Counselor for Public Affairs, Aruna Amirthanayagam, delivered opening remarks on the opening day of the 13th Annual Fulbright Alumni Association Conference and the commemoration the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright program. While addressing the audience at the two-day conference, comprised of Fulbright alumni, students and representatives of government institutions, Amirthanayagam highlighted the words of Senator Fulbright in 1979 demonstrating the key role that the Fulbright program plays in U.S foreign policy, “Education exchange is not merely one of those nice but marginal activities in which we engage in international affairs, but rather, from the standpoint of future world peace and order, probably the most important and potentially rewarding of our foreign policy activities.”
Aptly themed “Education, Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment” the conference, which is taking place during the international education week, will feature paper presentations from Fulbright alumni on the topics of education, entrepreneurship and youth empowerment. On the second day of the conference, the Fulbright alumni will host mentoring session with students from seven universities around the F.C.T.
Over the years, more than one thousand Nigerians have participated in the Fulbright program and the Fulbright boasts of more than 360,000 alumni globally. Alumni have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners, heads of State, Secretary General of the United Nations, Scientists and Researchers. Recognizing the unique perspective that the Fulbright provides alumni to make comparisons, and invent new solutions, Amirthanayagam charged the alumni not to settle for the status quo and “to hold the system accountable, and when necessary, work for change.”