The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) sponsors enrichment seminars, conferences and workshops across the United States as part of its flagship Fulbright Program. These enrichment activities, an integral part of the Fulbright experience, benefit the more than 800 Fulbright Visiting Scholars, who are faculty and professionals from over 155 countries that have received Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and university lecturing in the United States, and support the Fulbright Program’s overall mission – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the enrichment seminar program under the guidance of and in consultation with ECA.
Enrichment activities are primarily conducted outside of the formal academic program and day-to-day work setting. The goals of these enrichment programs are to:
- Build cross-cultural understanding through activities that highlight U.S. culture and history, including the diversity of the U.S. and of its people, at the local, state, regional and national levels
- Expand professional and social networks to create a stronger Fulbright community
- Create opportunities for the development of professional and leadership skills
- Promote community service activities to increase the spirit of volunteerism and facilitate interactions with diverse segments of U.S. society
- Strengthen national and global alumni networks
- Expand outreach to promote the Fulbright Program and highlight its impact
Fulbright Visiting Scholar Enrichment activities consist of local activities in key areas with large numbers of Fulbright Visiting Scholars and seminars, which are academic conferences built around a topic of shared global importance. There are three seminars throughout the academic year that consist of interactive discussions, community service projects and local cultural activities. Through local experts (such as public, private and/or non-profit leaders) and members of the academic community, the seminar presents different perspectives on the selected topic. Through community outreach activities and discussions, Fulbright Visiting Scholars learn how the selected topic impacts communities in the U.S. (specifically the host city) and explore its impact on their own home countries.