Last week, Fulbright Belgium and Luxembourg welcomed two very special guests from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in Washington D.C.: Mary Kirk, Director of the Office of Academic Exchange Programs and Micaela Iovine , Senior Program Officer in the Europe Programs Branch. After taking a walking tour of Brussels on Saturday, on Sunday Iovine and Kirk met with Fulbright executive directors from various European Fulbright commissions. These included Belgium and Luxembourg director Erica Lutes, Finland director Terhi Mölsä, Czech Republic director Hanka Ripkova, and former Fulbright Director from Belgium and Luxembourg Maggie Nicholson.
The rest of the week was filled with meetings with individuals ranging from ambassadors to alumni in both Brussels and Luxembourg. Monday’s activities began with a breakfast at the international law firm, Crowell & Moring, where many Fulbright alumni work or hold partnerships. Next, Iovine and Kirk visited the U.S. Mission to the E.U. where they were greeted by diplomats, attended a Fulbright-Schuman advisory meeting to consider the new nominees for grants and to review program policies and procedures. Afterwards, they convened with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Anthony Gardner, and finally met representatives of the European Commission, Claire Morel and Graham Wilkie. On Tuesday, they returned to the U.S. Mission to meet with the Belgium and Luxembourg Fulbright Board of Directors and met with U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Denise Campbell Bauer, Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Storella and Public Affairs Officer Lisbeth Keefe. Before heading to Luxembourg, Iovine, Kirk, and Lutes enjoyed lunch with Deputy Chief of the Mission Storella and guests from the U.S. Embassy and the Belgium and Luxembourg Fulbright Board.
In Luxembourg, Iovine, Kirk, and Lutes met with DCM Alison Shorter-Lawrence and Public Affairs Officer Carolyn Turpin, and PAO Assistant Stephanie Shaheen at the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg to discuss to discuss programmatic and fundraising issues. Later, the group discussed the future goals of the Luxembourg program with Josiane Laures from the Luxembourgian Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Shortly before the end of their stay in Luxembourg,discussed the value of the Fulbright experience over a lunch with three Fulbright alumni and a current American Fulbrighter before continuing on to Amsterdam for meetings with the Fulbright Commission in The Netherlands.