Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants Promote Citizen Diplomacy

Posted by Ann Stock
December 13, 2010

About the Author: Ann Stock is the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Last week, 418 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants packed the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the U.S. Department of State for their mid-year seminar. They hail from 49 countries and are teaching 31 languages at 230 colleges and universities in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The event was designed to help Fulbrighters share insights and anecdotes after their first semester of teaching in the United States.

I started a conversation with this energized group a week earlier on Twitter and it continued at our town-hall style discussion. Earlier that day, I met with the first six FLTAs from each region who tweeted me with a question or story about their experience in the United States. They are from China, France, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tunisia and each Fulbrighter added a unique perspective to this program.

And you could hear 418 voices filled with surprise as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton entered the room to thank this incredibly inspiring group for their commitment to creating mutual understanding.

These citizen diplomats teach English to scores of young people in their own country. Under the Fulbright Program, which is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' flagship international educational exchange, they travel to the United States for an academic year to teach their native languages to U.S. students, strengthen their English-speaking skills, learn about American culture, and share their culture and language with their American counterparts. At the conclusion of the school year, our FLTAs head home armed with new experiences and a stronger understanding of the English language to share in their classrooms and communities.

Check out Secretary Clinton's remarks to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantshere.

Let's keep this conversation going ! follow me on Twitter at AnnatState.

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