Farewell message from Chicago Chapter President Elio Leturia

ELIO LETURIA, AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR in the Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago, and a Peruvian Fulbrighter to the U.S in 1990, ended his two-year presidency with the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association. This is his farewell message that was given at the Winter Holiday event and Dee Sarelas Service Award Ceremony on December 7, 2012.

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“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of Fulbright.

It’s my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Winter Holidays event and the Dee Sarelas Service Award Ceremony that takes place this evening.

As many of you know, this is the end of my second year as the President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Being president has been such an honor, to be in the company of such great human beings and smart minds! And even this honor has come with lots of work, it was always a delight to meet so many of you and confirm the great privilege which is to be a Fulbrighter, to be in the company of people from all over the world and to reaffirm one of the goals of Senator J. William Fulbright which is to build bridges of understanding among people from everywhere through getting to know each other and seeing how similar all of us are.

During these past two years we have been able to put together numerous events that have given us the opportunity for learning and conviviality. But all has not only been engaging get-togethers. We have also reached out to the younger generations through our initiative “Bring the World to the Classroom” where incoming Fulbrighters go to different schools from the Chicago Public Schools system to showcase our cultures. In my case, it was such a joy when I visited Ogden International School to tell students what Peru, my country of origin, is.

We have also been able to deliver approximately 2,000 books to different schools and universities thanks to the Book Donation Partnership that Dr. Ana Gil García, a dear board member and past Fulbright Association president started five years ago. During these five years countries like Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Egypt have received those books.

I want to thank Megan Spillman and her team at the Institute of International Education, Lexy Gore and our partnership with World Chicago, and my Fulbright board: Thomas Ahleman, Cristina Sisson, Ron Harvey, Kari Burnett, Don Garner, Ana Gil-García, Stephen Hill, Bruni Hirsch, Heidi Rockwell, Jason Romano, Dolores Rinke and Marilyn Susman. I also want to mention Linda Gruber, a past board member who keeps helping us. Without their dedication and collaboration any of these programs and activities would be possible. I am happy to say that we are the fourth largest, out of 55, chapter in the country and one of the most active and involved in our communities. And it’s the hard work of the board that makes it possible.”

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