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One to World Fulbright Awards Dinner

Jul 09, 2013 Written by  Akela Lacy, Contributor

On May 22nd at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom, three groundbreakers in international relations-building were honored for their work by One to World, an organization aimed at fostering intercultural understanding and designated by the U.S. State Department as the official Coordinator of Enrichment Programs for Fulbright grantees in the New York area.

While writing the legislation which would eventually create the Fulbright Scholars program, Senator J. William Fulbright specified enrichment services “as key components of the Fulbright program”, opening the door for One to World’s founding in 1977. One to World provides extensive programming to connect Fulbright grantees with communities in New York through classroom engagement, conferences with members of the armed forces, volunteer community service projects, career networking, and visits with ordinary families. In their Global Classroom program, One to World brings Fulbright grantees into K-12 public schools in New York to connect communities and share international perspectives in what is for some a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

At their annual awards dinner Harriet Mayor Fulbright, the late Senator Fulbright’s wife, serves as Honorary Chair, overseeing the presentation of awards to honorees by Fulbright grantees. This year Gianluigi Esposito, Suan Carmel Lehrman, Isaac Shapiro, and Dr. David Steinberg were honored for their work in furthering cultural understanding across Europe, Russia, Japan, and Southeast Asia respectively.

On the impact of continuing to value intercultural communication, awardee Susan Lehrman spoke from her point of view as founder and chair of American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture, remarking that “real change must come from the heart, and I sincerely believe that the greatest tool for understanding people and reaching their hearts and minds is through their culture.” One to World places immense value on the simple idea that a forum for communication can break down stereotypes and misconceptions that impede understanding on the individual as well as the international level. “By continuing to emphasize the importance of these cultural common bonds” Lehrman said, organizations like One to World, their colleagues, and recognized honorees are “making an investment in future generations that will be paid back immediately, as well as ten-fold over the long term.”

This article was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier's July/August 2013 print edition.

Photo, from left to right: Wenke Thoman Sterns, Afdaniels Mabingo, Isaac Shapiro, Gianluigi Esposito, Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Susan Carmel Lehrman, Dr. David Steinberg, Cristina Gonta, Elmir Gurbanov, and Deborah Gifford. By Ira Fox.

Last modified on Monday, 22 July 2013 00:58


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