Conference Invitation

January 21, 2016

Dear colleagues,

The last Europe-wide meeting for the Fulbright Program took place over a decade ago.   Today I am delighted to invite you to our 2016 European Fulbright Conference, Crossing Borders for Global Partnerships, which will be held in Helsinki June 19-22, 2016.

The conference is aimed at Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) from both Commission and non-Commission countries, as well as at Fulbright Commission Executive Directors (EDs).  We will take a comprehensive look at state of the Fulbright Program throughout Europe and discuss such key topics as keeping Fulbright diverse and competitive, telling the Fulbright story, and encouraging best practices in a wide variety of areas, including cross-border initiatives.  I’ve attached a copy of our draft agenda (developed in cooperation with the European ED Executive Committee) to give you a better idea of what we are hoping to cover.  Speakers and panelists will be added later.

We strongly encourage every PAO and ED to attend; if you’re not able to, please send a deputy.   It is absolutely optimal for every country in the region be represented.  You will have the opportunity to meet with colleagues from ECA, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR), the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).

The Finnish Fulbright Center, led by ED Terhi Mölsä, will be handling the logistics for the meeting in Helsinki.  They have already set up a website for the Conference where all logistical as well as program information will be posted:  http://www.fulbright.fi/en/fulbright-conferences/2016-european-fulbright-conference-crossing-borders-global-partnerships . The site will be continuously updated as information becomes available.

At this point I would ask you to do two things:

1. Please confirm your intention to attend via the following brief survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FulbrightEUR.  Please respond as soon as possible, and in any event no later than February 5, 2016.  We will use the contact information you provide through this survey to send you further information about the conference.

2. Everyone except EDs: please reserve your hotel using the Hilton registration link provided below. In order to secure your hotel room and take advantage of special conference pricing, please register as soon as possible, and no later than February 5, 2016.  As for the EDs, please only respond to the survey above and be sure to give your arrival and departure dates; the Fulbright Center will take care of ED hotel reservations separately.

About the venue: we will be in Helsinki at the best time of year, right before Midsummer.  The hotel is located on the waterfront, convenient to the center of town, but private enough to provide us with the perfect setting for two and a half days of work, discussions and cultural activities.

We will have room for exhibits in the main conference hall.  We encourage Commissions, Posts, and cooperating agencies to prepare poster presentations about your best practices, success stories, outreach materials, sample publications, etc. – anything that you’d like to share with your colleagues from throughout Europe.  Terhi and her team will provide further instructions.

Again, I hope that all of you will be able to attend and ask you to register using the link above as soon as possible.  If you have logistical questions about anything in Helsinki, please contact Event Assistant Maija Kettunen at the Fulbright Center in Finland at maija.kettunen@fulbright.fi.  ECA Program Officer Joseph McCormick will be handling the arrangements on behalf of  my office, so do not hesitate to address your questions to him as well at McCormickJT@state.gov.

I look forward to seeing you all in Helsinki.

Best regards,

Mary

Mary E. Kirk
Director, Office of Academic Exchange Programs
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State