Blogging, Community, Early Education, Education, Faith, Fate, Fulbright Program, German Heritage, German language, International community, Languages, Mainstreaming, Marathon training and running, Presidential election, Trisomy 21, Wimbledon
Now that I’m posting only two days a week rather than five — after meeting my goal of writing every day but weekends and holidays for a solid year — the topics about which I could write seem to be overabundant!
Here we are, for example, in the thick of Wimbledon. Do I offer thoughts about the surprises of the tournament that lasts two weeks and is the one time of year when I try to rearrange my life around tennis?
Should I share insights about how my husband and I are preparing our daughter for second grade — for most parents probably not a huge deal, but somewhat uncharted territory for a precocious child who is holding her own with other kids her age but who nonetheless was born with an extra chromosome. Is there more my husband and I should be doing? Is there less?
Perhaps some advice for my followers about wisdom I’ve gained training for my 19th marathon that is less than two weeks away?
Or do I reflect on the astonishing turn of events with the new occupants of the White House?
I’ll pick the latter but for this post only as it relates to a subject near and dear to my heart.
As it desperately tries to make itself credible in any possible way, the Trump administration has again made a proposal that defies logic: a 47% cut to the Fulbright program as one of many painful reductions to a State Department that is every day rapidly losing talent, purpose and meaning.
The program was launched by Sen. William J. Fulbright right after World War II to encourage global study, understanding, and constructive engagement with the world’s community of nations.
I think many of us are trying to figure out if Donald Trump is a nationalist, isolationist, or just breathtakingly shortsighted. I wish he knew some basic facts about Fulbright.
Over seven decades, some 370,000 people from 165 countries — Americans studying overseas, and men and women from other countries attending universities in the United States — have received Fulbrights. They include Nobel and Pulitzer prizewinners and former heads of state.
In the current budget year, 8,000 scholars from the United States have been funded by $235 million from the State Department to study abroad. The Trump administration hopes that amount will shrink to $125 million, much less than universities, governments of other nations, businesses and donors offer to maintain the Fulbright program.
I was once a young man who dreamed of studying and living in a German-speaking country to embrace my heritage and language of my forefathers and foremothers. To my great shock, I received a Fulbright to study in Austria for two years. I stayed for a few after that to work in an embassy. I still have poems from that time that I wrote in English, German, and French. Receiving the Fulbright changed my life. It made me strive to be a citizen of the world and inspired me to make a career of helping young people achieve their dreams through education.
There are thousands of former Fulbrights who have a more important voice than I, but I want to add my words to their efforts to lobby for full funding of the program, perhaps for even an increase, so the world has a better chance to advance.