Afghan 'Fulbrighters' visit Arkansas campus

The University of Arkansas (UA) recently gave 80 visitors from Afghanistan a closer look at life in America.

The visitors are part of the U.S. Department of State-sponsored Fulbright Program -- hence their nickname, "Fulbrighters" -- and just a few of the 8,000 Fulbrighters from around the world chosen to build their leaderships skills, relationships and knowledge in order to assist with the long-term interests of the United States and the world. Sixty Fulbrighters came to UA last year.

The group was hosted by the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science and the Spring International Language Center. While visiting, they got to see a statue of Fulbright and visit the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

Fulbright College Dean Todd Shields said the visit coincided with the program’s 70th anniversary.

"Sen. Fulbright founded the exchange program to increase mutual understanding between people of different countries and cultures, so having these Fulbrighters visit his namesake college is incredibly meaningful and also embodies our mission of 'Peace through Education,' ” he said.

The Fulbright students, who study at other universities across the country, interacted with Arkansas citizens and graduate students while attending presentations from State Department officials and others.

The exchange also raised awareness of Afghan culture among U.S. citizens, according to Leyah Bergman-Lanier, director of the Spring International Language Center.

"It's exciting that even more students came this year, and our goal was to help empower each Fulbrighter as they acclimate to their new surroundings, and to inspire them as they take on their roles as leaders and change agents in their home communities,” she said.

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