Review of the Fulbright Panel at SNSPA Conference

SNSPA1Fulbrighters old and new were well represented at a recent conference hosted by SNSPA.  The conference, “The Impact of New Technology on the Media Landscape” (May 27-28) included 2 days of talks on how online news sources, social media, blogs, and Twitter among others are impacting the way people obtain information The conference was a collaborative effort between SNSPA and the Cox Center for International Mass Communication, based in Georgia, U.S.A.  The final session of the conference was a panel discussion entitled, “The Fulbright Program and the Long Term Effects of Educational Exchanges”.

On the panel were Rodica Mihaila, Executive Director of the Romanian-US Fulbright Commission and alumna of the program; Anne Murray, current Fulbright Scholar at SNSPA; Lee Becker, Director of the Cox International Center and Fulbright alumnus; and Tudor Vlad, Associate Director of the Cox International Center and Fulbright Alumnus.  The panel was moderated by Nicoleta Corbu, Dean of the College of Communication and Public Relations, SNSPA, and also an alumna of the Fulbright program.  Dr. Mihaila began by setting context, providing some current figures for recipients of the award both for US to Romania and Romania to the US.  She also compared those figures with data specific to SNSPA and encouraged more SNSPA faculty and students to apply as they seem to be relatively underrepresented.

A common theme among the panel members was the idea that Fulbright is a life-changing experience and impacts many aspects of one’s life.  The relationships begun when Dr. Corbu went to Georgia as a Fulbrighter serve as the basis for the current conference, itself part of a 10-year collaborative effort.  Dr. Vlad joked that he was a “Fulbright failure” because he did not return to Romania; he has now been at the University of Georgia for 14 years.  Dr. Becker talked of the many professional relationships he has developed both via his own experience with Fulbright, but also as a host to scholars going to the US from other countries.  He also told of seeing evidence in his grandchildren of the benefits of his daughter having attended school in Germany during his Fulbright year.  Dr. Murray talked of an impact in 3 disparate areas: her teaching; a creative collaboration; and benefits accrued to her dependent daughter.  

The Fulbright experience represented by members in the room spanned more than the quarter century being celebrated this month by the Romanian-US Fulbright Commission.  As alumni spoke of their valuable and unique – while shared – experiences, sparks were clearly being ignited within those in attendance.  A number of students and faculty members took the opportunity to pose questions and follow up with the speakers during the lunch that followed.
Review by Anne Murray, U.S. Fulbright Scholar

My fulbright experience

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Students at the advising center

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Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission

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