35th Fulbright Association Conference
The 35th Fulbright Association Annual Conference took place in London this October. Over three days, alumni from all over the world participated in presentations, discus- sions and Q&A sessions centred around the conference theme “Fulbrighters Minding the Gaps (and Bridging Them)!” Some delegates also participated in a pre-conference meeting between European and American Fulbright alumni associations, aiming to to share best practice ideas to make Fulbright alumni associations more effective in terms of membership growth and fundraising. The discussions of the meeting resulted in the drafting of a ‘London Accord’ between all associations represented, which will be finalised and signed in the coming months.
Delegates enjoyed the many talks that were given over the course of the conference.
Other highlights of the conference included the annual Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture, which was delivered by Josephine Dorado on the theme of “Instant Online Collaboration: Just Add Dance!”. A social entrepreneur, strategist, producer and educator whose work focuses on innovation in hybrid online spaces, Dorado initiated the Kidz Connect program, which is a virtual cultural exchange program that connects youth internationally through creative collaboration and theatrical performance in virtual worlds.
The Conference itself opened the following day with an economics and finance perspective with the first plenary discussion. The panel included international experts Dr Ben Broadbent (Bank of England), Krishna Guha (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Rainer Riess (Deutsche Boerse AG), and Dr Charles J. Whalen (London School of Economics). The theme of bridging gaps was also approached from the perspectve of diversity and global inclusion in the 21st Century with a thought-provoking address from Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice in the House of Lords, about multiculturalism in the UK. Other speakers included John Nagl, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and an influential expert in counter-insurgency, whose fascinating talk, “People, Technology and War”, prompted a great many questions from the floor.
At the BFSA-hosted closing night Banquet.
The 35th Annual Conference was brought to a close with the a Banquet hosted by the BFSA. Themed “The Four Nations of the British Isles: Celebrating Distinct Heritages and Common Allegiances” the banquet featured a menu that reflected cuisines from around the British Isles. Music was provided by a folk band, Tir Eolas, who played traditional pieces from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Banquet also included a photographic display by Alibhe Greaney, a Fulbright alumna (School of Visual Arts, 2000). Alibhe is currently a lecturer in Photography at the University of Ulster, Belfast, and her work has been published and exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Vicki Watts, then BFSA Chair, giving welcoming address at the Closing Banquet.
The 2012 Fulbright Association Conference was rounded off by the BFSA Annual Lecture which took place at the University of Oxford on Sunday 21st October.