For those of you who still wonder what the Fulbright program is, my best recommendation will be… to come to a Fulbright event.
Saturday April 2 was the first day of the third annual Fulbright symposium at Georgia Tech – the school where I do my research. I have been invited to talk as a Fulbrighter. I decided to present the paper I have been working on for the past weeks which is about mutual legal assistance. This paper, for me, is like a baby you don’t want to see growing, but who doesn’t do his nights… You love him so much, but you’re so tired….
My past week has been pretty busy. I sent the draft of my paper on Thursday and had this presentation on Saturday. Then, I am flying to DC to attend the “big conference for privacy people in the US” (IAPP Global summit). After four days of Conference there, I am flying to the University of Wisconsin to talk more about mutual legal assistance at the Law school symposium.
So… as you can see a lot of things going on for me for the past and next days.
To me, preparing for a conference is very similar to preparing for a Ballet exam or performance. So much stress before, and loving being “sur les planches.” I can confess, that I had really hard days these past weeks. But that is also part of the experience. Keep up with challenges makes yourself stronger. I know now that my limit is somewhere beyond these lines. I know that I can trust myself and do even more things. Accept more projects. Write more. Live more.
Why am I sure of that? It is not because my presentation went good. No, it is because at the end of my 10 minutes’ presentation, a Fulbrighter said something during the Q&A. His intervention was related to what a team of researchers came out with after weeks of work. I didn’t say anything about their work during my presentation. This Fulbrighter was just right on topic. He got the problem that we’re facing and offered a possible solution. Today, I’ll go to sleep knowing that at least one person in this room understood so well what I was talking about that he could come up with the next great idea. This makes me happy. This makes me remember why I want to go to academia.
Fulbright is not about topic, or area of research. Fulbright is not about age, religion, race or origin. Fulbright is only about people going to another country with a wish: actually make a change. What’s their weapons? They only have one: their brains.
Today I learned something. Instead of staying alone and trying to find solutions to a problem that seems impossible. Just, go out. Meet people, talk to them about your research. Explain them what you do, why you do it. When you’re stuck with a problem. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll meet the kind of person that where in this room today. Bright, funny, delightful persons who’ll help you work harder, work better and improve the world.