Remarks at the Fulbright Farewell Reception

Good evening.  I’m so happy to participate in another Fulbright event – this time to bid farewell to the American Fulbright grantees who are completing their year in Hungary and to celebrate their marvelous academic achievements.  This event is also an occasion to extend best wishes to the departing Hungarian grantees whose Fulbright experience is about to begin.  It is such an honor to be among such esteemed scholars and talented researchers, who excel in a broad range of academic disciplines from humanities to the “hard” sciences to the social sciences.  This event, simple and informal as it is, bears testimony to the strong ties between the U.S. Embassy and the Fulbright Commission and, more broadly, between the United States and Hungary.

Just this morning, I gave a speech at the General Assembly of the European Federation for Intercultural Learning, in which I highlighted the U.S Department of State’s 75 years of international exchanges, which are a testament to the importance of intercultural learning.  I hope you found – or will find – your Fulbright experience mind-broadening in every sense of the word.  And I also hope that you consider the knowledge and experience you acquired through Fulbright to be not only your personal and professional gain, but also an asset to your broader communities.  As de facto “intercultural ambassadors”, having learned first-hand about different cultures and people-to-people exchanges, you have a responsibility for expanding the impact of your experiences by sharing them with your colleagues, your students and your friends.

I’m confident that your unique perspectives and extensive knowledge have been or will be a great addition to your host institutions.   Please stay in touch with your counterparts in Hungary and in the United States, and please continue to nurture that famous Fulbright spirit.

I know that some of you have already had a productive orientation day earlier today, and all of you are geared up for lots of wonderful adventures to come, whether academic, professional, personal or cultural.  It’s time to celebrate – here, together.  Congratulations again, and best wishes – continue to make us proud!