The Nebraska Chapter will join 49 other chapters across the U.S., and will provide scholars, alumni and staff opportunities for networking, professional development, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and community service, said Wael ElRayes, Ph.D., instructor in the UNMC College of Public Health and also the Fulbright Scholar liaison for UNMC. Nebraska was one of the few states and regions in the U.S. that did not have a Fulbright chapter.
Dr. ElRayes worked with other Nebraskans interested in putting together a chapter: Elizabeth Lange, coordinator, national recognition & awards, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Lucy Morrison, director, honors program, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Organizing meetings were held in Omaha and Lincoln, after which the official charter was signed with the national Fulbright Association.
"Fulbright is all about building bridges between the American people and people of the world. I see our local chapter continuing to build those bridges, sending more Nebraskans to different part of the world and getting people from all over the world to Nebraska," he said.
The chapter board will meet monthly and different committees will meet based on individual schedules. The group plans to hold at least four different activities a year. Dr. ElRayes said that officers will be elected in a meeting in Omaha this month.
For the future, the Nebraska Chapter members hope to connect with communities throughout Nebraska to promote the Fulbright Programs. "We want to engage in activities that benefit the community, build on the mission of Fulbright and inform people on the message we want to deliver," he said.
Jordan Bradford, manager of membership and chapter relations at the national office, said the establishment of the Nebraska Chapter is a "testament to the dedication of Fulbrighters in the state. The Fulbright Association would not inclusive without the commitment of alumni and friends who see a need and answer the call to bring the Fulbright network to all areas of the country."