Two Rabbits Stands with Fulbright

Cultural Diplomacy. Collaborative Engagement. Scholarship.

These are the pillars of the U.S. Fulbright program, and values that Two Rabbits holds dear. The story of Two Rabbits is closely intertwined with that of the Fulbright program, in both our founding and our future outlook.

The Fulbright program provides research and teaching opportunities, allowing Americans to study and teach overseas and welcoming foreign scholars to the United States. It is a landmark program for citizen diplomacy that has been building intercultural understanding for more than 70 years.

12291302_10205283609429668_8983525547730232803_o.jpgTwo Rabbits owes its very beginnings to the Fulbright program. A year-long Fulbright research grant allowed me to immerse myself in the world of Baka children. Through hunting and gathering, exploring the forest, and long conversations with parents and children, I was exposed the threats of discrimination and deforestation that they face, and the challenges of preparing for an uncertain future. I was able to share the Baka story with the world, from the halls of Harvard to the blog you are reading now, raising awareness about the unique strengths and struggles of a people whose voices are rarely heard.

fulbright1.jpgOur Operations Director Matt Owens began his career in international education on a Fulbright grant, teaching English and Social Sciences in Spain. There he also worked together with fellow Fulbrighters and the Autonomous Community of Madrid to implement the Global Classrooms Project, a model U.N. program that promoted global citizenship and encouraged Spanish youth to envision new ways of building a more peaceful and sustainable world for everyone.

Matt and myself served as ambassadors of American culture, sharing the warmth, passion, and joy that make our country great. We are proud to bear the name “Fulbrighter” and to number ourselves among the more than 370,000 alumni of the program.

Today, the Fulbright program faces an existential threat. The administration’s most recent budget proposes a 47% funding cut to the program, gutting its ability to provide life-changing experiences to people like Matt and myself and all those whose lives have been changed for the better through a Fulbright grant.

The implications cannot be understated: without Fulbright there would be no Two Rabbits. We would have never met Buba, who taught me the strength and independence of being a child of the forest. We would have never met the father who first spoke of the struggle of “chasing two rabbits at once” – preparing his daughter for success in school and in the forest.

For all that Fulbright has done for us to raise the voices of the Baka, we are now raising our voices to save the program that launched our story. Click here to sign a petition protecting the Fulbright program, and learn about other ways that you can take action.

 

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