UArizona Named 2021 Fulbright HSI Leader

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The University of Arizona is among 35 Hispanic-Serving Institutions to be recognized as an inaugural Fulbright HSI Leader. The honor, announced today, recognizes the university's high level of engagement with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program.

The Fulbright Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, created the Fulbright HSI Leader designation to recognize Hispanic-Serving Institutions for promoting Fulbright opportunities on campus and for noteworthy engagement with Fulbright exchange participants during the 2019-21 academic years.

The Fulbright Program is active in more than 160 countries and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

There are 569 HSIs across the country, 68% of which are public institutions. The University of Arizona is the first four-year public university in the state of Arizona to be recognized as an HSI. For an institution of higher education to be designated an HSI, it must have an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic.

Earlier this year, UArizona also was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, ranking No. 3 among U.S. research institutions. Eleven UArizona faculty members and researchers received Fulbright U.S. Scholar awards in 2020-21, breaking a university record.

"The University of Arizona's recognition as an inaugural Fulbright HSI Leader reflects our dedication to supporting Fulbright applicants, the importance of our designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and our commitment to valuing diversity," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We are proud of everyone who participates in the program and I look forward to seeing how the work and enthusiasm of our scholars strengthens our ties to communities around the world."

The Fulbright HSI Leader designation is part of the U.S. State Department's long-standing commitment to building diversity and inclusion in the Fulbright Program and all Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs international exchange programs. On July 28, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona released a joint statement on the benefits of international education and the need for all Americans "to be equipped with global and cultural competencies."

"It's an honor to receive this designation, as it affirms our heightened collaboration with the university's Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships, housed in the W.A. Franke Honors College," said Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for HSI initiatives. "Our collaboration has strengthened engagement and support for Hispanic students as they seek to have experiences and contribute to social impact through this international educational exchange program."

The Fulbright Program offers international educational and cultural exchange programs for students, scholars, artists, teachers and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach or pursue research and professional projects.

Among many other faculty members, Anna Ochoa O'Leary, professor and head of the Department of Mexican American Studies, has participated in the Fulbright Program. O'Leary is a two-time Fulbright Scholar who used her 2007-08 award to do research on repatriated migrant women and is using her 2021-22 award to research returned immigrant youth and educational goal setting.

Robert Alvarez, a 2016 UArizona alumnus in Latin American studies, received a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship for 2016-17 and served as a special adviser to the Ministry of Education in Guatemala. Alvarez is now a diplomat with the U.S. State Department. He previously served as deputy director of training and operations for a national and international nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that works with more than 7,000 grassroots community coalitions in over 24 countries and throughout the U.S. to create community-driven solutions to address substance misuse and violence.

"As a Research I HSI institution, we share with the Fulbright Program a continuing commitment to supporting the intellectual curiosity, ambition and creativity of a vibrant, increasingly diverse global community of problem solvers," said Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell, senior vice president for research and innovation. "Our selection as a Fulbright HSI Leader reflects our efforts to make research opportunities accessible, advance global experiential learning and strengthen cultural competency."

"The University of Arizona has a proud tradition of success in the Fulbright Program, with a diverse set of students, faculty and staff participating," said Karna Walter, assistant dean for student engagement in the W.A. Franke Honors College, who has promoted Fulbright at UArizona for many years. "Our campus partners have built an excellent model to support applicants in their pursuit of Fulbright awards. Those selected as Fulbright Scholars bring their unique strengths, skills and preparation abroad, returning with cross-cultural relationships and experiences that enrich the University of Arizona community."