One To World’s collaboration with the U.S. Naval Academy’s annual Foreign Affairs Conference (NAFAC) brings together students from universities worldwide to discuss current global affairs. Yuriy Bistro, a student from Ukraine said, “It opened a new vision for me in collaborating with academic peers. It helped me understand what people from different countries think. Most importantly, we became friends in such a short time that it hurt to part.” As a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering cross-cultural understanding and exchange, One To World’s delegation plays a special role at NAFAC by adding a critical international perspective to the student deliberations on U.S. foreign policy.
This year’s conference theme, “Democracies Divided: The Proliferation of Polarization,” is particularly relevant as the world faces challenges that no single actor can overcome alone. The conference aims to explore how authoritarian states seek to weaponize modern constructs, and how democracies around the world are seeking to heal internal and external divisions in order to promote stability in the international community.
One To World brought a special group of 18 international students to the conference, representing 15 unique countries, including Azerbaijan, India, Thailand, Australia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Guyana, Guatemala, Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey, Nepal, Switzerland, and Mongolia. Notably, 11 of them were Fulbrighters. Two of One To World’s students, Purusotam Shah (Nepal) and Kalifa Jordan (Guyana), were recognized as “Outstanding Delegates” at the final banquet and gifted navy mugs!
The conference featured many distinguished speakers, but two stood out to One To World’s delegates: Dr. Sam Potolicchio, who held an interactive lecture on leadership and how to become a better professional, and Admiral Michael G. Mullen ’68, USN (ret.), who was the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Mullen’s speech emphasized the importance of maintaining friendships with people that you connect with and an optimistic perspective on the future of democratic values.
By bringing together a diverse group of students from different backgrounds and cultures, NAFAC and One To World’s collaboration fosters cross-cultural understanding and exchange, contributing to a more peaceful and prosperous world. Kalifa Jordan, a student from Guyana aptly said, “by joining together with our experiments, ideas, expertise and background we can change the world for the better.”
One To World brings local residents together with international students and Fulbright grantees, creating face-to-face experiences to foster intercultural understanding and build relationships that last a lifetime. Annually, it provides over 100 programs for the more than 90,000 international students and Fulbright grantees who study at New York-area institutions. One To World engages these young global leaders representing more than 140 countries in American life, building cooperation, and respect among people from around the world.
One To World is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the official Coordinator of Enrichment Programs for the 800+ visiting Fulbright grantees in the New York area each year. When the late Senator J. William Fulbright authored legislation to create the Fulbright program over 75 years ago, he specified these enrichment programs as key components of it. He believed that the time Fulbright grantees spent off-campus would be as important as their academic studies in fostering cultural understanding and ultimately, a more peaceful world.