Denver, forget me not!

Two days as US Democrat

The Denver Fulbright Enrichment Seminar, held from March 8-11, was one of the nine enrichment seminars hosted across the United States by the U.S. Department of State‘s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as part of its flagship Fulbright Program. These enrichment seminars, an integral part of the Fulbright experience, benefit first-year Fulbright foreign students and support the overall mission of the Fulbright Program – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

With the theme “Democracy in Action: The Influence of Growing Minority Populations in Changing Political Landscapes,” the Denver Fulbright Enrichment Seminar explored how demographics are shifting in Colorado and much of the western United States, causing political landscapes to change and thus the important given to minority populations in party platforms and candidate campaigns.

One of the most interesting parts of the seminar was the simulated U.S presidential election. Being a Democrat voter in two days was an unforgettably interesting experience to me.

Photo: Antonio Tahhan

         Following the Republican and Democrat primary debates on Friday was the presidential debate between two candidates Dounia  Kchiere (Democrat) and Eduardo Cortazar (Republican) Saturday afternoon.

Photo: Chau Mai

           Their speeches were well-received.  The Republican candidate (left) stressed he supported “the government of the people, by the people and for the people” while the Democrat candidate (right) pledged to grant education to every one to make “the country you serve sustainable development and sustainable growth.” Right after the debate came the  general election.

Photo: Chau Mai

It was time to make a decision and cast a ballot. Can a Democrat vote for a Republican candidate?

Photo: Antonia Tahhan

Counting the ballots. But the election winner would not be announced until the farewell party in the evening.

Photo: Duong Quynh Nga

On the way back to the foot of the mountain in the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater late Saturday afternoon, my friend and I happened to meet the Republican candidate who I believed would be elected as “the next president.”

Photo provided by "the elected president".

As I guessed, he was elected with more than 51% votes. I remembered at that time, we were in the Fort restaurant in the mountain for the farewell party, I asked him “As a new president, what will you do for us tonight?” I didn’t know what he meant when he smiled instead of answering my question. Maybe “the new president” was so happy that he became speechless. The picture above was posted on our Facebook a few days after our fabulous trip to Denver. I couldn’t help laughing when reading his words.

“My fellow Fulbrighters,
I made it back safely to DC. As you can see, my new house looks great, but apparently it’s undergoing some renovations…
Anyway, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for such a wonderful experience. It went by really fast, yet the memories will not fade away as quickly. I am sure we will all meet again, and that this bond between us will grow stronger every day. My …only regret is that I didn’t get to meet all of you or get to know you better. But that’s fine, we have all the time in the world (now I’m including James Bond references in my speeches, let’s see how that works).
I don’t have to tell you that I wish you the best; I already know everyone will be successful.
Thank you,
God bless you, and God bless America!”

Photo: A Fulbrighter

Three days of the seminar enriched my mind a lot in terms of history, culture and political issues, and how the U.S presidential election is held every four years. Above all, we have developed a very good friendship with other Fulbrighters from all over the world. I believe that our network will keep growing stronger with time. We are looking forward to meeting again some day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (to be continued)

(One month after the trip to Denver)

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed”

                                                                                          – Peter Drucker


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