Transatlantic resistance to isolationism

An open letter from the Fulbrighter Alliance to our fellow Americans, and to academic communities in the US and UK.

The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is an enduring alliance based on our shared commitment to representative government and human rights. Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent visit to Washington, D.C., as the first world leader to meet President Donald J. Trump, has once again affirmed the importance of this partnership.

We, members of the 2016–2017 cohort of the US-UK Fulbright exchange programme, recognize that we have been mantled with an incredible honor to study as guests of our British universities and to act as US cultural ambassadors to the UK during a unique time in our countries’ shared history.

While much uncertainty and international concern surround recent US government decisions on immigration, we seek to impress upon the international academic community and our fellow Americans, this, our clear resolve: In the face of unprecedented challenge, your cultural ambassadors are proud to remain in your service.

We stand in support of our fellow Americans who, with collective resistance to a tide of isolationism, now rally to the defense of our country’s most vulnerable residents. The admirable patriotism shown in these actions allow this body of scholars to represent American values with the utmost pride on an international stage.

As public servants, veterans, academics, scientists and artists, we represent the diverse array of backgrounds so characteristic of our nation’s story. Among our cohort, a student who once sought political asylum in the US now pursues a master’s degree at the University of York’s Center for Applied Human Rights. Another student studies Sports Psychology at University of Stirling to augment her practice of social work with immigrant communities in New York. A third student is undertaking a master’s degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in hopes of improving the security of refugee and host communities worldwide. These few examples typify the interdisciplinary and multicultural outlook of a vast body of scholars who serve as the face of America abroad.

With our British counterparts, we are proud to strengthen the alliance between our respective communities which now fight to protect the inalienable rights of their residents and citizens. Recognizing that our countries are historically and presently tied to a common destiny, this cohort remains devoted to building cultural bridges between those who seek justice and peace on both sides of an ocean.

While the signatories of this statement do not purport to speak on behalf of the entire cohort of Fulbright scholars and alumni, nor on behalf of the US-UK Fulbright Commission or the U.S. Department of State in any official capacity, it is our group’s great pleasure to reaffirm the vision of the original Fulbright mission.

It is in this spirit, we entreat the academic communities of the US and UK to find inspiration in the words of US Senator J. William Fulbright, as they discern their unique roles in such challenging times: “Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”

In solidarity with our immigrant communities and those who defend them,

Kurt Bassuener, University of St. Andrews

Aurimas Bukauskas, University of Bath

Julie Burrill, King’s College London

Rebecca Carter, University of Leeds

Manisha Chase, Institute of Education, University College London

James Riley Cruttenden, University of Glasgow

Michael Donatti, University of Bristol

Garrett Dowd, University College London

Alisha Dua, University College London

Candace Evilsizor, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Emilio E. Feijóo, University of Essex

Nathalie Folkerts, University of Reading

Daniel Fonner, University of Warwick

Ella Fornari, University of Nottingham

Samantha Franks, Durham University

Roxanne Guildford, University of Exeter

Rae Hodge, Cardiff University

Matthew Kirkegaard, University of East Anglia

Madeleine Laitz, Imperial College London

Shannon Laribo, University of Kent

Ta-Wei Lin, University College London

Madison McGrew, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Alexandra Odom, Queen Mary, University of London

Precious Patterson, Newcastle University

Justin Pendleton, University of Manchester

Kenther R. Ramos, University of York

Chelsea Raymond, University of Stirling

Roberto Roldan, Aberystwyth University

Matthew Ross, University of Birmingham

Alyssa Shepard, University of Leicester

Shani Small, University of Sheffield

Harinee Suthakar, University of Sussex

Arianna Maria Ulloa, Lancaster University

Ryan Vennell, Royal Holloway, University of London

Eva Ward, University of Strathclyde

Catriona Whiteside, Northumbria University

The US-UK Fulbright Commission sponsors approximately 40 American students each year to pursue postgraduate degrees in universities across the United Kingdom. The most competitive of all Fulbright programs, with nearly 1,000 university-sponsored applicants annually, its alumni include Nobel Prize laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, such as Milton Friedman and Sylvia Plath.

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