PHILADELPHIA – Forty Fulbright Foreign Students joined the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation (ODDT), Office of Innovation Management, and Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Services (OCEVS) for a conversation during a seminar titled “Big Data for the Public Good: Innovations in Civic Engagement.” The first visit took place today, April 13 and the second visit is scheduled for May 25.

The visits are part of the Fulbright Enrichment Seminars, a four-day event where nearly 300 Fulbright Foreign Students will visit Philadelphia to learn how big data (large sets of data) has been used as a resource for positive change and development. Through lectures, panel discussions, site visits, community outreach, and volunteer opportunities, the Fulbrighters will develop a better understanding of the innovative ways in which U.S. cities have been using big data to make improvements to areas such as human services and infrastructure.

“We are excited to welcome this diverse group of global students to Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Their unique perspectives and experiences can lend a fresh perspective to our work. We are proud to share what we have learned through our efforts to build trust and collaboration between our community and City government,” he added.

During the seminar, the City provided a detailed look at how big data is used for civic engagement:

  • The City’s ODDT team shared residents’ innovative use of Philadelphia’s open data to make useful apps, write compelling articles, develop engaging classroom curriculum, design building plans, and create or expand their businesses.
  • OCEVS representatives shared their efforts to increase civic engagement with city departments.
  • The Innovation Management team discussed their success building the City’s capacity for internal innovation through programs like the Innovation Lab, Innovation Academy, Innovation Fund and the newly launched Innovation Consulting initiative, as well as their investment in Philadelphia’s Smart City initiative.

The Philadelphia Fulbright Foreign Student Enrichment Seminars are among eight 2018 enrichment seminars hosted across the United States by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. These enrichment seminars are an integral part of the Fulbright experience for 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.

About The Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S government. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and the United States also provide direct and indirect support. To learn more, visit