Associate Professor Speaks at WorldChicago Diplomacy Summit on Fulbright Fellowship Experience – The Columbia Chronicle

On the sixth floor of the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., prospective students and international Fulbright alumni gather for a panel discussion on the importance of exchange programs. Irvin Ibarra

At the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, guests and speakers from around the world gathered for the regional Diplomacy Begins Here Summit for the first time in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Hosted by WorldChicago in partnership with the US Department of State and Global Ties US, Elio Leturia, associate professor in the Department of Communication, spoke at a panel on July 22 about his experience as a Fulbright scholarship recipient.

The “US Department of State and Exchanges” panel focused on culture exchanges such as the Fulbright program offered by the Department of State.

The Fulbright Program and Fellowship provides resources for recipients study, teach or work professionally in another country. This program, which has a network of more than 160 countries, is offered to students, teachers and artists.

Leturia first joined the Fulbright Foreign Program from his hometown of Lima, Peru to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1990 to 1992.

As a faculty liaison for Fulbright at Columbia, Leturia also helps prospective graduates and instructors apply.

Associate Professor Elio Leturia talks about some of the cultural differences he has witnessed between the United States and Spain. Irvin Ibarra

During his second time with the Fulbright Scholar Program, Leturia taught a multimedia storytelling workshop at the University of Málaga in Spain for five months during the Spring semester 2022.

With some changes in the “Visual Communication” course he teaches at Columbia, through the Leturia workshop taught the basics of visual communication with the aim of combining interviewing, writing, photography, graphic design, web design and even animation leading to a final collaborative project.

“[Fulbright] opens your eyes to a new culture,” Leturia said. “It allows you to meet new people and develop lasting friendships and very useful contacts.”

Another Fulbright panelist and recipient was Payge Jennings, U.S. alumni coordinator with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Alumni Affairs.

“I was super excited to hear about all the different ways I can get involved and take my international experience to the next level,” Jennings said. “[If] you wonder why you haven’t heard [Fulbright] … you’re not too late for the party.

A round of applause filled the room for the panelists and their work presented at the end of the roundtable. Irvin Ibarra

Alison Moylan, deputy director of the Bureau of International Visitors in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said the summit and international exchanges directly contribute to U.S. foreign policy by building and developing a network of international relations.

“We must be the best ambassadors of the United States each time we visit [other countries]”, Leturia said. “We need to engage in meaningful conversations to get to know them and debunk all these myths they have about the United States, about Americans.”

Sharing a conversation with his Spanish students on outings throughout his visit, Leturia said they were afraid to visit the United States because of gun violence.

“I thought the best way [to explain] was to tell them the truth and then share with them what they don’t see,” Leturia said.

The Fulbright Program offers a wide range of scholarships and international exchange opportunities, ranging from the Fulbright Foreign Student Program to the Fulbright Scholar Program and more.

Applications for the 2023-2024 Fulbright US Student Program scholarship cycle are open until October 11.


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