As a part of our Fulbright seminar in D.C., an amazing couple hosted me and two fellow scholars for dinner.From left: Idrissa Fane(Mali), Efe Sevin(Turkey), Alejandro Rico(Colombia), Daisy, Mary Beth Marklein, Peter Kunkel
Apart from Peter’s amazing culinary abilities, the quick city tour, Mary Beth’s own Fulbright experiences in Romania and Daisy’s curiosity; we enjoyed a lively discussion about the effectiveness of foreign Fulbright program. As Dr. Snow (yes, I have to cite her in every piece I write) “millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent to host these visitors”, I wanted to learn more about their perceptions. Both of our hosts were enthusiastic about hosting us for a dinner, but what do they think about the fact that their tax dollars were spent on graduate students?
Peter spent a few years in Colombia, employed by the U.S. government and Mary Beth was a Fulbright scholar in Romania. In other words, they both had first hand experience about “cultural exchanges”. They were happy about the fact that people wanted to visit U.S. and somehow had the opportunity to see the culture themselves.
During that dinner, we have discussed the importance of exposure to other cultures. Frankly speaking, exposure to a different culture, being aware that there are other people living in other countries is an important step. And public diplomacy can be focused on this very noble aim, creating communication bridges between people!
Once again, I would like to thank Mary Beth and Peter for their incredible hospitality!