Accordingly, internationalization also fosters personal and academic enrichment and provides new perspectives on one’s home country and home. This is as true for Iowans who travel abroad as it is for our international visitors. As you arrive in Iowa, you, too, will begin this journey.
Almost a quarter of all students who leave their home countries to seek higher education abroad end up in the U.S. The University of Iowa currently hosts over 2300 international students form well over 100 countries; and sends over 1200 students abroad every year. Through these exchanges, The University of Iowa has become a university of the 21st century-a University without borders.
See also: Fulbright program Launches Statewide Affiliate in Iowa 
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