Fulbright Alumni Lunch Series Continues

Fulbright alumni_lunch   The Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg welcomed local Fulbright Schuman alumnae to our Brussels office for lunch on Monday, July 8th to discuss Fulbright and career experiences, as well as to network with one another. Executive Director Erica Lutes and Program Manager Ali Edelstein, along with interns Ethan Mapes and Mike Nelson, sat down with Fulbright alumnae Vanessa Ricci, Costanza Hermanin and Francine Cunningham. These three women, who were each in the United States on Fulbright grants during different years, share the same passion for international education and have experienced firsthand the enormous educational and personal growth opportunities which can be found through studying abroad. Vanessa Ricci, an Italian national who studied EU Law at the University of California Berkeley as a 2008-09 grantee of the Fulbright Schuman program, discussed the manner with which her studies contributed to her current career at the European Commission where she serves as a Project Manager in the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Francine Cunningham shared stories from her time as a Fulbright Schuman grantee at the Harvard Kennedy School during the later years of the Clinton Administration, and discussed her current role as Executive Director of the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association.   Francine’s husband is also a Fulbright Belgium alumnus in the field of Journalism. The two are a great pair to help promote Fulbright’s Journalism grant. Constanza Hermanin of the Open Societies Foundation discussed the importance of her current work in combatting racism and discrimination in EU member states, as well as shared her recent experiences researching on a Fulbright grant at both Columbia University and the University of California Berkeley during 2010-11. We also learned that she may serve as a fantastic resource in regard to our newly launched Fulbright NATO Award, sponsored by The Commission in conjunction with NATO and the College of Europe. Ms. Hermanin has many valuable contacts in the NATO community, and will likely be able to assist our office in spreading the word about this incredible new award opportunity. This goes to show that everyone in the Fulbright community can help one another in furthering their careers, ambitions and overall positive goals.   The Commission is currently in the process of reaching out to as many Fulbright alumni as possible, and similarly, connecting alumni and current grantees. During this lunch we were able to discuss the possibility of alumni such as these women acting as ‘alumni contacts’ for new Fulbright grantees. We were able to pair them each with a new Fulbright grantee arriving from the United States in the coming months, and that person will in turn have the comfort of a friendly, like-minded local to show them around. We look forward to continue connecting local alumni in both the United States and Belgium with new Fulbright grantees.   The Commission plans to host many similar events in the near future so that we may continue connecting local leaders and learning about the tremendously positive work being done around the world and in the Belgian community by Fulbright alumni.   Photo: Erica Lutes and Costanza Hermanin Discuss Potential Fulbright Programming Opportunities]]>