Cover story

Fulbright Scholars Share their Experiences at the 2008 APA Annual Convention

Mrs. Fulbright encouraged upcoming Fulbrighters and emphasized how support for the program would allow countless numbers of scholars to continue contributing to their discipline and to international understanding by encouraging vital scholarly exchange.

The gathering of over a hundred Fulbright scholars from the United States and across the world gave this year’s convention attendees a rare opportunity to discover more about what it takes to teach and study overseas. US faculty and students who went abroad as Fulbright scholars and students as well as international colleagues who came to the US as Fulbrighters over the last 10 years were invited to Boston. They were asked to prepare information on their international experiences and to provide insight on how others could find their own paths toward learning and teaching in international settings. As a continuation of APA’s broader initiative to reach out to psychologists around the world, (in 2007, presidents of national psychology associations were invited to attend the APA convention in San Francisco ) this year’s international focus was particularly engaging.

In addition to the Fulbrighters, APA welcomed colleagues the groups that run the Fulbright programs, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) and the Institute of International Education (IIE). In addition, the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) an international alumni association across the sciences, also came to explain and promote international collaboration. A highlight of the Fulbright events was a visit by Harriet Mayor Fulbright, president of the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center and the widow of the late Senator Fulbright, for whom the program is named. Mrs. Fulbright encouraged upcoming Fulbrighters and emphasized how support for the program would allow countless numbers of scholars to continue contributing to their discipline and to international understanding by encouraging vital scholarly exchange.

Those who attended the convention enthusiastically promoted their exchange experiences and forged ideas for new collaborations. Followup plans are now being made to continue the enthusiasm generated in Boston to future conventions and international programs. “I was very grateful to the APA for the recognition they showed to the Fulbright scholars, said Fulbright scholar Jefferson Singer, PhD. “It seemed to me a great way to promote the concern for international issues and international collaboration. Recognizing the Fulbright scholars at the ceremony and poster sessions was a great way to get the word out and to allow for exchange among present and past Fulbright scholars.” Another Fulbright scholar, Cindy Lahar, stated, "The APA convention was a terrific opportunity to meet other Fulbrighters. Learning about many different psychology projects in countries around the world was inspirational for many of us. I believe that some of us made connections there that will lead to visits to psychology departments in areas of the world we may never have thought of visiting."

Those unable to attend the convention can view the abstracts of many of the Fulbrighters as well as a slideshow of images. In addition to this, a collection of Fulbright interviews in the form of podcasts will be available online, at the same site in 2009, as an ongoing resource for those who would like to learn in more detail about their individual experiences on what it takes to be a Fulbright scholar. Ψ