Fulbright students explore innovationPublished: Thursday, March 29, 2018 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
Late last week Oklahoma City hosted more than 100 international Fulbright grant recipients for an enrichment seminar sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The seminar was titled A City Reinvented: Building an Innovation Ecosystem in Oklahoma and covered the public and private sector roles in building an environment of innovation.
Mayor Mick Cornett provided the keynote address, sharing how our city has reinvented itself through innovative initiatives such as the MAPS program. Private sector roles were discussed by a panel including Stephen Prescott and Manu Nair of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Elaine Hamm of Accele Biopharma and Erika Lucas of StitchCrew.
Students toured several interesting sites, including i2E, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Boathouse District and the OU Innovation Hub. They also performed community service work, partnering with impactful organizations such as Citizens of Caring for Children, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
This seminar was one of a series of events that allow the international students to explore aspects of U.S. society and culture. Across the country, Fulbrighters gather to explore innovation in the United States from four different lenses: Entrepreneurship, Music and the Performing Arts, Big Data and Civic Engagement and Federalism. Topics range from historical innovations in government structure to U.S. contributions to the international musical landscape and the ways city governments in the United States innovate to foster tech-friendly business environments. The goal is for students to develop a deeper understanding of what innovation means in the United States, and how they might be able to apply these ideas when they return to their home countries.
As the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, the Fulbright Program is globally recognized as a leader among publicly funded exchange programs. The program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Oklahoma’s history of innovation is strong and our future is bright. We were thrilled to welcome these incredibly bright students to Oklahoma City, and truly enjoyed sharing the stories of our challenges and successes.
Cathy O’Connor is the president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.