By David J. Smith, November 15, 2015
The 38th Annual Fulbright Assocation (FA) Conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 12-14. Founded in 1977, FA is the official alumni association for those who have participated in the Fulbright Program. About 200 individuals attended the meeting.
This year’s theme was “Creating Pathways to Peace.” It featured five core impact areas: economic development and entrepreneurship, global health, international education, peace-making and conflict resolution, and sustainability. During the conference, attendees interested in these various impact areas met to brainstorm and consider programs and initiatives that could be undertaken.
I was asked to convene the peace-making and conflict resolution group. About ten of us met during lunch on 11/13 to consider what we might focus on related to peace-making and conflict resolution. I suggested to the group that we consider “peacebuilding” as a more apt approach to considering peace. Within a few weeks, our group will consider a vision, strategies, and identify allies that might support our work.
That afternoon, I moderated a panel for a session titled “Sustaining the Fulbright Peace Dividend” which looked at ways to continue to promote peace through our experiences as Fulbrighters. The panel included Mike Gallagher, who teaches at Heritage High School in Littleton, CO and works in Turkey during the symmer as a teacher trainer for Planet ELT and Hillside Press. He presented on “The Smiling Face of Islam or ‘Religious Pluralism.'” Marcia Rosal from Florida State University shared her experiences developing an art therapy program designed to deal with trauma. Her presentation was titled “Art for Life: Art Therapists Respond to Disaster Events.” Finally, Kim Kronenberg talked about the STEP-GTP program. She is associate director of the Science Training Encouraging Peace – Graduate Training Program which works with Israeli and Palestinian professionals. A number of other sessions during the program focused on peace-making themes.