Ninety-three Fulbright students representing 50 different countries came together in Washington DC in the first week of April of 2017 highly motivated to meet new people and to engage in thought-provoking discussions regarding equal and equitable educational opportunities in different international contexts. Organized by George Washington University, the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar I attended focused on Educational Justice: Overcoming barriers to quality education in the 21st century.
As an educator it is very important to understand the reasoning behind educational policies and the path towards implementation and practices. Having the chance to discuss the educational experience in the US as a case of work-in-progress towards educational justice, gave us all the opportunity to reflect upon what has been done so far in our own countries and educational contexts; to hear different points of view on such relevant issue; and to assess some of the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats that our own educational systems may face.
The possibility to meet different speakers, attend several group workshops, participate in interactive poster sessions presented by second-year Fulbrighters, and visit several sites, such as schools and other educational stakeholders, was very fruitful. As educational justice is an ongoing project across the world, it was very insightful to learn from others – colleagues, professors, researchers, secondary students – what has been successful and what has been challenging so far in the pursuit of educational justice in the US. Moreover, this seminar became an extension of several classroom and hallway discussions I have had over the past school year while pursuing my MA in International Educational Development at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Above all the opportunity to discuss the past, the present and the future of education with peers from all over the world was definitely one of the highlights of my Fulbright experience in the USA.