It is spring, a time full of new beginnings, a time in which we start new journeys and leave the coldness of the winter behind us. The days are getting longer and warmer. Walking by the blossoming apricot trees, we can feel the beauty of these fresh starts. In this precious time, we are confronted with the dark side of the human condition—the cruel and heartless face of war. In these times, European Fulbright commissions stand in strong solidarity with the people of Ukraine and condemn the Russian assault in violation of international law and human rights.
When war is so close to our borders, we are reminded what is in the core, the DNA of the Fulbright Program: to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations. Fulbright alums in Europe do what is in their power to support the people of Ukraine who are fleeing their country, be it within their personal networks or through donations or in-kind contributions.
The friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations to which the Fulbright Program is committed are maintained by individuals who dedicate themselves to promoting mutual understanding. We are proud of our outgoing 2022–23 Austrian Fulbright students, who are receiving their decision letters from US universities, and of our outgoing 2022–23 Austrian FLTAs, who are beginning to make initial contact with their host institutions. Our incoming 2022–23 USTAs are receiving their acceptance letters and discovering in which Austrian secondary schools they will teach in the upcoming program year.
Our 2022–23 US students are in the middle of their research and are joined by the spring cohort of US Fulbright scholars, who started to pursue their academic projects and teaching activities in Austrian institutions. Their dedication goes way beyond their academic project and teaching activities in the classrooms. They act as cultural ambassadors by sharing their knowledge with the community through mentoring and public lectures. In the last weeks, we have had the honor of promoting the 2022 Fulbright lecture given by Jana K. Lipman at the Diplomatic Academy and a public presentation by artists-in-residence at the Q21/MQ introduced by US Fulbright scholar Donna Dodson. These activities do not end with the grant period. Our 2021–22 US alums joined us to share their experience in alum chats or presented their work here in Austria—as our 2020–21 Fulbright-Q21/MuseumsQuartier artist-in-residence Yuliya Lanina did through her participation in the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Film Festival 2022. These activities highlight the long-lasting impact of the contributions made by our institutional partners and sponsors. Follow us on our social-media channels and our website to learn about further opportunities to interact with our program participants.
We are particularly excited about our community event for our Fulbrighters—the 2022 Virtual Fulbright Seminar in American Studies—where our current US grantees will share their research with our outgoing Austrian grantees in lectures, group work, and poster sessions, giving them the chance to discuss their findings and experiences with their peers in a supportive environment.
A key event for our community is the 2022 SummerFest, which will be held at Arena21 in the MuseumsQuartier on 24 May 2022. This year, we commemorate Fulbright Austria administering the US Teaching Assistantship Program on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) for the past 60 years. We are looking forward to seeing you there.
Finally, I would like circle back to the beginning of this short text. In the current situation, the themes of the 75th anniversary of the global Fulbright Program become even more important: connecting a complex and changing world to foster friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations. Each of us is called upon to turn these words into actions. As Marcus Aurelius once said, “Waste no more time arguing what a good [person] should be. Be one.”