One of my favorite and most rewarding elements of my work is my relationship with the Belgian Fulbright Commission and the work we do on the Fulbright-Schuman, U.S.-EU grant program. This unique multilateral Fulbright program is a collaboration between the U.S. State Department and the European Commission here in Brussels. Each year students and scholars from the U.S. apply to this with plans to study or research in at least two EU member states, and citizens of EU member states with at least three months of experience in two or more EU member countries can apply to conduct research or study in the U.S.
“The program is unique because it understands that interdisciplinary and cross-cultural inquiry are essential to comprehend the complexities of national and global issues, and it provides scholars with the time and resources to actively contribute to these dialogues,” Prof. Dr. Michelle Frasher, Ph.D., a current Fulbright-Schuman Scholar in Malta and Belgium, recently told me.
The Fulbright-Schuman program has been around since 1990, and the new Executive Director has taken an amazing initiative over the last two years to put the word about this program out to EU and American citizens. As a result, this year we had a remarkable amount of applicants (over 250) and had to ask for a lot of help from the European Fulbright Commissions in all of the member states. I had the extraordinary opportunity last month to fly to Prague to thank the Executive Directors of the European Fulbright Commissions in person (as you can see in the photo – I’m at the far right), and to brainstorm on ways we can streamline and improve the program as it continues to grow.
If you’d be interested in doing an academic exchange that focuses on an aspect of the U.S.-EU relationship too, find out more at http://www.fulbrightschuman.eu/. For more information on Dr. Frasher’s work, you can read her blog or follow her on Twitter @michellefrasher.
By Courtney Collins, Education Specialist