What is Fulbright?

Fulbright symposiumFor 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-logo4

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.

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