We have officially started the 2021–22 program year with the orientations for our students, scholars, and US teaching assistants (USTAs). It is exciting that we have had the chance to welcome and meet in person with our new US students and scholars in Austria. During the past 20 months of the pandemic, we really missed the opportunities to meet and connect with our community. So having that opportunity during orientation was a very thrilling opportunity for the entire Fulbright Austria team. It felt so wonderful to celebrate their start in Austria with them. With the start of this new program year, we want to honor what the Fulbright journey is all about: Strengthening human connections and bringing Austrian and US citizens a bit closer together.
This is exactly what our new community members exemplify with their actions and dedication to the program’s core values. During the 2021–22 program year, we will welcome 89 Fulbrighters and 151 US teaching assistants to our transatlantic community. In times were COVID-19 and it is many variants represent a challenge on both sides of the Atlantic, I want to congratulate them all for the courage and dedication they showed by starting their Fulbright journey.
It is fantastic that we are back to normal numbers, and I want thank all program participants for the trust they put in Fulbright Austria—we will do what is in our power to make this program year an extraordinary opportunity for all of them. But we are not alone in this endeavor; we have good friends and strong partners who stand with us and our program participants. I would like to thank them for their renewed commitment to the program and for helping us create these outstanding opportunities for our program participants.
In this program year, we are very excited to have Fulbright-Schuman grantees in our community. The Fulbright Schuman Program, funded by the US State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, is managed by the Fulbright commission in Brussels. Since its inception in 1990, this distinct program has created opportunities for both citizens of EU member states and US citizens to conduct research in the US and the EU, respectively. This program year, one US student and one US scholar were selected to conduct their research in Austria under the auspices of the Fulbright-Schuman Program. In addition, one Austrian student and one Austrian scholar were selected to perform their projects in the US. We are looking forward to seeing how they enrich out Fulbright Austria community with their expertise.
In September we had a homecoming event for our returning Austrian Fulbrighters to welcome them to our alum community. It was wonderful to learn about their Fulbright experiences and the impact of their time in the US. I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for sharing your personal Fulbright Austria stories with us and our community.
In the near future, we are looking forward to Austria’s Fulbright Country Day and to Thank #Fulbright75 – Thanksgiving, two events where we will celebrate the global Fulbright Program's 75th anniversary and our community with all of you. I hope to see you soon in person.