CSUN to Host Fulbright’s 70th Anniversary Gala

The Valley Performing Arts Center will be the site of the 70th anniversary celebration of the Fulbright Program on Saturday, June 11.

The Valley Performing Arts Center will be the site of the 70th anniversary celebration of the Fulbright Program on Saturday, June 11.

More than 100 Fulbright Program alumni and supporters will join California State University, Northridge faculty at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 11, to celebrate the international educational exchange program’s 70th anniversary.

For seven decades, the Fulbright Program has fostered mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries. Over the years, dozens of CSUN faculty and students have taken part in the program to learn more about the world and to share their educational experiences. The celebration is expected to take place from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase CSUN, while at the same time celebrating an organization that in many ways embodies what CSUN is all about — fostering mutual understanding between people and impacting local communities and the world,” said Daisy Lemus, interim associate vice president for faculty affairs at the university.

The Fulbright Program is the leading international exchange program sponsored by the United State government. It is designed to provide students and professionals with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research worldwide. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides fellowships for U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. The program also offers a number of programs for professionals, including the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which offers opportunities for American scholars, artists and others to conduct research, lecture and/or consult with other scholars and institutions abroad.

In the last 40 years, more than 50 CSUN faculty have taken part in the program. Among them is mechanical engineering professor Nhut Tan Ho, who visited Vietnam as a Fulbright Scholar in the spring of 2008 to study ways to increase the effectiveness of teaching undergraduates studying engineering, computer science and physics. That one-semester project morphed into a four-year effort that has Ho regularly meeting with Vietnamese university and government officials to explore ways to revamp higher education in the country and to raise its standards to levels that are recognized by peer institutions around the world.

Another Fulbright alumnae is theater professor J’aime Morrison, who traveled to Portugal in 2010, where she taught a course in performance and the body and worked in collaboration with the Poet’s House in Lisbon on a dance-theatre piece based on the life and work of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Faculty aren’t the only ones who have taken advantage of the opportunities the Fulbright program offers.

At the moment, Cole Christie, who graduated from CSUN last year with a bachelor’s degree in management and a minor in geography, is in Malaysia working as an English teaching assistant.  Christie, a Fulbright Student Scholar, also is working with secondary education students to help them develop leadership skills and their ability to work with others. He is expected to remain in Malaysia until the end of this year.

The Fulbright Program’s goal is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating government and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.