A moment sought in the burning embers of a kafa, carried on by thoughts like wisps of smoke lifted from the mind, and held between pierced lips gazing down the barrel of cigarette butt. Ovo je Sarajevo. A moment that has seen reigns the likes of the Bosnian Kingdom, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires. To understand Sarajevo, one must live Sarajevo, walk, drink, breathe, share, cherish, love and heal among Sarajevans.
The Fulbright program is a cultural and educational exchange program funded by Congress and carried out by the US Department of State. The program was a part of a bill proposed by US Senator William J Fulbright that aimed to use US war sales surplus to fund international exchange in 1945. Shortly after, President Truman signed the bill in 1946 allowing the State Department to send and receive a number of professors and recent graduates each year abroad to either teach English or carry out research projects. As cultural and citizen ambassadors, each individual awarded a Fulbright represents the US and plays a small yet significant role in America's foreign policy initiative.
Prior to international educational and cultural exchange, foreign policy was largely viewed in a realist context where state influence was measured by military strength. Programs such as Fulbright represented America's pivot towards a foreign policy incorporating soft power. Soft power today can largely be seen in Hollywood bringing American pop culture to the worlds doorstep, diplomacy opening and respecting communication, and cultural exchange providing mutual understanding between people from different lands.
Thus, the Fulbright program is a mechanism of US soft power intended to maintain and improve bilateral relations across the globe. Further, it is a program that utilizes culture and the sharing of ideas to spread American values while simultaneously understanding those of other countries. It understands that mutual understanding and knowledge is not always found at the end of a book but in the world one seeks to understand. To this end, I am a tool of American foreign policy, but an individual seeking a moment in Sarajevo, a moment sa zlatnim ljiljanom.