Fulbright Canada Celebrates 20 Years of Excellence
Since 1990 Fulbright Canada has supported some of the best and brightest minds in Canada and the United States. Over 1200 students and scholars have participated in the prestigious residential, academic and cultural exchange program. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Fulbright Canada, the Foundation engaged many of its key stakeholders (alumni, government partners, and universities) in a series of activities and events throughout 2010. The highlight of these celebrations was the 20th Anniversary “Celebration of Excellence” gala dinner, and the 20th anniversary lecture series. The latter included the Fulbright Canada “Directing the Power of Human Knowledge” lecture series and the Fulbright Canada-University of Southern California “New Directions in Public Diplomacy” lecture series. Both series featured internationally recognized speakers, who gave lectures in Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, and Washington, and addressed some of the major challenges facing Canada and the United States.
20th Anniversary “Celebration of Excellence” gala dinner
On September 23, 2010, Fulbright Canada celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. The event involved nearly 400 guests, including nearly 100 alumni from the Fulbright and Killam programs, current and former Fulbright Canada board members, university representatives, government officials, individuals from Fulbright Canada’s partner associations and organizations, along with a number of special guests.
We were very pleased to have Mr. David Jacobson , the Ambassador of the United States to Canada, as well as the Honourable Peter Van Loan , Minister of International Trade, who offered welcoming remarks and reflected on the important partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the U.S. State Department, and Fulbright Canada. The opening reception, hosted by both governments, set the tone of partnership and success for the remainder of the evening.
The dinner was complemented by a compelling and heartfelt keynote lecture delivered by Dr. Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, Fulbright alumna and recipient of the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Award. Following a moving introduction by Fulbright Canada Board Chair Roscoe Howard , Dr. Simmons relayed her story of success and overcoming adversity, emphasizing the power and importance of international educational opportunities.
20th Anniversary Public Lecture Series
The Fulbright Canada-University of Southern California New Directions in Public Diplomacy lecture series was launched on April 6th, 2010 with a lecture entitled “Understanding the Power and Purpose of Exchange Diplomacy” by Fulbright Canada CEO and political science professor, Dr. Michael Hawes. The second lecture in the series was presented by former Consul General to Los Angeles, Colin Robertson, speaking on: “Practicing Public Policy: A Canadian Perspective”. The lecture series concluded in September with a lecture by Ron Diebert, the Director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, who delivered a lecture entitled: “The Hidden Geopolitics of Cyberspace.” All presentations were well-received by the students, faculty and members of the local community. The lecture by Ron Diebert filled the theatre and stimulated excellent discussion amongst the participants. The purpose of the Fulbright Canada-University of Southern California “New Directions in Public Diplomacy” lecture series was to engage the public diplomacy community at USC and celebrate a strong partnership.
The second of our 20th Anniversary lecture series was the Fulbright Canada “Directing the Power of Knowledge” Lecture Series. The first lecture in this series took place in Toronto on June 1st, 2010 at the Design Exchange, and featured Dr. Robert Pozen, economist and author of the best-selling book Too Big to Save . The event was attended by Fulbright Canada board members, alumni, and leaders from the Toronto business community. The second lecture in the series took place in Boston on September 15th, and featured McGill Principal, Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum. She delivered a lecture entitled: “Innovation and Higher Education: The Canada-U.S. Story.” The event drew a capacity crowd to the historic Boston College Club in downtown Boston, and stimulated considerable debate and discussion.
Finally, to coincide with the meeting of the Fulbright Canada Board of Directors in Washington, the third lecture in the series was held on November 18th at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. The lecture, delivered by Jeff Rubin, economist and author of Why your world is about to get a whole lot smaller , was entitled: “Oil politics, regionalism and the end of globalization.” Rubin’s lecture offered an interesting take on the future of resource relations in North America.
These lectures are a quintessential example of Fulbright Canada’s continuing efforts to realize Senator J. William Fulbright’s goal of bringing, “a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs.” We at the Foundation strongly believe that these events play an important role in strengthening the friendship between the people of Canada and the people of the United States.
The 20th Anniversary celebrations provided Fulbright Canada with an excellent opportunity to re-connect with the more than 1200 alumni of the program. The Community Leadership Program was launched that enabled Fulbright Canada alumni, in communities across North America, to come together to complete a project with a lasting beneficial impact on the community. Fulbright Canada’s 20th Anniversary year also saw the launch of the Fulbright Canada Mentorship Program that partners alumni of the program with incoming Fulbright scholars, providing the new scholars with counsel on everything from housing to academic issues to re-integration. During 2010, Fulbright Canada also hosted a contest for alumni, asking them to tell their “Fulbright story”. The contest produced dozens of fantastic entries, and in the end, six stories were awarded prizes .