NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma hosted a weeklong gateway orientation for 58 Fulbright scholars representing 36 countries.
The orientation was one of 10 held across the United States and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
The purpose of the orientations is to promote cultural diversity and increase understanding between nations, and to help the scholars learn to balance their academic, personal and professional roles while they pursue their studies.
Students arrived on campus July 31 and were welcomed by OU President David L. Boren and former Fulbright scholar Shelby Lewis of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and professor emeritus at Clark Atlanta University.
Lewis, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010, highlighted the “importance of the Fulbright Program as a people-to-people program that is intended to bring about mutual understanding and peace” and said Fulbright scholars have gone on to be Pulitzer Prize winners, heads of state and Nobel laureates.
“We are encouraging Fulbrighters to tell their stories ... to talk about their adventures, their opportunities, their pain and their triumphs,” she said.
OU's College of International Studies coordinated the events.
“After months of preparation, I feel rewarded to have had the opportunity to meet so many future international leaders and to watch them energetically interact with one another,” said Sarah Highsaw, student programs adviser for international student services.