60th Anniversary Celebration of the Finnish Fulbright Program

60th Anniversary Celebration of the Finnish Fulbright Program at the Finnish Embassy in Washington D.C., March 26, 2012.

The year 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Fulbright agreement between the governments of Finland and the United States. The agreement, signed on July 2, 1952, made it possible for Americans to discover Finland on Fulbright grants, and to join the tradition of the Finnish ASLA grantees that had begun two years earlier. The anniversary year has been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Finlandia hall at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. was full of both new and old Fulbrighters in late March when Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde hosted a celebration for the friends of Fulbright Finland, Fulbright alumni and the Finnish Fulbright study tour participants. Ambassador Koukku-Ronde congratulated the long running program and thanked the alumni for maintaining the vigor of the transatlantic relations. The Atlantic Echo with Fulbright alumnus Michael Holmes (second from left) performed traditional Finnish songs at the 60th Anniversary reception at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C.

Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde

- The Program and the alumni really deserve all of our appreciation for the magnificent work they are doing, said Ambassador Koukku-Ronde in her speech.

The evening at the Finnish Embassy included exchange of stories of experiences in Finland, music, speeches and poetry reading and, of course, Finnish delicacies.




Friends of Fulbright Finland launches a fund raising campaign to endow a new grant for American alumni of the Finnish Fulbright Program.

The good news came at a dinner and reception held March 26th at the Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC.  Guests at the reception and dinner included 17 of our alumni and “avecs” :  Tanya Allen (1998), Christian Benefiel and Elizabeth Preston Moorshead (2010),  Roger and Marja Booker (1974), Henry (Hank) and Kari Bullamore (2000), Mariam Jean Dreher (2005), Ben Hedrick (2009), Michael Holmes (2001), Lynn Lahti-Hommeyer (2009), Kay J. Kohl (2010), Kenneth and Jane Kolson (2006), Mackenzie Lind (2010), Suzanne Louis (2001), Geoffrey McGovern (2008), Joshua Meltzer (2002), Barbara Mossberg (1982 & 1990), Margaret and Gerry Schueman (1996), Catherine Schuler (2004).

Fulbright alumni gathered for a photo.

Michael Holmes and his quartet, Atlantic Echo, brought tears to the eyes of those present with their heartfelt rendition of Sibelius’ Finlandia, as well as several other Finnish folk and tango tunes.  Barbara Mossberg closed the evening with a reading of her poetry inspired by her Finnish experience, I Carry Finland, and It Is Light.

Suzanne Louis made the announcement that Friends of Fulbright Finland plans to fund a new Fulbright Center grant program and is launching a campaign to raise money in support of the endowment for this purpose.  The grant will assist an American alumnus of the Finnish Fulbright Program to return to Finland to renew and invigorate academic and professional connections.  Ken Kolson established the precedent of giving the first gift to the Alumni Fund last year, thereby affirming that the project would have support from its own alumni.

Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde very graciously hosted the evening to honor alumni of the Fulbright program in Finland and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Finnish-American academic exchanges through Fulbright. She emphasized the value of alumni in maintaining the program’s vigor. Terhi Mölsä, Fulbright Center Executive Director, offered an overview of the highlights of the Fulbright program in Finland.  Its history in fact commences just after World War I, when Finland received a loan from the US for rebuilding the country.  Fast forward to 1976 and the remaining loan payments were made as a lump sum which was used to create the Trust Fund that exists today and will help to finance the Fulbright program in Finland in perpetuity.  During the six decades that Finland has participated in the Fulbright program, over 1 500 Americans have had a Finnish Fulbright experience…that’s a lot of alumni!

More pictures from the event can be found here.