Irish Fulbright Alumni Association (IFAA)
President (2011-13): Dr. Paul Donnelly
The Ireland - United States Commission for Educational Exchange (The Fulbright Commission)
Executive Director: Ms. Colleen Dube
Crampton Avenue, Shelbourne Road
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
The Fulbright Program arrived to Ireland in 1957, and is the only one that was personally negotiated by Senator Fulbright himself. Since then, over 900 Irish students and scholars have gone to colleges across the United States, while over 500 US students and scholars have come to Ireland. The Irish Fulbright Alumni Association (IFAA) was established in 1993 and is a voluntary association of past and present participants in the Fulbright Program. As such, it is a network of people who have been enriched by a significant educational experience and who come together, following their stay in the USA, to share both professionally and socially. There are Irish Fulbright alumni in key positions in a wide range of professions including academia, business, law, and the arts.
The mission of the IFAA is:
· To consolidate the Fulbright experience and offer alumni an opportunity to extend and build on that experience.
· To create opportunities for alumni to put something back into the Fulbright initiative.
· To provide a welcoming meeting point for visiting US Fulbright Fellows.
· To collaborate with the Fulbright Commission in Ireland.
· To promote international educational and cultural exchange, and in the true spirit of Fulbright, foster mutual understanding among the peoples of the world.
· To establish links with other Fulbright Alumni Associations across Europe and beyond.
The IFAA organizes a range of events for its members and for visiting US Fulbrighters, including:
· Annual Fulbright Scholars’ Dinner, attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the US Ambassador, and to which the current year’s awardees are invited and celebrated. This event also serves to present the IFAA Medal of Honor to an alumnus for his or her contributions to the activity and development of the Association and the ideals of Fulbright. · Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.
· Annual Welcome! Event to welcome home returning Irish Fulbrighters and welcome to Ireland visiting US Fulbrighters.
· Annual visits to galleries, museums and the National Concert Hall.
· Monthly Comhluadar (Irish for ‘community; company [social]’), representing an informal, social opportunity for IFAA members and friends to meet with one another, as well as current Fulbright Scholars from the US The Association also publishes a newsletter in Spring and Fall each year, in addition to maintaining its own website and Facebook page.
The IFAA is a founding member of the Ireland United States Alumni Association (IUSA), an umbrella association that aims to pull together all those in Ireland who have benefited from US Government funded exchange programs. It is also a founding member of the European Network of American Alumni Associations (ENAM), an umbrella association whose mission is to strengthen networking and collaboration amongst its member associations, facilitate their active participation in US State Department alumni community initiatives, and promote common values shared by alumni the world over of US Government sponsored exchange programmes.