On April 19, we were honored to attend the award ceremony for the 2023 Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. This year the prize went to two members of the team that helped lead the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett both embody the values and public service mission championed by Senator J. William Fulbright.
The award ceremony was fittingly conceived to honor the work of two scientists at opposite ends of their careers. During the pandemic Dr. Fauci—already well-known for his work against the HIV-AIDS crisis in the 1980s-90s and PEPFAR, the U.S.’s global AIDS relief program—became known to every household in the country. As Fauci remarked, “There are few experiences more global than the universal nature of a historic global COVID pandemic.”
Working at NIH, Dr. Corbett was key to the rapid development of the mRNA vaccine that would enable us to combat the COVID virus. She then dedicated herself to teaching Americans, especially in minority communities, about the vaccine. She closed her acceptance speech by saying: “We can [now] see a little bit of light. Being a part of shining that light is not only an honor, but a responsibility moving forward.”
The biennial Fulbright Prize for International Understanding has been awarded since 1993 by the Fulbright Association (FA), which gathers and represents Fulbright alumni in the U. S.. Past prize laureates have included such luminaries as Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel and Bono. FA also advocates for the continued importance of the Fulbright Program in today’s world. As a part of its work, it organizes an annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where Fulbright alums from around the country can talk to members of Congress about the importance of the program. In 2023, FA succeeded in winning increased funding for the Fulbright Program for the first time in 12 years!
The founding and current chairs of the Roth Foundation,
Drs. Richard T. Arndt and Skyler Arndt-Briggs, at the ceremony.
The award ceremony took place at Washington DC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. A proud partner of the Fulbright Association, the Lois Roth Foundation was represented by its founding chair, Richard T. Arndt, and its current chair, Skyler J. Arndt-Briggs. They were hosted at the table of former Fulbright Association President John Vogel, who also kindly donates his time to the Foundation’s Selection Committee for our Project Support grants. At the ceremony were board member Lisa Helling and long-time supporters of the Lois Roth Foundation Mary Kirk, Director of the State Department’s Office of Academic Exchange Programs, and Sherry Mueller, co-president of the Public Diplomacy Council of America.
We congratulate the Fulbright Association on their successful and important event!