First Chapter Leadership Conference takes place in Washington D.C. followed by the 2012 J. William Fulbright Prize Ceremony at the Library of Congress

Shaz Akram (center,) Special Executive Assistant discusses adjustments to the bylaws with other chapter leaders.

By Elio Leturia — FOR THE FIRST TIME, thanks to a grant from the State Department, the Fulbright Association gathered all the leaders of the 55 association chapters in the country at a leadership conference held in Washington D.C. on September 6 and 7, 2012.

Elio Leturia, Chicago Chapter President

“We have an ally in David Levin” said Shaz Akram, the association’s Special Assistant/Director, Chapter Relations, referring to Levin, Senior Program Manager in the Department’s of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, who serves serves as a Fulbright alumni liason.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the best leadership practices, tools for effective communication with Fulbright alumni, use of social media use and proposals to increase the membership of the various chapters in the country.

At present, the national association is in a transitional period.

Getting ready for the 2012 J, William Fulbright Award for Mutual Understanding at the Library of Congress

Mary Ellen Schmider is temporarily in charge of the association as the Executive Director, while the position is being filled. Dr. Schmider addressed the audience saying that there have been various efforts of reorganization in which stands a complete redesign of the website, user-friendly, more modern and easier to navigate, which has been in charge of Sarah Sears, Senior Membership Director.

The J. William Fulbright Prize Ceremony took place at the Library of Congress

Ms. Fulbright talking to Aaron Pratts from the National Capital Area Chapter

The tight training program culminated in a ceremony held in the Library of Congress in which awarded the 2012 William J. Fulbright International Understanding  was awarded to Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières.) Dr. Patricia Krebs, Fulbright Association President highlighted the work of the organization that in 1999 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The reception took place at of the Library of Congress with magnificent views of the Capitol and the Washington Monument

“This is the first time the Prize has been given to an organization rather than to individuals,” Krebs said. “Doctors without Borders was a unanimous first choice of the International Selection Committee because of the shared goals of the two organizations in promoting global understanding and humanitarian principles.” The award is $50,000.

Francis Gatluak, MSF Coordinator, and Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF International President received the award.

Delicious hors d’oeuvres and varied drinks were offered at the celebration

Magnificent view of the Capitol Building during the Award Ceremony at the Library of Congress.

Photos by Elio Leturia

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