Tag Archives: Monica Swope

Chicago Winter Wonderland with 2020 Dee Sarelas Service Award recipients and Fulbright Program updates

Our 2021 Winter Wonderland and 2020 Dee Sarelas Service Award Ceremony went virtual this year.

By Suzanne McBrideDOZENS OF FULBRIGHTERS gathered virtually Jan. 28 to honor the 2020 Dee Sarelas Service Award recipients that included a past chapter president and a local group the Chicago chapter has partnered with over the years, and they got an update on the Fulbright program from the association’s national leader.

Fulbright Association Executive Director John Bader

Executive Director John Bader, joining the meeting from his home in suburban Washington, D.C., said the hope is the program, suspended in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, will “return to normal” in fall 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere, with the Southern Hemisphere restarting in early 2022.

Despite the program’s suspension, Congress continues to appropriate money for it – something Bader called “quite extraordinary.” He encouraged all members to join the association in advocating for the program, noting “it’s very important for us to continue to raise our voices.”

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, the Fulbright Association won’t be holding in-person advocacy days on Capitol Hill this spring as it normally does but will be asking members to participate in a digital advocacy campaign.

To mark the program’s 75th anniversary, the association is asking Fulbrighters to share their experiences. “We want to capture the full range of stories,” Bader said.

He also urged members to help promote global understanding with elementary and secondary students through the “Fulbright in the Classroom” program.

There’s no set curriculum, but the association has put together this toolkit. Members are encouraged to share their experiences as a Fulbrighter, including talking about the culture, food and music of the country in which they lived. Make sure after the visit – which are being held virtually – to complete this from and submit photos to the association.

Bader said when chapter grants resume, there will be a strong emphasis on interacting with underrepresented communities.


Monica Swope, the Chicago chapter’s first African American president, received the 2020 Dee Sarelas Service Award.

2018 Dee Sarelas Service Award winner Dr. Norma Green presents the 2020 award to Monica Swope.

The award was established in 2010 and is named for the founder of the Chicago chapter who died in 2007 at the age of 90; Dee Sarelas was a Fulbrighter in Greece. Swope, who had Fulbrights in Germany and Japan and is the founder of Learning Dimensions, is the eighth recipient.

For the first time, the Chicago chapter also honored an organization: World Chicago. President Peggy Parfenoff received the award on the group’s behalf.

Dr. Marilyn Susman, first Dee Sarelas Award winner in 2010 presents the 2020 award to World Chicago. This is the first year that the Dee Sarelas Service Award goes to an organization as well.

WorldChicago President Peggy Parfenoff accepts the recognition on behalf of the organization.


Attendees were entertained with the music of Chicago a Cappella, who performed three themes. Also 10 lucky winners shared in more than $300 in prizes awarded through a raffle.

Chicago Chapter board member Tatiana Orlova announces the first raffle winners.


  • Cupitol $25 gift card: Linda Jacobson
  • Amazon $50 gift card: Monica Swope
  • Cupitol $25 gift card: Ann Logue
  • Best Buy $50 gift card: Joan Miller
  • Cupitol $25 gift card: Lesby Velásquez
  • Starbucks $50 gift card: Jamie Truax
  • Cupitol $25 gift card: Erick Bertín Ortega Polito
  • Amazon $50 gift card: Ivan Adames
  • Fulbright gift basket: Peggy Parfenoff
  • Fulbright gift basket: Michael Schlesinger

Board member and Treasurer Adam Fuss announces the remaining winners of the raffle.

This was another opportunity to strengthen the Fulbright mission in our Chicago community.

Cultural Guides For Fulbright Scholars

Dinner and conversation among scholars from around the world are the main purpose of this annual activity

Fulbright scholars enjoying dinner at the Weber Grill Restaurant

ON MARCH 29, 2012, WordChicago invited the board members of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association to host Fulbright scholars to dinner, as part of the program it’s offered to these international professors and researchers, who are working in different cities  and universities across the United States.

Kari Burnett, Marilyn Susman, Don Garner, Cristina Sisson, Bruni Hirsch and Monica Swope acted as “Cultural Guides” for these Fulbrighters. WorldChicago assigns a number of professors and researchers to be taken for a night on the town and learn about what Chicago has to offer.

Fulbright Scholar with board members Monica Swope (center) and Kari Burnett (right)

Photos courtesy of Monica Swope

International Women’s Day and Fair at the Union League Club of Chicago

Dr. Joaquín Villegas, Monica Swope, Maria Petrova, Dr. Ana Gil-García, Kay McSpadden, Don Garner, Julie Oh and Ceyda Aykan

The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association participated in partnership with World Chicago in the celebration of the International Women’s Day that took place at the Union League Club of Chicago on March 7, 2011.

Board member Dr. Ana Gil-García and Elio Leturia, Fulbright Association, Chicago Chapter president

Our chapter also participated in the fair that started in the morning. During this time, board members had the opportunity to promote Fulbright and our chapter and distribute information about our activities and the Fulbright programs.  The fair was followed by a luncheon where keynote speaker Deborah L. DeHaas, gave a preentation “The Business Case for Diversity: Why Developing Women Leaders is Imperative to the Success of Global Companies” in which she discussed the important role of women in the corporate world and the efforts that are being made to offer them equal of opportunities.

Dr. Erika Cook, Maria Petrova, Monica Swope, Julie Oh, Ceyda Aykan and Kay McSpadden after the luncheon at the Union League Club of Chicago

Three current Fulbright students accepted our invitation to participate in the event. Ceyda Aykan, from Turkey, studies painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maria Petrova from Russia, who specializes in American Literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Julie Oh from Canada, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Scenes from the 2010 Spring Farewell and Dee Sarelas Service Award Ceremony

Students and guests enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres at the Spring Farewell event that took place at the Gleacher Center of the University of Chicago School of Business.

Our last Fulbright event was a complete success. On Saturday May 8, 2010 the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, the Institute of International Education (IIE), and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business held a reception for the Fulbright students and scholars who were going back to their countries after finishing with their programs.

The reception was followed by a presentation offered by by Richard H. Thaler,Ph.D. and Ayelet Fishbach, Ph.D, Professor of Behavioral Science Marketing and Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Also, the first Dee Sarelas Service Award ceremony took place that evening. This distinction was awarded to Marilyn Susman, for her invaluable work and service to the Fulbright community.

Marilyn Susman, winner of the first Dee Sarelas Service Award and Monica Swope, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association

Dr. Ayelet Fishbach and Dr. Richard H. Thaler with Monica Swope, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association

Norma Fay Green and Sharon Silverman with their diplomas awarded for their service to the Fulbright Chicago Chapter. Next to them, board member Linda Gruber and President Monica Swope.

Fulbright students pose with Megan Spillman, IIE Midwest Regional Center officer and Chicago Chapter President Monica Swope

After the reception, Fulbrighters and guests listen to the presentations by Dr. Richard H. Thaler and Dr. Ayelet Fishbach