I received a Fulbright to study public nutrition in Germany in 2011. That experience allowed me to learn another language, explore another culture, and share my slice of America with another continent. I was one of roughly 1,600 American scholars who receive funding each year.
I know several friends in other countries who hope to receive Fulbright grants to study in the US and join 4,000 students from around the world who aspire to benefit from our universities and develop skills that can support their homelands and enrich the United States as well.
Foreign aid and diplomatic outreach are among the most effective and worthy projects undertaken by our national government. It’s easy to cut a bridge that doesn’t land in a constituent’s back yard, but those bridges are what ennoble America and tie it to the aspirations of people around the world.
If we become a guns and butter country, unwilling to lift people towards their dreams because they weren’t born American, then we will have failed the vision that we hold dear. Our city on a hill will loom, not welcome; fester, not flourish.
We owe it to future generations to support a positive American presence in the world. 8,000 people each year are brighter, wiser, and stronger thanks to the support of the American government and a world’s worth of partners.
The world isn’t ready for our light to go softly behind walls of ignorance and insouciance. In this age of doubt, distrust, and despair, connections made between different peoples are among the beacons of light that keep our world aglow in possibilities for a better tomorrow.