The FRANKly is the annual journal of the German Fulbright Alumni Association. In addition to reporting on the regional, national, and international activities of our association, the publication serves as a platform for current Fulbrighters and alumni to share their fascinating experiences, witty opinions, unique perspectives, and thoughtful insights.
The 2023 Call for Articles is here and we are thrilled to announce this year’s theme:
Building a Brighter Future
We don’t know what exactly the future holds. But it is obvious that the path we are on is not headed to the promising future most of us would like to envision. The good news is that while “future” itself is inevitable, what version of the future will emerge is not: we all have a part to play in shaping the world of tomorrow and to ensure it is the best possible future for everyone.
The FRANKly 2023 welcomes contributions that explore visions of the future we can see ourselves living in and the building blocks needed to make it happen. What new approaches are necessary in order to tackle challenges such as climate change and sustainability, geopolitical imbalances, poverty, education, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility as well as the potential of the digital world while not forgetting about the place of culture and the arts in our societies. At the same time, our future isn’t just the big picture, but also our personal, more immediate future. Questions regarding financial security, healthcare, career possibilities as well the role of family, friends, and communities are at the forefront for a lot of us.
So. What can we do? How can we build a more resilient world in which everyone can feel a sense of belonging? What is the role of the transatlantic world and how can Fulbrighters, as one example, use their potential to have an impact? What can we do to build a brighter future?
Articles that exhibit a connection with the Fulbright Program, the German Fulbright Alumni Association (F.A.e.V.), or the network of Fulbright Alumni Associations across the globe are always encouraged, as are articles with creative approaches of how our main theme resonates with you personally. When submitting your article, please provide 2-3 sentences about yourself in third person and a headshot. Authors are encouraged to submit images (3-6 images total) that support their article. Every photograph must include the photographer’s name and a caption. Articles may range in length from 3,000 – 12,000 characters (including spaces) and should be written in American English.
In 2009, Nancy Economou visited the Philippines, where she witnessed a young girl with her face burned by kerosene. She later learned that an overwhelming number of families do not have access to a safe and sustainable light source. Kerosene lamps serve as the only source of light after the sun goes down, making work, studying, and caring for children a challenging and often dangerous task. Furthermore, families worldwide spend up to a third of their income on toxic lighting sources, such as kerosene, paraffin, or batteries, which often get thrown into landfills, leeching toxic materials into local water sources. In 2013, she returned to the Philippines with innovative solar lighting units that could be carried with the users. Seeing that there was increased safety and health by removing kerosene from homes, and the financial freedom that comes with saving the money that would have been spent on lighting, Watts of Love was founded.
Watts of Love empowers those that we serve by helping them set goals and achieve their dreams while illuminating their paths with guiding light. Since 2013, we have distributed nearly 90,000 lights in 53 countries. In 2019, Watts of Love launched the Lighthouse model, our solution to scaling. Watts of Love intentionally seeks the most vulnerable people in the developing world, who live without access to sustainable light. We partner with in-country organizations and invest in local leaders to represent Watts of Love. Using a unique financial literacy curriculum, Watts of Love gently and compassionately instructs these recipients on how to save, invest and build for the future. We train entire communities on how to properly use the solar light and provide education on basic financial concepts such as compound savings and return on investment. We emphasize the significance of redirecting funds previously used to purchase kerosene or other dangerous light sources and investing their savings in livestock. We want our light recipients to be successful where they are, aiming for communities to create self-sufficiency and look to their community members for inspiration.
And it’s working. Across the world, families are irrevocably changing. We are hearing stories of children who would have been sold into child marriage excelling to the top of their class, stories of single mothers starting their own businesses and the elder continuing to care for their families. In Malawi, Stella’s daughter received a light in September 2021. She brought the light and her new financial literacy home to teach Stella that they already had the money – their former battery money. Her daughter explained that if they saved their money, they could use it to buy things that will only increase their income, such as livestock. Stella realized, however, that she wants her money to work for her. So, she started a rum distillery in her yard, and now, she has employees. Her life, and the lives of her children, have forever been changed through financial literacy.
Watts of Love has lights in 53 countries around the world, but focus countries are Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, and the Philippines.
As President of the Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program e.V (VFF) and three-time Fulbrighter myself, I am committed to the future stability of the institution that changed my life and that of many others. In fact, in this position I work to increase financial and human resources that are essential to maintain and grow the programs that Fulbright offers, especially as government budgets are cut.
Simultaneously, the attention that is finally being paid to underrepresented groups in Fulbright means that more and different kinds of people should be applying than ever before. Unfortunately, this inclusivity, as necessary and desirable as it is, may burden the system whose very task it is to create a more diverse environment. Aside from the sheer numbers, in my opinion it is ethically and morally responsible to make it possible for all people to be Fulbrighters, no matter what gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
While one would hope that the Fulbright experience – living and learning in another culture – would inspire “intercultural” awareness, more needs to be done to bring a “social conscience” into the mix. Fortunately, the self-reflexivity and self-awareness that comes with experiencing oneself as a “foreigner” provides a strong basis for triggering this kind of personal evolution.
But this is not always the case, and therefore, as someone dedicated to these goals, I found that encouraging beneficiaries to “give back” to such programs, such as Fulbright, or for that matter to other similar institutions from which one has benefitted academically, professionally or personally, is the right thing to do. Those on both sides of the equation – so to speak, the “givers” and the “receivers,” benefit substantially. A little can go a long way.
It is important to remember that the Fulbright experience only begins with the time abroad and continues long after, (some might say it even starts during the application and orientation process), hopefully for one’s entire lifetime. As a member of what we like to call the “one Fulbright Community” (the German-American Fulbright Commission, the German Fulbright Alumni Association e.V and the VFF), a “Fulbright family” of sorts, the experience can become a part of one’s own lifecycle extending and enriching in perpetuity. “Giving back” can actually be the essential structure of connecting and belonging to this one Fulbright Community. In short, being a Fulbrighter becomes the gift that keeps on giving!
For these reasons, I am now more than ever encouraging people to find an appropriate moment – often far after their actual stay abroad and later in their lifecycle – to give back to the institutions that have been instrumental in their lives. The most obvious way is financial, i.e. making a contribution of whatever amount that can be used to support other students, particularly in those groups who have been denied, hindered, or even not been aware of these possibilities. I think here of the VFF and Alumni Association that support short term programs in the United States for Germans with so-called “migration background” to meet other minorities for academic and personal exchange.
But money is not the only way. Contributing time and effort is another helping hand, such as is obvious with the German Fulbright Alumni Association that sponsors this publication. One should spread the word at workplaces, colleges, universities, schools and other institutions that promote learning of every kind. Encouraging friends, family or colleagues to apply is also an important way to be involved. Of course, the notion of “giving back” is imbedded more naturally in a voluntaristic culture like the United States. But it is a significant gesture also to educate German friends and colleagues that this practice contributes to a stronger and better civic community. Moreover, it helps foster a more interconnected and interdependent society that experiences the benefit of working together at multiple levels to enhance chances for others, particularly those less privileged.
I hope that these few thoughts on this topic, presented in this publication in particular, might stimulate a different kind of thinking about how one Fulbrighter can make a difference.
Find out more about the “Verein der Freunde und Förderer des deutsch-amerikanischen Fulbright Programms e.V.” and become a member at: https://www.fulbright-vff.de/
Prof. Dr Jeff Peck Aside from his current position mentioned above, was co-author of, “Moving from Individual Experience to Institutional Change. European Fulbright Diversity Initiative (EFDI). A Task Force Report,” 2019.
Our planet is on fire – literally and metaphorically. Natural disasters range from climate change, biodiversity loss, species and plant extinction to the degradation of natural ecosystems. Economic development, meant to lift millions if not billions of people out of poverty, leads to an increase in anthropogenic pressure. According to the Global Footprint Network, humans use as many ecological resources as if we lived on 1.75 earths. Consequently, measures need to be taken to reduce the overall footprint on our planet.
A lot has been written over the last years, and sometimes even decades, on topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Governance, Sustainable Development, Triple Bottom Line, Sustainable Finance, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), Impact Investing, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or the European Green Deal.
What all of these terms and measures have in common, is the notion that economic activity and global development need to be more holistic in nature in order to protect natural resources and pay attention to social (including health) considerations – above and beyond a single focus on economic prosperity. Some of these terms focus on macroeconomic, others on microeconomic (including finance and accounting) considerations. One could also say that the perspective changes from the big picture (e.g., on a national or supranational level) to a more microscopic consideration (e.g., on an organizational level) in order to incentivize transactions – and action – that keep in mind people and planet, in addition to profit.
Let’s take a look at Corporate Social Responsibility (the term Corporate Governance is often used synonymously): As noted in HEC’s Executive Factsheet, the economists Howard R. Bowen1 and William C. Frederick2, looked into the social responsibilities of companies and their leadership in the 50s and 60s, respectively. However, it took almost 50 years for CSR to become mainstream: According to KPMG3, it took a while for CSR reporting rates to increase: at the turn of the century a third of the world’s 250 largest companies by revenue published a CSR report; this number rose to approx. 90% around 2010.
The Brundtland Commission’s report to the UN Our Common Future (WCED – World Commission on Environment and Development 1987), popularized the term sustainable development; it was preceded by a range of publications on topics such as development, economic growth (including its limits). The Brundtland Report expressed the belief that social equity, economic growth and environmental maintenance are simultaneously possible, thus highlighting the three fundamental components of sustainable development: the environment, the economy and society, which later became known as the triple bottom line.4 Moreover, the report emphasized the rights of future generations.
Along similar lines, different historic events created the basis for what is now known as impact investing. In 2006, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) was released with 63 signatories and $6.5 trillion in assets. Impact investors focus on advancing environmental or social considerations alongside the optimization of investment returns.
So far so good. All of these measures – embedded into regulatory frameworks – are important milestones toward a more equitable, socially and environmentally just transformation of our planet.
However, we simply don’t have enough time!
In 2015, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Stockholm Resilience Centre published a dashboard of 24 indicators which depict the dramatic acceleration in human enterprise and the impacts on the Earth system over the last two centuries. Changes in human production and consumption, indicated by gross domestic product, direct foreign investment, energy consumption and telecommunications, are reflected in changes in the earth’s natural systems: climate (greenhouse gas levels, global temperature), ocean acidification, terrestrial biosphere degradation and fish capture.5
Having been part of the sustainability movement myself for over 15 years, I can safely say that there is certainly enough talk and also some action – but it may not be the right kind of action.
“ It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. […] To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.” – Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (2015) chapter 4, paragraph 138/chapter 3, paragraph 111
There is a conundrum when leaving things up to fate and in the hands of technocrats, politicians or economists: the focus is likely to be short-term, as incentives are often equally short-term oriented. Stock markets put pressure on listed companies to boost quarterly profits, often at the cost of long-term research and development expenditures. Venture capital investors demand entrepreneurs to grow exponentially, which requires business models that put profits before impact-oriented considerations. So-called patient capital is not commonplace. Politicians with an average tenure of four years may be punished for long-term oriented decisions (e.g., to address global problems such as climate change) if they have negative short-term effects (such as higher energy prices). How to balance short- and long-term interests may be a tough decision to make, especially if they want to be reelected. Most economists naturally focus on the maximization of economic growth rather than the wellbeing of our societies and individuals at large (mostly, because adequate systems have not been set up yet to measure indicators other than GDP).
The other side of the coin are both consumers and producers who are less conscious than they may claim to be. Consumers may not always have all the information they require to make ethical purchasing decisions at their fingertips. But they can still choose to inform themselves to buy more sustainable goods – or simply consume less. Not least due to the current sustainability trend, greenwashing is omnipresent. Producers apply misguided marketing or PR campaigns or change the packaging of an existing product while continuing to use unsustainable ingredients. It is a way for companies to appear like they care while also increasing their profit margins.
From my perspective, we are facing both a systemic and a spiritual crisis that is deeply rooted.
Our western mindsets in particular tend to look for quick fixes when addressing global problems that have been in the making for decades if not centuries. However, Planet Earth – which has been in the making for millennia – doesn’t care if the systems of our own creation have to report quarterly earnings, plan exits after ten years with double-digit financial returns, optimize macroeconomic growth (or decline) figures, or care more about the next election cycle than the mandate that put them in power in the first place.
We need a broad-based debate on how to create equitable and sustainable societies able to live within the boundaries of our planet. Such a debate needs to incorporate not only specialists or bureaucrats, but also philosophers, anthropologists, artists, political scientists and others.
What is required is behavior change on a massive scale. We cannot propagate green growth or conscious consumption without taking a look at the whole picture, especially when the future of our children is at stake. Innovations, often driven by technology, notably when they address environmental concerns, may result in efficiency gains. While these can have a positive impact on the cost of products or services, they are also very likely to influence user behavior: increases in overall consumption partially cancel out the original savings. This effect is called “rebound.”6 As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, it is indeed possible to change our behavior, even in the short term. It may be painful but it is necessary if we want to achieve visible results in line with goals set by international agreements such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The more I have dealt with sustainability issues, the more I have come to realize that the basis for transformation is not to look without but within ourselves. Lasting transformation starts by asking ourselves questions which may not always be easy: What am I compensating for? Who do I want to impress? What is it that I am hiding?
There are reasons why mental health and wellbeing are trends that are here to stay.7 More stress and noise in our environments have led to people of all ages – especially urban dwellers – to seek refuge in meditation retreats, monasteries or other refuges of silence. Anxieties about uncontrollable events may further take us on a journey inside ourselves. But will this trend also have an effect on our behavior? This remains to be seen; though there is hope given that more and more individuals, especially in the young generation, take the moral high ground: they choose to travel by train rather than by plane; they focus on second-hand products rather than the latest gadget or piece of clothing; they are happy to share consumer goods or their living environments.
Being more authentic about our decisions and intentions will go a long way.
“Changing is not just changing the things outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Joerg Geier was a German Fulbrighter at Golden Gate University, San Francisco, where he completed his MBA 2001-03. With an internation- al background in the private sector, think tanks and academia, Joerg’s passion is the area of green startups, innovation ecosystems, and impact investing. He works as a consultant and has previ- ously focused on leadership development and capacity building. See also http://joerggeier.comfor additional information.
photo: Gesine Born
Bowen, H. R. (1953). Social responsibilities of the businessman. New York, Harper & Brothers.
Frederick, W. C. (1960). The growing concern over business responsibility. California Management Review, 2(4), pages 54-61.
The KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017.
It’s already 11 pm. Ok, let’s wrap this up, says Zeynep. That’s enough. I am tired.
Aynur smiles. We need to finish tonight, she says, looking at Zeynep on the screen. Can’t we just cancel it? asks Zeynep.
Cancel? But we put in so much work already. We did the content for social media, we contacted different institutions and started announcements for the event. Not this conversation again. Again? Yes, you always want to quit right before the end of the project, thinking it’s not worth it. But once we finish you look back and you’re glad you pulled through.
Water is pouring from the tap. You fill your bottle. Close the tap. It is getting dark outside and you switch on the lights in the kitchen and the living room. You turn on the kettle for some tea while checking your phone: four new notifications, three on WhatsApp, one on TikTok. You remember the tote bag with groceries at the entrance. You get them and start preparing dinner.
Growing up in developed countries, day-to-day life is smooth: water, heating (though that is a big question in 2022), education, jobs, entertainment, health, transport, and travel. All of that is easily accessible for many of us, though, some still struggle. In general, however, life is comfortable here. Maybe too comfortable and often taken for granted, which can be seen in the diminishing interest in politics, society, or lack of responsibility by the younger generation. We think.
Over the past two decades, incredible young people have caught attention globally for their activism and work, like Greta Thunberg, Amanda Gorman, Luisa Neubauer, or Aminata Touré. But how and why did these young women develop a social, political or environmental conscience? How come these women keep to their work despite serious challenges and intense media attention waiting for them to make a “wrong” move?
It’s 2008. A 23-year old woman stands for election to the city council, but fails to get elected. She doesn’t give up on her aim to “build a society where every child can become anything and every person can live and grow in dignity.” Four years later, she again stood for election and this time she was successful. In the years following, she rose to become the world’s youngest prime minister. Her name: Sanna Marin.
But what drove Marin’s determination to have a more equal society in a country that is world-leading in equality both economically and socially? What made her not give up pursuing a political mandate? Her answer in 2020: “I’m in politics because I thought that the older generation wasn’t doing enough about the big issues of the future. I needed to act. I couldn’t just think, ‘It’s somebody else’s job’.” ”
Fast forward to 2022: A video circulates over all media platforms showing the young Finnish prime minister dancing with her friends apparently at a private event. The debate that followed showed and stressed that even in acclaimed equal societies, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to accomplish when it comes to equality. Maybe not materially, but morally.
The debates and comments on social media after the leaked private video showed there is still an immense gap between several groups, for instance between men and women. Otherwise, how is it possible that one politician is being judged by countless of her colleagues for doing the same as her male companions?
On a daily basis, women exhaustingly fight to break out of double standards and stereotypes created within societies. Double standards means the preferring or rejection of people on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or other uncontrollable distinctions in which none are relevant or justifiable factors for this discrimination. In other words: your actions are being valued differently because of something you have almost no control over.
Double standards are seen in dozens of areas: the workplace, in politics and even at school. If a student with a migration background is acting poorly, mostly it is blamed on her cultural background while the mistakes of a native student are caused only by the playfulness of the child. Until recently, this multifaceted double standard that treats and judges actions of people according to their gender or ethnicity is common in our current society. Why does nobody talk about it, if it’s such a substantial issue?
If a lion is born in the zoo, is being fed the same meat every day and taken care of by the same people repeatedly, do you think he would recognize that the cage is not his original habitat? He may assume that something feels off due to his natural instincts. But if he never saw the savanna, never felt its wind on his skin nor spent his time hunting for a gazelle or a zebra, do you believe he would understand that there is something “wrong” with his life?
For centuries, people have lived and breathed with double standards. It is not until someone, somewhere tells us to break out of the circle, tells us that there is something not okay with our situation that we recognize these issues. Sanna Marin’s debate showed us clearly the unequal treatment – not financially but socially. Now, for our future generations we need to change and stop enduring unfair treatment and judgment.
Unfortunately, reality is not as simple as acknowledging that a lion does not belong in a cage. In our society there are still people who don’t understand or who simply don’t know that the way they are treated is unfair. And those who know or at least have a feel for unrightful treatment, often don’t realize how to defend themselves.
That is why we have been socially and politically active for the past couple of years. Not only because it is our responsibility but also our duty as citizens in the 21st century to create a society in which diversity is lived and not only talked about. Because diversity is not having a bunch of people who look different, diversity is giving everyone the same rights as well as the same justice and judgment. It might be tiring but it is worth it.
Until we break out of this cage of double standards we will not give up.
About the authors:
Aynur Durak, raised in Berlin, Germany, is a multilingual student of intercultural communications with a focus on diversity and equality in the workplace. As a Fulbright alumna, who participated in the Fulbright Diversity Initiative at Trinity University in San Antonio (TX) in 2019, she is the author of several publications, such as her debut poetry book: the universe in me. Currently, she is working as a Content Creator at Fulbright Germany while furthering her education in journalism and communication, to provide a larger range of topics such as race and racism in Western media. Purchase the universe in me or flowers of mercury on Amazon.
Zeynep Alraqeb is the Extended Board member for Diversity Alumni.
We are excited to formally invite you to the German Fulbright Alumni Association’s Spring Ball, this year to be held in conjunction with our annual General Assembly in Hamburg on the weekend of March 24th – 26th and are thrilled to announce that registration is now live via the following registration form:
The festivities will begin with an informal get-together on Friday night. Saturday will feature the annual General Assembly at the Bucerius Law School and, of course, be highlighted by the evening’s Spring Ball. MARKK am Rothenbaum will serve as our host for this festive Fulbright occasion, one of good food, even better company, and necessarily, lots of dancing! We are also eager to have special guests headline the evening, among them being this year’s recipient of the annually presented Mulert Award.
The weekend will close on Sunday with a casual farewell brunch after which there will be the option to visit special exhibits at the Hamburger Kunsthalle or Mahnmal St. Nikolai, to discover the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Hamburg’s Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel, or to explore Hamburg’s Altstadt with a tour from City Hall to the renowned Elbphilharmonie.Space is limited and registration officially closes on March 5th, so RSVP as soon as possible to ensure your spot. All details concerning price and locations can be found in the registration form, with a travel guide to be provided via email to all participants after registration.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your events team. Contact information can be found in the signature below. We’re looking forward to the weekend and hope to see you there!
Applications for the 2023 Mulert Award are now open. Please apply here via a quick and short online form. Application deadline is February 28, 2023. The winner of the award will be announced in a festive award ceremony in May 2023 in Germany.
Click here to find more information about the Mulert Award.
This year’s theme for our FRANKly magazine is “Pursuing our Social Conscience”. Loaded with great stories and pictures from everything that happened in 2022, we encourage you to read the latest edition of our Association’s yearly magazine!
der Fulbright Alumni e.V. hat als Teil von ENAM (European Network of American Alumni Associations) dieses Jahr die Ehre, den/die Gewinner:in des europäischen Amerigo Media Awards zu bestimmen. Der Award wird jedes Jahr durch die italienisch-amerikanischen Alumni an eine:n Journalist:in in Europa vergeben, der/die durch herausragende journalistische und/oder mediale Arbeit zu positiven Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland, Europa und den USA beiträgt.
Für die Nominierung geeigneter Kandidat:innen benötigen wir eure Unterstützung!
Sind euch Fulbright Alumni bekannt, die aktuell in Deutschland leben und durch besondere journalistische/mediale Arbeit die transatlantischen Beziehungen fördern? Oder seid ihr vielleicht sogar selbst aktiv?
Wir freuen uns über eure Vorschläge per E-Mail an email@example.com bis spätestens 15. September 2022. Bitte nennt uns Vorname, Nachname, Kontaktinfos (falls vorhanden) und eine kurze Begründung, warum diese Person (oder ihr selbst) aus eurer Sicht den Award gewinnen sollte.
Der/die ausgewählte Gewinner:in darf sich auf eine exklusive Vergabe des Awards im Dezember vor Ort in Florenz freuen – die Reisekosten werden übernommen.
Als kleinen Teaser findet ihr hier einen Bericht zur Award-Vergabe aus einem der vorherigen Jahre. Meldet euch ansonsten bei Fragen gerne direkt unter oben genannter E-Mail.
“Das ist nur etwas für Einser Kandidat:innen”
“Für ein Stipendium bist du nicht gut genug”
Leider mussten viele Studierende oder Schüler oft diesen Satz von Lehrer:innen oder Professor:innen hören. In vielen Fällen hat dies junge ambitionierte Menschen oft im weiteren Leben davon abgehalten sich für Stipendien zu bewerben. Wir wollen das ändern und junge Menschen mit guten Leistungen und sozialem Engagement dazu aufrufen sich für das Fulbright Stipendium zu bewerben.
Fulbright ermöglicht es jungen Menschen in den USA zu leben und an einer amerikanischen Universität zu studieren. Das Stipendium ermöglicht Studierenden einen einmaligen spannenden, lehrreichen und unvergesslichen kulturellen Austausch.
Als Alumni von verschiedenen Programmen der Fulbright Kommission erzählen wir dir wie unsere Erfahrung war und was du bei deiner Bewerbung beachten solltest.
Bewerben oder nicht bewerben? Wir sagen: Auf alle Fälle bewerben!
Our FRANKly magazine is calling for articles for our 2022 edition, with the theme of, “Pursuing Our Social Conscience“. Everyone is encouraged to submit under the guidelines in the call to action attached here as a PDF.
Injustices and inequalities have always existed in the societies we have created. The truth of this has again become apparent this year and forces us to listen closely to our social conscience, our sense of responsibility to engage with not only our own issues, but also those beyond us.
The war in Ukraine has brought this necessity particularly close for a lot of people. But of course, continuous threats to an equal, just and safe society for everyone should not be forgotten and remind us of the importance to take a stand, to raise our voices, to act with compassion and to contribute to making a change. Instead of focusing on the differences that separate us, we need to find the commonalities that connect us.
The FRANKly 2022 wishes to explore the different ways and arenas in which our social conscience can or should manifest. This issue welcomes contributions that rise to the occasion and accept civic responsibility. In which ways can we as people in general and as Fulbrighters in particular give back – and to whom? What injustices need to be tackled and what forms of protest can we chose to fight them? Can we take inspiration from the way people have followed their social conscience in the past, and how can we make use of this in the future? How can we empower others and support each other in order to have an impact beyond ourselves?
The Emotional Wellness training program for Hertha Berlin’s U17 team is based on helping the young men build healthy relationships through developing the key skills of mutual understanding. In the process, the youth players are not only learning how to bring out the best in themselves but also how to affirm and encourage the best in those around them, including their families, their teammates, and those who have traditionally been on the margins of our society.
The Tokyo Olympics will long be remembered as a turning point in elite sport where the mental health of athletes became an essential concern for all. Hertha Berlin takes seriously its duty of care to promote the emotional well-being of the participants in its Youth Academy. To that end, for the 2021-2022 football season the Club engaged Arne Friedrich, then a Hertha Executive Board member, whose areas of responsibility included the Youth Academy, Dr. Ben Houltberg, an internationally respected youth developmental psychologist, and Dr. John Ashley Null, a Fulbright Alumnus and deeply experienced pastoral counselor to elite athletes, to design a pilot program to promote emotional wellness in Hertha’s Under 17 youth team.
The project was founded on the principle that a person is not defined by their accomplishments, but by their relationships. However, relationships are what make accomplishments possible. After all, the first thing Olympic Gold Medalists do when they realize they have won is instinctively look to the stands to make eye contact with someone they love. Because no matter how wonderful the thrill of victory is at the very special moment, if there is no one with whom to share the joy, even a victory as great as that is empty. And, of course, it was the on-going love of those very people that provided the gold medalists the “emotional shock absorbers” they needed to keep going, despite all the disappointments and multiple setbacks the come with elite sport, until they had achieved their goal of the gold. In short, emotional wellness gives people the resilience they need to keep striving for a better future, and emotional wellness is the product of healthy relationships. Therefore, the Hertha pilot program concentrated on giving the twenty-four fifteen- and sixteen-year-old young men of its Under 17 team the tools they needed to build healthy relationships. And what is the foundation of healthy relationships?
Mutual understanding. The program identified seven key skills necessary for mutual understanding: respect, empathy, trust, togetherness, forgiveness, gratitude, and resilience. One relational skill was featured each month. The U17 team met for emotional wellness training three times a month in ninety-minute sessions. Since youths learn best through role models, activities, and conscious integration, the first monthly meeting featured an interview with a member of the current pro team or staff about how the relational skill of the month helps the pro on and off the field.
For respect, Dedryck Boyata, the current pro team captain, spoke about the importance of taking time to invest in other people, since it was the support which his family gave him that got him through a very difficult rehabilitation process after a serious injury at the start of his career. Other speakers include Fredi Bobic, Hertha Managing Director; Arne Friedrich, Hertha Sporting Director and former pro team captain; and Maxi Mittelstädt, current member of the Hertha pro team and alumnus of the Hertha Youth Academy. The second monthly meeting consisted of a physical activity which reinforced the featured skill, broadened the youth players’ understanding, and acted as a service project to the wider community. For empathy, the young men interacted with mentally and physically handicapped people at their work place. On the one hand, the youth players learned that making a cheese board for which someone would pay money served a similar function in the lives of the handicapped as scoring a goal did for them. Despite the significant differences between the two groups, they all shared a basic human need to be productive and appreciated. This awareness broadened the young footballers understanding of handicapped people and of themselves. On the other hand, for the handicapped, elite sportspeople coming to their work place to learn from them reinforced that they had something significant to offer others, which increased the handicapped participants’ own sense of accomplishment and being appreciated. Other service projects included playing blind football with members of Hertha’s blind football team (trust), inviting their parents to a December party where they told them all things they were grateful that their parents did for them (gratitude) and learning from a former homeless teenager at the Mission to Bahnhof Zoo about how depression led him to the streets where shame and fear plagued him–the three very issues with which elite athletes have to struggle–and how he overcame them (resilience).
A very special highlight of the year was listening to Margot Friedländer speak about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, including how she learned to forgive.
The focus of the third monthly meeting was reflection and integration. The youth players were each given a personal notebook. In the final meeting of the month, the young men recorded what they have learned about the featured relational skill. They are then encouraged to write down how that skill could help their relationship with themselves, with their family and friends, with their football performance, with their teammates and coaches, and with others in school and the community.
Finally, they are asked to write down one action item where they commit to growing better at the relational skill in a specific context. In their written comments, many remarked, for example, how they had learned for the first time that they should express respect and empathy for those different from themselves, rather than pity. Some committed themselves to working on remaining positive when their teammates make mistakes in a match, since they knew how that felt. Several others recognized how they have failed to have empathy for their parents and have pledged to try harder at understanding and respecting them. Not surprisingly, then, those not directly associated with the Emotional Wellness project, like their coaches, commented that they could see a real difference in how the participants acted towards others.
In the light of the positive evaluations, Hertha plans to continue the program in its Youth Academy for the 2022-2023 football season.
The idea of the project “Mother Tongue – Ukrainian” is to help Ukrainian children not to forget their native language and culture. They suffer immensely due to the Russian invasion of their country. At Ukrainian Sunday School they have a central place to interact with others that have experienced a similar, traumatic situation.
The German school system will absorb Ukrainian refugee children into existing classes and they will learn the German language. Pro Ukraine e.V. wants to ensure that Ukrainian language, culture and history is preserved so the children do not loose their mother tongue. It is important for them to feel understood and comfortable in a familiar community. On a psychological level, the Mother Tongue School will be a hub for young people to interact with others who have experiencedsimilar trauma. Lastly, some adult refugees are teachers, who can become valuable members of both the fleeing Ukrainian community as well as the welcoming German community by teaching at the Ukrainian Sunday School.
We are happy to announce that registration has now begun for this year’s 2022 General Assembly, which will take place on Saturday, May 21st, 2022 and which offers an accompanying programm over the span of the weekend.
Some of the planned events need to be paid in advance and have limited capacity. For the General Assembly, we ask that you also register so that we can accurately plan the catered lunch and coffee.
Applications for the 2022 Mulert Award are open. Please apply here by May 7th, 2022 via a quick and short online form and reach out to us in case of any questions. You can find out more about former Mulert Award laureates and their projects at the bottom of this page.
Fulbright Germany turns 70! That makes us very happy and we want to share our joy with you and the world. Besides an array of events throughout the year, there will be an anniversary website and much more. One of the ideas we have won’t be possible without your help. For the anniversary video project Fulbright Futures we want to collect 70 videos with your stories!
Please participate and send us your personal “why Fulbright was important to you” video!
70 years of student exchange between Germany and the US, 70 years full of exciting stories and encounters. The experiences were all individual and yet they have one thing in common: Getting to know another culture has touched everyone in one way or another.
We want to collect these individual experiences for our Fulbright Futures anniversary video project.
Would you like to join us and tell us what the Fulbright exchange meant to you?
What was the most exciting moment of your exchange?
How did the experience influence your life or career?
It would be amazing if you could send us a short (no longer than one minute) video of yourself that we can share on our anniversary website and on social media. You can find the content and technical suggestions, as well as a media-release on the internal documents page of our members section (log in required).
Please send your video with the signed media-release form to firstname.lastname@example.org. (it can also be a link to the video on a cloud storage etc.)
Thinking outside the box, being open to new experiences, learning another language, developing academically is what Fulbright is all about – now as much as 70 years ago. Let your stories inspire others to take that step into the world. We’d love for you to take part!
Everyone is busy and very preoccupied with the challenges and crises at the moment. Nevertheless, we would value your support of this project since now more than ever it is crucial to reaffirm the power of international understanding.
Thank you so very much and best regards from the Fulbright Community
Fulbright Alumni e. V.
German-American Fulbright Commission
Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program e.V. (VFF)
mit Fassungslosigkeit müssen wir zusehen, wie der Angriff auf die Ukraine den Krieg zurück nach Europa bringt. Wir als Fulbrighter, die für Frieden und Völkerverständnis stehen, wollen gemeinsam denjenigen Menschen helfen, die durch den Krieg betroffen sind.
Um durch regionale Unterstützung oder Spenden helfen zu können, haben wir ein Dokument aufgesetzt, in welches wir alle bisherigen Informationen, die uns erreicht haben, zusammengefasst haben. Dieses findet ihr hier:
Wenn ihr also von weiteren Initiativen, Gruppen o.ä. hört, die die Ukrainer: innen unterstützen oder nützlichen Links und wichtige Informationen habt, dann schickt sie uns, sodass wir gemeinsame Hilfe koordinieren können.
Danke an alle, die im Großen und im Kleinen in dieser schwierigen Zeit die Ukraine unterstützen.
We are happy to present to you during this winter break, this year’s FRANKly! We hope you can take some time off during the next few days to spend with your loved ones, to relax – and to perhaps sit down with some Glühwein or Eggnog and the digital FRANKLy to read about this past year in the life of the FAeV and about our authors’ „Daring (New) Beginnings“!
We hope that the printed version of the magazine will be in your hands – true to the main theme – at the beginning of the new year.
In good old German tradition, the FAeV wishes a happy second day of Christmas and a guten Rutsch!
Due to the ongoing pandemic the yearly Winter Ball, which acts as the Award Ceremony, had been postponed several times and finally cancelled. Therefore, the deadline for the 2021 Mulert Award application had been pushed into 2022. From now on, the prize money will be 1000€: double the amount from previous years.
Thank you for your interest in our Mentoring Program. This year’s matching is already completed and no further submissions will be accepted. Please reach out to email@example.com if you have questions regarding your submission or to be updated on future programs we are planning.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.