In this episode you will learn about Fulbright and the international exchange programs. To participate in an exchange program means to express optimism, and in a way, to celebrate life and beauty in the world. But it is no obvious why it would still be necessary to invest in exchange programs today, when we can see far away places on our screens, ever more realistically, and we can talk to people and see them no matter where they are. We can connect, learn, discuss, decide, without leaving our office or home. One could say that it’s nice to travel, for leisure, it’s fun. But how come governments all over the world invest in exchange programs that cost money and resources, and they do that on a large scale? What is the benefit at national level? When are the fruits of this investment going to be ready?
Rick A. Ruth is Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He is a specialist in international exchange programs, and in this episode he explains what it means to work with international exchange programs: why they are a powerful force for peace and understanding, and why people who work in this field tend to be optimists. The effects of bringing people together “on the basis of mutual respect” has long lasting effects.
“Whoever does them, these programs have a transformational effect on people. And one of the reasons that we’ve always been fortunate to have a lot of support from the American people and the American Congress is because they know, that they understand that when we conduct exchanges it’s our country putting its best foot forward, with our values and the better angels of our nature.”
The episode was originally published on this page.
Featured image credit: Federica Bressan