A new year has started, and we all are very excited about all the opportunities 2022 will bring for our program participants. At the beginning of 2021, we were full of hope that the race against COVID-19 would be successful. We hoped that this would be the year in which we would overcome the pandemic. Now, with the beginning of 2022, we see that the marathon continues. The good news is that our program participants and we are well prepared for whatever awaits us. In times of uncertainty around the globe, it is important we remind ourselves that we are all in this together. It is essential to focus on what unites us and to cherish what we can learn from each other. In this spirit, we will continue to promote mutual understanding, knowledge, peace, and empathy—the Fulbright Program's core values—on both sides of the Atlantic. Values that were celebrated during the 75th anniversary of the global Fulbright Program.
So, I would like to welcome you to 2022. After the holiday seasons, Fulbright Austria and all our partners are excited to welcome back our cohort of program participants who started in fall 2021. Furthermore, we are excited to meet the incoming US scholars of the spring cohort here in Austria, who will arrive in February. They are currently preparing for their travel to Austria at a very special time. Join me in congratulating them for their dedication to the Fulbright mission and wishing them all the best with their endeavors in Austria. In particular, in the light of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, our program participants’ health and safety is our greatest concern. In times in which we have to deal with new COVID-19 mutations, it is even more important that we focus on what is in our control to fight this pandemic and support the community.
At the beginning of the year, I would like to use the opportunity to ask you to take a moment and pause to honor the members of the community we lost in the previous year. At the end of 2021, we were informed about the death of another bright mind. Fulbright Austria is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of the 2020–21 Fulbright-IMC University of Applied Sciences Visiting Professor Byron Marlowe. We are grateful for all our community members’ unique contributions and share our deepest sympathies with their families, friends, and colleagues. We are also deeply thankful for the donations we continue to receive in honor of the community members we have lost.
With this beginning of a new year, it is also a good time to reflect on the new opportunities for the future that were created in 2021. We are grateful that our institutional partners renewed their commitment to the program, ensuring that Fulbright Austria is again in the position to offer more than 27 hyphenated awards for 2022–23. It is wonderful that our long-term partners, such as the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies, and the Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, have committed to funding their respective hyphenated awards for multiple years. In addition, we have a new partnership to celebrate. The Medical University of Innsbruck joined the Fulbright Austria community to establish the Fulbright-Medical University of Innsbruck partnership award, which will allow bright minds in the field of life science and medical science to teach and do research in Innsbruck. Another new partnership was established with Lafayette College, thereby creating a new opening for an Austrian FLTA at their campus in Easton, Pennsylvania. This highlights that even when a pandemic keeps people apart, the Fulbright spirit continues to burn bright and connect us.
In closing, I wish all of us a happy 2022 full of health, joy, and opportunities.